About Guinea Pig

What Is Guinea Pig? – All You Need To Know

In this article, we will try to put together what needs to be known and misinformations. For example, some questions that guinea pig owners encounter;

“What kind of animals are guinea pigs exactly?”

“Why is it called guinea pig? Do you have a pig at home?”

“Does guinea pig stink?”

There are lots of questions and misinformations like those. After reading this article, if you have a guinea pig, you will have all the answers for these kind of questions. If you’re about to have a guinea pig first time, you’re lucky because you already have a great information source at the begining. Besides the most asked questions about guinea pigs, you will learn many useful information about them either.

You can reach the content of article from table below:

Is Guinea Pig Really A Pig?

Ofcourse not. They have only one common point; both of their names include word ‘pig’. Guinea pigs are rodents, member of mammal family. They are anatomically and physiologically different from pigs. In a similar way, it’s a common wrong supposing that guinea pigs and hamsters are the same. They are different too. If you are trying to make a decision between hamster and guinea pig, first you should search for the differences between them.

Which Animals Are Guinea Pigs’ Ancestors?

They are known as their 10.000 years lasts past and they are not hybrids of any other animals. They aren’t bred artifically by humans. The pet guinea pigs we have in our homes today have ancestors, the wild cavies from South America. Skeletons of pet guinea pigs are found in Peru, aged 10.000 years. It’s found that they were fatlings for their meat.

guinea pig pet

Pet Guinea Pig

wild guinea pig

Wild Guinea Pig

Why is it called guinea ‘pig’? Do you have a pig at home?

skinny guinea pig

Skinny Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs have many names like cavy, furry etc. They spread around Europe after discovery of America by Spanish people. There are a number of stories about their names. One of them; they are almost neckless and the most similar animal like them are pigs. Another story tells that, skinny guinea pig really look like a pig, so they got the name ‘pig’ from there.

Last of all, even we don’t know where their names come from, they are cute animals have no relation with pigs.

Do Guinea Pigs Stink?

When you made a research about guinea pigs, you’ll see that many sources say they are scentless. This is quite true, because they are less scented than dogs and cats. They change the smell of house hardly. Generally, their scent can’t be notice from other rooms. I said generally, because there are some rules for that.

It’s very easy to look after a guinea pig but you shouldn’t neglect their care. For example, their poop is dry and scentless. Unfotunately their pee has a scent. Therefore, their cage musn’t stay wet. You should give them litter trainig to keep their cage dry and clean otherwise cage care will be more troublesome for you. You can learn how to litter train your guinea pig from our “Guinea Pig Litter Training” article.

Does Guinea Pig Shed?

Guinea pigs shed few or much according to their species. They shed especially on seasonal transitions but not as much as dogs or cats. If you want them to shed less, you can regulate their bath frequency and clean their spilled hairs with an old disused toothbrush. In this way they’ll shed less and be more well-groomed. To get more detailed information about shedding, you can read our Guinea Pig Shedding And Hair Care article.

As a reminder, there is a species named Skinny, and they don’t have fur.

guinea pig brush

Things You Need To Know About Guinea Pigs

Maybe you are saying that “Hey, you’re always giving us book information! Don’t you have something better?” Yes, we have.

Guinea pigs are very timid and cute animals.

It could take some time for them to get used to live with you. When they do, they will show their love and attention for you with different ways. Sometimes they bounce (it is called ‘popcorn’ ) and sometimes they make sounds like birds. When they get used to live with you, they don’t run away from you and let you to pet them. But you should be very patient to get this level. You should avoid from any movement that scares them. In their nature, their only weapon for predators is running. They would run away from you because of your sudden acts. You can familiarize them to you by giving them foods from your hands. We don’t know if it’s the truth but some sources says that guinea pigs could get a heart attack if you scare them with sudden actions or loud voice.

guinea pig handslap guinea pig

As a reminder, when you pick up a guinea pig, you should support both of their chest and butt.

guinea pig lap

You should be patient before cuddle.

guinea pig lap

After they get used to live with you, you can cuddle them. If you have a calm guinea pig, it would be stand quite and peaceful in your arms. You can watch television together. If you want, you can put a towel for it so when you pet them their hairs won’t be poured to your clothes. On the other hand, you can take sticky rolls to get clean from their poured hairs easily. Don’t worry about them to pee or poo on you. When they have that needs, guinea pigs don’t want to do it on you and they will start to be uneasy and crunch their teeth. Put them into their cage then. If you don’t there is no more time for you to stay clean 🙂

Guinea pigs have a long life-time

It’s said that guinea pigs had a life-time for 12 years. But we think they are living 8 years with a proper care. You have a very long time with them. You can extend that time by caring them properly. For example, you can take them out from cage and make them sport instead of leaving them in cage all the time. Don’t say “Do guinea pigs sport?” No matter what kind of pet you have, they need to sport as much as we need. If you wish, you can read my Guinea Pig Sport Activities article, to get more information.

Guinea pigs are hungry all the time.

You will spend a lot of funny time with them. Sometimes you will enjoy to watch them eat something eagerly. Guinea pigs love to eat. Especially if you give them their favorite foods, they can get 7 repast in one day! When they are hungry, they tell you that with their voice. If you leave them hungry, they won’t leave you alone. In every single voice at home they will yell at you for food. They can hear pochette rustle especially. If you put something out from pochettes, they want what you have. 🙂

guinea pig eat dry foodguinea pig eat fresh vegetables

If you let your guinea pigs free in house and lost them, you can find them easily by using a pochette. When you crinkle them, your guinea pigs will come out because they think there is food coming from pochettes. They will make a sound like below

Guinea pigs don’t bite or gnaw humans.

Guinea pigs are totally herbivorous animals and they are on lower steps of food pyramid. They won’t bite you even if they’re hungry or angry. So you don’t need to afraid of them. They are afraid of you more. 🙂 But on the other way, don’t forget that they are rodents, they chew everything they can. So if you let them free at home, they can gnaw your furnitures and electric cables.


With this article, we tried to explain misinformations and correct answers. Besides we wanted to tell key features of guinea pigs. I hope it would be useful for you. Keep following us. We will keep sharing useful informations about them everyday. If you wish, you can visit our main page and read our populer articles or last topics. For your questions about this topic, don’t hesitate to share them with us by using comment section below. If you want, you can contact with us directly from contact page. Thank you

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