We’re all aware that guinea pigs are funny little creatures, here are some fun facts about them
The oldest known guinea pig lived to 14 years and 10 months: 'Snowball' lived way beyond a guinea pig’s normal life expectancy of 7 to 10 years.
The largest guinea pigs can be up to 50 cm long: These giants – known as “Cuys” – originate from South America, where they are bred and fattened up for food. They can weigh up to 4 kg.
Guinea pigs come in many shapes and colours: If you think choosing a guinea pig is just a matter of deciding between long- or short-haired varieties, think again! Within those two broad categories, there is a wide array of guinea pig varieties – at least 11 types of short-haired guinea pig and at least 10 long-haired. Many of these varieties come in different colours too. What’s more, there are other breeds such as satin or furless 'skinny pigs' – although the breeding of these is somewhat controversial due to health concerns.
The Abyssinian guinea pig captivates with its many rosettes: The unusual look of the Abyssinian is down to its 8 to 10 rosettes (swirls of hair), which cover its whole body.
Guinea pigs eat their own poop: Well, actually they only eat one of their two types of faeces – the type that comes from the caecum. This “caecotroph nutrition” gives them valuable B vitamins and vitamin K. Among other things, these vitamins contribute to a healthy metabolism and prevent diseases of the digestive tract.
They can hear better than humans: Humans can detect frequencies between 16 and 20,000 Hz, but guinea pigs can hear up to 46,000 Hz. A noisy environment (screaming kids) is torment for the cute little rodents.
Happy guinea pigs enjoy 'popcorning': Like corn kernels bouncing around in a hot pan, guinea pigs sometimes leap about unexpectedly. This is assumed to be a sign of happiness.
Guinea pigs have four toes on their front paws, but only three on their hind paws: However, some guinea pigs have more toes than normal – this variation is known as 'polydactyly'.
Baby guinea pigs lose their milk teeth before they’re even born: Newborns already have a full set of teeth, as they lose their milk teeth while they’re still in the womb. Within their first 24 hours they can already eat solid food.
Guinea pigs throw their heads up in protest: Jerking their heads up is one way in which guinea pigs show that they don’t want to be petted.
Guinea pigs have their very own holiday: The 16th of July is 'Guinea Pig Appreciation Day'. This annual day of celebration was introduced in 2016 by the Canadian organisation Piggles Rescue.
US President Theodore Roosevelt had five guinea pigs: Their names were 'Admiral Dewey', 'Dr Johnson', 'Bob Evans', 'Bishop Doan' and 'Father O’Grady'.
In 2013 a guinea pig suit of armour was sold on eBay for $24,300: Apart from the helmet, the seller made it all himself. The armour had belonged to his guinea pig 'Lucky', until sadly it passed away.