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The Hairless Guinea Pig

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There are two types of hairless guinea pigs: the skinny and the Baldwin. Though both types look wacky without their hairs on, they’re very popular among cavy lovers. They’re even surpassing their haired cousins’ popularity meter fast. And contrary to some belief, caring for a hairless guinea pig is easy. You don’t have to break your back or your bank just to keep a hairless guinea pig happy and healthy.

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The Hairless Guinea Pig Origin

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Unlike its haired cousins, the hairless guinea pig did not result entirely from evolution’s handy work. The hairless cavies resulted from a genetic mutation in a breed of laboratory cavy subjects in 1978 that some enthusiastic breeders eventually got a hold of. These first hairless guinea pigs have weak immune system, which the breeders improved by mating the laboratory hairless cavies to their normal cousins. So if you get hairless guinea pig from a reputable breeder, it’s most likely hardy like your haired ones.

The Two Types of Hairless Guinea Pigs

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The breeding of hairless guinea pigs resulted to two types of hairless cavies: the skinny and the Baldwin pigs. The skinny pigs are not entirely hairless, having few hairs on the muzzle, top of the head, and the legs. The Baldwin pigs on the other hand are totally naked from nose to tail – yes, cavies have less developed tail which is not very apparent.

So is there Anything Special

Aside from the weird bald appearance, which is irresistibly cute for some people, there are other unique things about the skinny and the Baldwin guinea pigs.

1. They eat three times more food than their haired cousins

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When it comes to diet, don’t worry. A hairless guinea pig shouldn’t break your bank even if it needs to consume three times more food than its haired cousins. It has to eat this much guinea pig food to fuel its metabolism that generates extra heat since it has no natural insulator. Guinea pig food, however, is relatively cheap compared to other pet food, so the hairless cavy’s diet should not leave a dent on your budget.

2. They can use your sunscreen

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Yes, you heard it. You need to share your sunscreen with your cavy because your bald pet is prone to sunburn like you. Before you take a hairless guinea pig outdoor in a clear summer sky, slop a good amount of your sunscreen on your pet first. The sunscreen has to be hypoallergenic and non comedogenic to allow your cavy’s skin to breathe, which, by the way, is also good for your own skin.

3. They need your grandma’s knitting

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During winter, a hairless guinea pig needs its jumper to stay warm and cozy. So it’s time to shop for cavy jumpers or ask Grandma to knit some for your cavy. Now you can indulge Grandma’s passion of knitting sweaters for you and you can actually use them this time.

4. They need you to play with them, really they do

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If you’re looking for a very responsive and playful cavy, your search is over. A hairless guinea pig is a lot more curious and playful compared to its haired cousins – perhaps because they were born from lab experiments. So you need to really set several minutes a day free to play with your hairless guinea pig.

5. They’re neat freaks

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Luckily, cavies love to be bathed. So there should be no problem about keeping your hairless cavies neat and clean. Bathing your hairless guinea pig at least once a month to prevent skin infection is recommended. And remember: DON’T use a hair blower to dry your bald cavy. Pat your cavy dry with a warm, soft towel instead concentrating on the skin folds to dry them thoroughly.

These are the things you can expect from raising a hairless guinea pig, and if you think you want one, take a moment to answer this very short survey to check whether you’re ready for a bald cavy.

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