Guinea pig (Cavia Porcellus) is classified as a rodent of the cavy family. There are lots of fun facts about Guinea Pigs that will blow your mind. People name them as “pigs” based on their body that has the form of short limbs, short ears, and large head and eyes. These adorable animals have different numbers of toes. They have four toes on the forefeet and three toes on the hind feet. They are claimed domestically from South America and spread in the UK, US, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and Ecuador. However, they are not found in the wild.
These little creatures hold awesome fun facts that would blow your mind. Awesome people, be ready to discover these wonderful fun facts about guinea pigs. Without any further ado, let’s get to the list!
Table of Contents
- 1. Natural Prey
- 2. High Social Need
- 4. Guinea Pigs are Very Active
- 5. They are Sleep with Open Eyes
- 6. Emotions Show Off
- 7. Sensitive Adorable Creatures
- 8. Cannot Live Together with Rabbits
- 8. Natural Herbivore
- 9. Need Vitamin C
- 10. Constantly Growing Teeth
- 11. Very Vocal Animals
- 12. They are Poop Eaters
- 13. A Hero for Researchers
- 14. Yummy Food
- 15. The World Saver
1. Natural Prey
As we know, in the wild life of animals there are prey and predators living together as food or eaters. Guinea pigs are part of the prey category, which have defensive characteristics. Their characteristics include hiding, freezing, and other acts to keep themselves safe without attacking.
In the wild, big or small animals can be prey or predators depending on their act of eating. But mostly, guinea pigs are prey to other bigger animals like cats, wolves, snakes which can threaten their live.
2. High Social Need
Humans are social creatures who need friends to talk to, love that goes both ways, and attention from others. There is a fun fact about guinea pigs that is the same as humans. Guinea pigs have high social needs. They love to be around other guinea pigs and live in a herd with their kind.
Even though guinea pigs are social animals, they cannot be sociable with other pets like dogs, rabbits, or cats. It was because of their natural characteristics as prey in their wildlife. Also, it’s because of their own ways of communication that might not match one another. Putting guinea pigs in the same place with other animals might cause them to feel unsafe. I will also make them hide or feel stress.
4. Guinea Pigs are Very Active
Guinea pigs are so active that they need a lot of activities. They also need enough room to explore both day and night. This is an awesome fun fact about guinea pigs. This fact shows that even these tiny creatures need space and things to do in order to be happy and healthy, just like humans. Giving them enough space and variety of activities would help them to spend their lots of energy and be happy. We do it by providing tunnels and safe toys for them.
Another fun fact about guinea pigs that they are active pets. They are awake for 20 hours and only take several naps. Guinea pigs only need 4-6 hours of sleep in a day. It is because guinea pigs have a lot of energy to spend. Also, they are naturally light sleepers as they need more time to be awake in the wild in order to survive.
5. They are Sleep with Open Eyes
Naturally, most creatures sleep with their eyes closed. However, the fun fact about guinea pigs is that they do let their eyes open while they are sleeping. Why? Well, as we mentioned that guinea pigs are natural prey in their wildlife. They tend to open their eyes while sleeping to flame predators who want to catch them. Also, to keep themselves alert when danger is approaching.
As guinea pigs are light sleepers, they might seem awake with their eyes opened. However, in fact they are actually sleeping or napping. But sometimes when guinea pigs feel fully safe and comfortable as pets living with the owner, they might follow the night time and sleep with their eyes closed.
6. Emotions Show Off
Who thinks that guinea pigs do not have feelings? This is an interesting fun fact about guinea pigs. They are actually expressive and would show their feelings by making sounds and body movement. When feeling happy, guinea pigs can move their body to jump and roll over in the air like popcorn popping or “popcorning”. This is a famous fun fact about guinea pigs that is so cute and adorable.
Besides a happy feeling, they can feel stressful because of their environmental hygiene situation and the presence of other animals. When they are stressed and depressed, they usually show it by being more aggressive and do behaviors. Such behavior might include head tossing, fidgeting, and teeth-baring, meanwhile when they are afraid, they are likely to freeze.
