March is Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month! Guinea pigs—also called cavies–are very fun and cute little pets. A local Seminole, FL vet lists some interesting facts about them below.
Guinea pigs actually come from the Andes region, which is in South America. So where did the name come from? It may have been because they cost one guinea back in 16th-century England. Others say they may have come to Europe from ships sailing out of the port of Guiana.
Not only are Guinea pigs not from Guinea, they actually aren’t even pigs. They aren’t even related to pigs! So, why are they called pigs? Possibly because they sound like pigs when they squeal. Regardless of the reason, whoever decided that males should be called boars and females sows apparently didn’t notice this.
The naming mishaps don’t end with the odd choices of Guinea and pig, or even boar and sow. Apparently, some tired or uninspired scientist abandoned all efforts at giving these furballs proper names. Baby ones are called pups.
If you’ve ever seen a happy cavy jump, then you’ve witnessed this. For those in the know, this is called popcorning. No matter what you call it, it’s absolutely adorable!
This may not be technically accurate, but it’s pretty close. Pups can run at only three hours old!
Guinea pigs never live alone in the wild, so they tend to get very depressed and lonely without any friends. You should have at least two. Just be sure to only keep same-sex pigs, as otherwise, you’ll end up with a muddle. (That’s the official name for a group of Guinea pigs.)
Guinea pigs aren’t particularly loud, but they do chat with one another. They also sometimes vocalize with wheeks, which, believe it or not, actually are pretty accurately named.
Guinea pigs and bunnies are not good roommates. Even if they do get along, it’s not a good idea to keep them together. Bunnies often kick during play, which can hurt the cavy. Plus, certain diseases, such as Bordetella bronchiseptica, can pass between them.
For more information about caring for Guinea pigs, call us, your Seminole, FL pet hospital. We’re here to help!