As far as small fuzzies go, the Guinea Pig is certainly one of the world’s favorites. Having been domesticated in South America for thousands of years, they’re one of the longest-serving companions to humans and today are the pet of choice for many children and adults alike. With their soft squishy bodies, cute little ears and their easy-going demeanor, if you’re looking for a cuddly companion you can’t go far wrong.
To keep the love of guinea pigs alive, Guinea Pig Appreciation Day celebrates everything that we love about these cutesy critters and celebrates just what it is that makes them great pets.
The History of Guinea Pig Appreciation Day
We first started domesticating the humble guinea pig as far back as 5000BC, when they were usually kept as livestock. In Europe, they became known as exotic pets when traders brought them to the UK in the 1500s, with even royalty being keen to keep them.
Throughout the years, we have bred many different breeds of guinea pigs – from breeds with long lush coats that need trimming frequently, to piggies with no hair at all!
No matter the breed, one thing they all have in common is their love of veggies – guinea pigs thrive off leafy veg and fruit, and since they are generally healthy animals they don’t usually need a large amount of veterinary care. Because their teeth grow continuously, however, they need hay in their diet so that they keep their chompers worn down.
Guinea pigs are very social animals, and any piggie parent will tell you that they should always be kept in pairs or groups.
How to celebrate Guinea Pig Appreciation Day
If you’ve been thinking of getting a pet, why not think about getting a couple of guinea pigs today? If you already have some piggies of your own, make sure you give them some special treats today – fresh green vegetables are their favorite!
Piggies need quite a lot of space in their cage – a minimum of 8 square feet of floor space – so bear that in mind if you pop along to buy a cage. It’s not uncommon to find cages in pet shops being sold for guinea pigs which are actually far too small, so be careful to choose the right one.
Same sex pairs must be kept together, or if you want a boy and a girl they must be spayed or neutered. Guinea pigs don’t wait very long into their lives before they start mating, and are ready to reproduce from as young as 4 weeks old!
And remember, if you do decide to buy or adopt a guinea pig, they will need your love and care for a few years – these hardy creatures live on average between 5 and 8 years. The oldest piggie on record, named Snowball, died in 1979 at the grand old age of 15!