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Discover the Whimsical World of Guinea Pigs: Top 17 Fun Facts You Never Knew!

illustration of guinea-pigs
Get ready to squeal with delight as you dive into these fascinating and irresistibly adorable fun facts about guinea pigs!

1. Hay Dentist

Did you hear about the guinea pig who went to the dentist for a teeth trimming? Turns out hay is both their dentist and nutritionist! Unlike the saying "hay is for horses," it's just as important to guinea pigs: Hay plays a crucial role in their health, as it not only helps wear down their continuously growing teeth, but also maintains the healthy bacteria in their intestinal tract that ferments their food. In the wild, they primarily consume high-fiber grasses, so domestic guinea pigs should have an unlimited supply of low-calcium hay, supplemented with vitamin C-fortified pellets and fresh leafy greens – particularly those rich in vitamin C, like bell peppers, tomatoes, and asparagus.
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2. Andean Celebs

Move over, Kardashians: guinea pigs were the real OG influencers of the Andean civilizations! Hilariously worshipped and treated like celebs, these tiny rodents were featured in artwork, religious ceremonies, and even offered as sacrifices to the gods: This guinea pig stardom began around 5000 BCE, when they were domesticated across Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and the Andes for their razzle-dazzle (and their meat and companionship).
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3. Inca Insulation

Ah, the guinea pig: the lesser-known cousin of the esteemed doormat, these little furballs took their underfoot duties to a whole new level back in the Inca days: In Tambo Viejo, Peru, guinea pigs were found to have been sacrificed in large numbers and used as insulation beneath Inca buildings, a practice so widespread that it is backed by archaeological evidence.
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4. Piggy Language

Move over, Dr. Dolittle, guinea pigs have their own language too: These adorable little fluffballs communicate using an array of vocalizations and body language, such as wheeking in excitement, purring when content, teeth chattering when aggressive, freezing when startled, and even popping straight up in the air when elated.
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Fur Clue Detectives

5. Fur Clue Detectives

Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and hunt for clues in a guinea pig's fur, because: the American Cavy Breeders Association recognizes 13 distinctive guinea pig breeds, varying from the shorthaired American to the flowing locks of the Peruvian, all based on fur length, texture, and markings!
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6. Social Piggy Party

Whoever said "two's company, three's a crowd" clearly didn't have guinea pigs in mind, as these fuzzy little furballs know that the more, the merrier: Guinea pigs are highly social creatures and require the companionship of at least one other guinea pig for optimal health and happiness, leading to longer lives and fewer health issues when given a proper home, routine grooming, and a balanced diet.
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7. Houdini Piggies

Who needs Houdini when you've got guinea pigs? Their innate piggy intelligence and charm make them natural-born tricksters: Guinea pigs can indeed be taught amusing tricks, learn to come when called, and are capable of communicating with their humans using their own unique language, all with the power of positive reinforcement and patient repetition.
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8. Spit Cleaners

Guinea pigs: masters of quiet rebellion, opting out of baths with the grace of a matinee idol and preferring self-care sessions like the stars they are. Funny, but true: these cuddly creatures are actually pro self-groomers, using their own spit to clean themselves just like our feline friends – and avoiding the water-induced risks of respiratory infections and dry skin. So let them primp in peace and leave the spa treatments to the Kardashians!
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9. Beet Bandits

Beware of the beet bandits, those ravenous rodents who devour red roots in pursuit of superpower vitamins: Guinea pigs enjoy munching on beets, but moderation is key, as excessive beet intake can cause bloating and diarrhea, while offering essential nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorus, as well as antioxidants for overall health.
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Emotional Wizards

10. Emotional Wizards

Behold the mighty emotional wizards of the rodent world, able to read your very soul with just a twitch of their whiskers and a signature squeak: Guinea pigs possess a heightened emotional intelligence, remarkably perceiving and responding to their human companions' emotions while effectively communicating their own feelings, making them the ideal confidant and support animal for those dealing with depression or anxiety.
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11. Popcorning Dance

When guinea pigs get that Friday feeling, they don't pop open a bottle of champagne – they pop themselves: Guinea pigs engage in a celebratory dance called "popcorning," where they hop, twist, and emit delighted purrs. Although popcorning often indicates happiness, it can also result from fear, so always be mindful of your guinea pig's surroundings to ensure their safety.
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12. Lawnmower Teeth

Guinea pigs: the living, breathing lawn mowers with dental self-growth superpowers! These furry little chompers have teeth that never stop growing, requiring a balanced diet of hay, grass, veggies, and primo pellets to maintain their pearly whites and healthy lifestyle: just like us, slacking on oral hygiene could lead to a dentist's nightmare, so be ready to spoil them with the best munchies and a regular dental appointment with their favorite guinea pig-savvy vet.
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13. Grounded Rodents

Despite rumors of them being wall-crawling superheroes in furry disguises, guinea pigs are actually quite grounded in reality: These adorable rodents with stubby legs and round bodies lack the necessary climbing skills, but can still enjoy low obstacle climbs like ramps and tubes provided they have a non-slip surface.
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14. Hairless Fashion

Who needs fur coats, when you can strut around in your birthday suit: The Baldwin guinea pig, sporting the largest hairless breed in guinea pig fashion, rocks the genetic mutation runway with its complete lack of hair and a heightened demand for extra skincare to maintain a healthy, glowing skin.
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Piggy Rituals

15. Piggy Rituals

Before they were America's Next Top Furry Models, guinea pigs dabbled in the arts of divination and sacrificial offerings: Archaeological findings reveal ancient Andean societies used guinea pigs for rituals, with naturally mummified remains discovered in Peru's Chincha Valley, though no fancy piggy penthouses with exclusive artwork have been recorded thus far.
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16. Agility Champs

Step aside, Fido, there's a new agility champ in town, and they're sporting an adorable layer of fluff: Guinea pigs can be trained to complete agility courses, including jumps, teeter totters, weave poles, and open tunnels, thanks to their surprising learning capabilities and the guidance of dedicated trainers.
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17. Furry Influencers

Forget the guinea pig-purr-azzi, these fuzzy celebs have turned into absolute squeal magnets, gracing the hall of fame via Insta and TikTok, one playful wheek at a time: Adorable guinea pig influencers such as @ladypigford's quartet and @thelavaempire's six-member pack have captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of followers, while hairless superstar @ludwik_guinea_pig empowers fans with smile-inducing photos and motivational messages.
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