7. Sensitive Adorable Creatures
As we mentioned that guinea pigs are impressively expressive, we have another awesome fun fact about guinea pigs that would blow your mind away. Guinea pigs can sense feelings or emotions of the owner, humans. Firstly they would recognize the owner through the sense of smell
When guinea pigs recognize their owner’s feelings, they would show it in various ways. If the owner is sad or having a bad day, guinea pigs may become scared, quiet, sad, clingy, or make whining sounds. Meanwhile when they know that the owner is happy, they might jump up into the air and make wheeking sounds.
8. Cannot Live Together with Rabbits
Guinea pigs have similar characteristics with rabbits, such as foods, teeth, body, and hygiene standard. However, they cannot live together. Even though their body size is quite similar, rabbits usually grow bigger and stronger than guinea pigs. Besides, their natural instinct might make rabbits attempt to mate with female or male guinea pigs. Considering the size of rabbits, which are bigger and stronger than guinea pigs, this act might injure guinea pigs or even kill them.
The most mind blowing factor why rabbit and guinea pigs should not live together. The reason is because of their own behavior. The way they communicate in terms of body language may cause a misunderstanding to each other. Guinea pigs who love enjoying themselves might feel annoyed or even harassed by rabbits who love to groom others. This misunderstanding can cause rabbits to hurt or attack guinea pigs.
8. Natural Herbivore
This fun fact about guinea pigs is awesome that they are naturally born to be healthy and clean because they only eat organic food, which is plant based food. Guinea pigs are natural herbivores that gain all of the nutrition they need by consuming plants. It might include green leaves, vegetables, and fruits. It is because, as herbivores, their bodies have features that allow them to precede food, which has a lot of fiber in it.
Even though they are naturally herbivores, they can eat pellets or produce food that consists of grass, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Another fun fact about guinea pigs is they need a lot of fiber to help them in digesting their food. The fiber is available on their food such as green leaves and vegetables.
9. Need Vitamin C
One of the fun facts about guinea pigs is that they naturally do not produce vitamin C for themselves. Instead, they get it from their foods, just like humans. A healthy guinea pigs needs 10-20 mg of vitamin C, meanwhile sick guinea pigs need 100 mg of vitamin C. As a pet, the owner must take care of their guinea pigs by giving them enough food with good vitamin C to support their metabolism. Vitamin C intake will also help them absorb all substances they need from their foods.
Giving them citrus or kiwi fruit would be a great choice of vitamin C supplement. It is good for their teeth and health but guinea pigs’ owners might consider the sugar level of the fruits before giving it to their lovely guinea pigs.
High sugar levels could bring guinea pigs to another problem, which is overweight or obesity, the same as humans. Rather than focusing on giving those fruits as source of vitamin C, guinea pigs’ owners can consider leafy greens and vegetables for their guinea pigs.
Leafy greens such as Parsley, Kale, and Mustard greens as well as vegetables like Red bell peppers, broccoli, and green bell peppers also can provide enough vitamin C to Guinea pigs’ daily needs. Guinea pigs C vitamin daily intake will keep them healthy because C vitamin deficiency or Scurvy can lead to brittle bones and dental problems.
10. Constantly Growing Teeth
Teeth usually grow and pop up until they reach an adequate length. Their teeth will help them to process foods well in the mouth. This unique fun fact about guinea pigs is that their teeth are constantly growing, which causes them to eat and cut their food constantly.
They love carrots, celery, radish, other vegetables and fruits in small cuts to help them chew. Even though Guinea pigs love chewing foods and have open rooted teeth, there are foods that should not be in their diet lists. Those foods are grains, nuts, sugar, chocolate, onions, beetroot, spinach and pickled food. These foods can cause digestive problems to guinea pigs.
These constantly growing teeth might be a consideration for guinea pig’s owners to take care of their teeth or maybe do a routine check up to an animal clinic. It is because their growing teeth might be not proportional, which can cause malnutrition because the guinea pigs cannot chew their food properly. To keep their teeth in a proportional length, the owners can give them wooden blocks or other items to keep guinea pigs from chewing, biting, or grinding as they love them so much.
