Guinea pigs are very popular pets all around the world, but not everyone is a guinea pig expert. In order to remedy this, here is some extra information about this cute fluff ball that makes a great family pet.
Eight things you probably didn't know about guinea pigs:
Guinea pigs aren't in fact pigs, and neither do they come from Guinea. In fact, the name 'guinea pig', according to history, comes from the fact that when Christopher Columbus thought he'd landed in India and saw this little, previously-unknown animal, he thought it was a dwarf pig because of its little squeaks!
Guinea pigs are pack animals. In nature, they live in groups of five to 10. They are very sociable animals and don't like being alone.
Guinea pigs are important animals to many indigenous groups in South America. They are used as both a source of food and medicine. Some folkloric doctors used these rodents to detect illnesses by holding them over different parts of a sick person's body.
The use of the term 'guinea pig' as a phrase for a 'test subject' comes from the fact that these animals were used for experimentation in the 17th century. Since then, mice and rats are more often used in scientific research.
The guinea pig has 'open' teeth, meaning that they grow continually. This is why it is important to give your pets something to chew on. This way they can keep their teeth at the right length.
When these rodents are happy, they jump around and wriggle in the style of the 'Rhumba'.
Just like humans, the guinea pig cannot produce its own vitamin C. Pet parents should make sure to give their pets fresh fruit and vegetables every day to remedy this.
The guinea pig is known for being very 'chatty'. In fact, they have the largest range of vocalisation out of all the rodents. They can purr, squeak and warble!
What fun facts do you know about the guinea pig?