The guinea pig, whether it’s our children’s love of all things fluffy or a parent’s joy for such a low maintenance pet, either way there are thousands up and down the country so it’s about time we gave them a little attention. Their docile nature, responsiveness to handling and feeding, and the relative ease of caring for them, continue to make the guinea pig a popular pet.
12 facts about guinea pigs
1. Guinea pigs originated in the Andean region of South America.
2. They have been domesticated for as early as 5000BC for food by tribes of those times.
3. A guinea pig is a large rodent, weighing between 1.5-2.5 pounds and 8-10 inches in length.
4. The Guinness Book of Records has the oldest guinea pig living for 14 years and 10 months.
5. An average age for a guinea pig would be better placed at 4 to 5 years.
6. Many households in the Andean region raise the animal for a food source.
7. Grass is the guinea pig’s natural diet but vitamin c found in dark leafy greens, bell peppers and cauliflower is essential to their diet
8. Once having given birth the female can become pregnant again just 6 hours later.
9. The local folk doctor or “curanderos” use the guinea pig to help diagnose diseases such as jaundice, rheumatism, arthritis, typhus.
10. Guinea pigs should be kept in pairs, and for this reason it is illegal to sell an individual guinea pig in Sweden, if you do not already own one.
11. They are able to breed all year round, as many as five litters per year. The record for the highest number in a litter is 17.
12 .Guinea pigs reach sexual maturity quickly. Males within 3 to 5 weeks and females can be fertile as early as 4 weeks.