11. Very Vocal Animals
Having guinea pigs as a pet would be highly enjoyable because besides they are light sleepers who love living in a group, active, expressive and are unstoppable chewers, these mammals are also talkative creatures. They produce many sounds or noises and use it as their means of communication such as whistling, purring, hissing, chirping. They make these interesting sounds for many reasons.
One of the reasons is when guinea pigs are concerned about something and they need help, they would chirp. Chirping sounds might be familiar if birds are making them, but the fun fact is that guinea pigs do chirping. Guinea pigs rarely chirp, but once they are chirping, it means something. People who have a guinea pig as a pet who experience this chirping sound might realize that they might have forgotten to feed their guinea pigs.
12. They are Poop Eaters
Poo usually is waste material from the food digesting process. It usually contains substances that our body and organs don’t need. But this one fun fact about guinea pigs will shock you because they eat their poop. The poop that Guinea pigs eat is caecotrophs that contain protein and vitamins that help guinea pigs in digesting B vitamins.
Guinea pigs eat their poop because they are not good at chewing their food for proper digesting process. Thus they need a second chew in order to absorb all the nutrition and vitamins they need. It means that eating their poop or caecotrophs is crucial for guinea pigs to be healthy and have a long life.
One of the most mind blowing fun facts about guinea pigs is that rabbits also eat their poop just like guinea pigs. Rabbits also eat their poop or caecotrophs the same as guinea pigs, which is to help them digest their food well and get protein and vitamins they need. This act of eating poo is called Coprophagia.
13. A Hero for Researchers
Animals in rodent families such as rats, mice, even guinea pigs are mostly used as experimental subjects by researchers. The reason was because rodents like rats and mice are mammals, small, easy to breed and cheap. Even though the most popular experimental subject in the rodent family is rats and mice, many researchers are still using guinea pigs in many fields of research.
As guinea pigs are mammals, which have similar biological traits to humans. Researchers prefer to use them as experimental subjects in developing vaccines, antibiotics, asthma medicines, and many other crucial studies for human health. It shows how guinea pigs help researchers to accomplish their goals of study, which can lead to better research development. These fun facts about guinea pigs show that these small creatures are the hero for the researchers.
14. Yummy Food
Guinea pigs become pet in the UK and US, but in Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador, Guinea pigs become a yummy food. Guinea pigs’ meat is a low fat meat but high in protein, which is a healthy source of protein. In those countries, Guinea pigs are served deep fried, curried, or even sweetened to the plates, not as a pet as it is used to in the UK and US. In Peru, people call them Cuy, which is grown to be a lot bigger than guinea pigs as pets. The fun fact about guinea pigs is that they are grown in a farm which allows them to have enough space to be happy and eat a lot of vegetables to be healthy.
Being a food, Cuy is served in traditional restaurants in Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador; even now it is served in the US as well. Guinea pigs consumption increased in the US because of people from those countries who live in the US were craving for Cuy. It has been famous as Cuy Chatado and Cuy al palo which taste like a cross between rabbit and chicken for people who have tried it.
15. The World Saver
Guinea pigs that have been consumed by people in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Colombia for more than 5000 years are nowadays world saver. It is because Guinea pigs have been bred by local people especially women who lives in rural areas that have solved the problems of poverty, malnutrition and equality. The guinea pigs farm produces giant sized guinea pigs, double the size of guinea pigs as pets, with maintained quality of meat and hygiene. Women breed the giant guinea pigs for meat and sell it to the market as an option of protein sources besides beef, chicken, etc.
Guinea pigs breed quickly which is a great advantage for farmers because they do not need to wait for a long time to get the result of their farming. Compared to pigs that need 4-6 months to be mature and ready to sell, Guinea pigs can be mature in only 2-3 months and pregnant for 59-72 days which produces about 2-4 Guinea pig’s babies. Guinea pigs can give birth more than 5 times a year and can mate again the next day after giving birth. It is pretty quick!