Dec 29

The guinea pig is one of the most popular pets in North America. In spite of this, there are many facts about this little creature that are not commonly known by most people. Please join me as I attempt to explore (sometimes successfully) some facts regarding the history and characteristics of our friend the guinea pig.

Author’s note: No pigs were harmed in the writing of this article.

Q: How much do guinea pigs weigh at birth?

A: Guinea pigs (also known as cavies) only weigh in at around three ounces at birth.

Q: When guinea pigs are born, do they hold them up by their legs and spank them like human babies?

A: No! Absolutely not. (See author’s note above).

Q: How large do they get to be when they grow up? Do they weigh more than a sweet potato? They’re kind of shaped like a sweet potato.

A: The average adult boar (male) weighs around three pounds. The smaller adult sow (female) averages only about two pounds. I don’t know how much the average adult sweet potato weighs.

Q: What is the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?

A: This one deserves a two-part answer: 1) Neither one is a mammal and 2) remember, we’re talking about guinea pigs!

Q: How big do guinea pigs get? How long is the average adult cavy?

A: As adults, guinea pigs average about 9 – 14 inches in length. (At least as long as most adult sweet potatoes).

Q: How long do guinea pigs live? How long would that be in dog years?

A: On average, this little rodent has a life expectancy of about five to seven years. I don’t know how long that would be in dog years – but I can tell you from experience; in husband years, it’s about seven minutes.

Q: How come dog years are a measurement of time whereas light years are a measurement of distance?

A: Yams and sweet potatoes are both angiosperms. However, yams are from the Dioscoreaceae family whereas sweet potatoes are botanically unrelated and are from the Convolvulacea family…

Q: What do you call baby cavies? Piglets? Piggies? Kittens? Sprouts? Futons?

A: Nope, oddly enough, although adult males are called boars and females are called sows; baby guinea pigs are not called piglets (or futons). They’re called pups. So, if our dog gave birth to pups, I’m sure it would really confuse our guinea pig because…

(our dog is a male).

Q: What is a group of cavies called? A pack? Flock? Covey of cavies? Gaggle of guineas? A pride of pigs?

A: Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong… and… wrong. A group of guinea pigs is called a herd.

Q: Herd of guinea pigs?

A: Of course I’ve heard of guinea pigs! (Rimshot).

Q: What’s a henway?

A: Not fallin for that one.

A: How come a cavy’s eyes are on the sides of its head instead of in the front like ours? Doesn’t that make it harder to wear glasses?

Q: In the wild, guinea pigs are a prey animal – that is, they get eaten. Their eyes are on the sides of their heads in order to widen their field of vision and allow them to better detect predators. Also, most cavies wear contact lenses because – glasses on a guinea pig? That’s just silly.

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Categories: Guinea Pigs


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