Interesting Facts I've Learned About Guinea Pigs

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After decades of domestication, guinea pigs have become fairly common household pets across the world. Although there are some “exotic” breeds of guinea pigs, they are still considered one of the most popular pets because of how easy they are to take care of and the abundant care information and supplies out there.

However, just because you see them quite often, doesn’t mean they’re boring or not very interesting animals. In fact, there’s a lot of guinea pigs that you, along with many other owners, may not know about them. Here are some interesting guinea pig facts that most people do not know.

They helped cured human diseases

Do you know someone that has suffered from Tuberculosis? Well, how about from Asthma? I personally have Asthma and I thank my guinea pigs for their ancestors helping humans discover cures and treatments to these diseases. As you may know, guinea pigs used to be the ideal specimen to conduct scientific research. Although not so much anymore, guinea pigs played a critical role in finding cures to many serious human illnesses.

Giant Guinea Pigs

About 8 million years ago, there was a rodent species that stood roughly 9 feet tall and weighed 1500 pounds! Yes, it’s true. Scientists believed that these giant rodents were close relatives to our modern day guinea pigs. Their scientific name is the Phoberomys Pattersoni, but enthusiasts have came up with great guinea pig names for it, such as the “Guineazilla.”

Not only were these creatures land animals, but they were semi-aquatic, meaning they lived both in the ocean and on land. From fossils, we know that their teeth were roughly 8 inches long, suggesting that they were predators near the top of the food chain.

Teeth that Never Stops Growing

If you’re an experienced owner, you may already know this fact. However, those that aren’t would have never guessed the guinea pig’s incisors will constantly grow throughout it’s entire life. This is the reason why teeth hygiene is so important among these animals. Chew toys are highly recommended because they do a good job trimming their teeth. A good alternative would be hard food such as stale bread or Timothy hay cubes.

But keep in mind, just because you give them something to trim their teeth, doesn’t mean you should stop checking up on their teeth. Sometimes there can be a chip on the teeth from chewing too much, and that requires immediate attention.

Unusual Sleep Schedules

From personal experience, I have woken up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, only to find that my pet guinea pig was awake. Every single time, he would be awake, which made me think guinea pigs were nocturnal. But that’s not the case. Rather, they sleep in spurts of 30 minutes or so in intervals throughout the day. They’re not like humans, who sleep for a prolonged period of time followed by a period of being awake.

Helped Discover Vitamin C

If you’ve read any guinea pig diet plan, you know that it’s essential to include Vitamin C in their daily meals. This is because, like human beings, guinea pigs cannot naturally produce this vitamin in their body. And because they have that similarity with us humans, scientists used them to discover such an important vitamin for us today.

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