Believe it or not, today is Guinea Pig Appreciation Day around the globe! In the office we are big fans of the little fluffy creatures, so we thought we would bring you some fun trivia about them!
- These little pigsies are not from Guinea, in fact, they are from South America. The first Guinea pigs arrived to Europe in the 16th century on the ships of Spanish conquistadors.
- You might think that “Guinea” in their English name comes from the country’s name, however, that may not the case. Although according to some speculations, they were named Guinea as they were brought to Europe via the African country, this is not proven. Some say they were named after the very cute squealing sound they make, others think they might have been named after their price. (Apparently they cost 1 guinea back in the days!)
- In some countries they are called “little pigs from India”, for example in Italian their name is “porcellino d’India”, while other languages just call the funny little creatures “piglets of the sea” (e.g. German: “Meerschweinchen”).
- A female guinea pig is called a sow and their male counterpart is a boar. In the wild they live in huge herds.
- Guinea pigs are highly social creatures and in Switzerland it is actually against the law to keep just one of them! (They need the company of their own kind as they can get depressed if kept alone.)
- They cannot produce their own vitamin C, so it must be supplemented through their diet. This is something to consider if you’d like to keep a couple (or more) Guinea pigs!
- While in Europe and North America we usually keep these cuties as beloved pets, their lives might be in grave danger in certain South American countries. They might get eaten! Guinea pigs in Peru are a delicacy.
- Speaking of exotic dishes: the Catholic church classified the closest relatives of Guinea pigs, the capybaras as “fish” in the 16th century due to their semi-aquatic nature and so they can be consumed during lent. Don’t get surprised if you see them on the menu in Venezuela!
Did we miss any interesting facts? Do you have your own Guinea pig story? Let us know, comment below and share your thoughts!