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10 Interesting Guinea Pig Facts

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You think you know everything about your pet guinea pig? Don’t stop reading because you might find some facts about your cavy worth for show and tell in Miss Johnson’s class. Surprise your classmates, and Mommy, about how much you really know about your pet.

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1. New Guinea is NOT Your Cavies’ Origin

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Your pet is special because no one really knows for certain where they come from. One thing for certain is that guinea pigs don’t come from New Guinea: the “guinea” in guinea pigs is NOT related to the “guinea” in New Guinea. You can tell your classmates that your pet’s ancestors were probably brought back to Europe by the conquistadors from the Incas in South America in the 16th century – at least as the theory goes.

2. Cavies Are Never Lonely in Sweden

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In Sweden, it’s illegal to sell only one guinea pig to people who don’t have other guinea pigs at home. So you can never find a quiet guinea pig run in the country. Your cavy likes to have his or her buddy around, doesn’t it? The Swedish people know this that’s why they made a law that no cavy should feel alone in their country.

3. Russian Guinea Pigs Are Space Explorers

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During the early space exploration projects in Russia, guinea pigs were the first cosmonauts. Together with other pets, guinea pigs blasted into space on March 9, 1961 onboard Sputnik 9 biosatellite for a short outer space trip. The “pet-monauts” returned safely to earth after a single orbit, and the reunion in the guinea pig run was no less than a blast.

4. Guinea Pigs Play Doctor in Peru

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Guinea pig wearing nurses hat

In Peru, black guinea pigs are considered healers by tribes’ medicine men. The cavies are rubbed on a sick person’s body as a talisman to drive away the possessing evil spirit that’s causing the illness. So when the black cavies are not entertaining people in their guinea pig run in Peru, they’re out busy healing people.

5. Guinea Pigs are Considered Exotic in U.S.

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Despite being pretty common as household pets, guinea pigs are considered exotic in the U.S. A special USDA-issued license is needed in order to keep one as pet. So if a child wants a pet cavy, his or her mom or dad must go through a special U.S.D.A. training facility where a team of government guinea pig agents in their beefed up guinea pig run train people about how to care for a cavy. Ask your mom or dad about it.

6. Boy Cavies Can Be Kept Together in one Guinea Pig Run

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Despite what you’ve heard, two or more boy cavies can be kept together in one guinea pig run. If, you don’t have a girl cavy in the house, you can keep your boy cavies together in one guinea pig run. They should not fight.

7. Girl Cavies are Pretty Fertile

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Girl cavies can get pregnant in just 2 months old. And they’re ready to breed 6-48 hours after giving birth too! Your girl’s amazing, huh? But if you’re not ready to care for her babies, ask Mom and Dad to have your girl cavy neutered to prevent breeding. The U.S.D.A. agents, when they come to check your cavies, don’t want to see a too crowded guinea pig run.

8. Guinea Pigs Eat Their Poop

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If your classmates see your cavy reach to its back and eats his or her poop, don’t let them tease you. Tell them that it’s normal cavy behavior. Cavies occasionally eat their poop to recycle fiber, vitamins, and beneficial bacteria. They make special poop called cecotropes, not dirty, just for this purpose.

9. Guinea Pigs Love to Popcorn

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Yes, your guinea pig loves to popcorn. But not the popcorn you like to munch while watching Sponge Bob. It’s that bouncing high up in the air guinea pigs do when they’re happy – much like how your popcorn leaps from the pan during cooking. If you haven’t seen your cavy do the popcorn, ask Mom to buy you a bigger guinea pig run. Cavies are always happy to do the popcorn in a large guinea pig run.

10. Guinea Pigs Don’t Stop Growing Their Teeth

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And did you know that your cavy’s teeth never stop growing? That’s why they like to chew on Timothy hay constantly to keep their teeth from growing too much.

Now you’re ready to impress Miss Johnson’s class for the next show and tell, but go impress Mom and Dad first.

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