Guinea pigs are one of the most popular pets in the United States. They have a gentle disposition, and many guinea pig owners enjoy watching their guinea pigs interact with each other or explore their cages. There is an entire day dedicated to guinea pig appreciation and this article will give you all the information you need to know about Guinea Pig Awareness Day!
Guinea Pig Appreciation Day is observed every 16th July. It’s a celebration of these tiny companions that are were domesticated in South America over 3,000 years ago and loved all across the world.
History of National Guinea Pig Appreciation Day
Guinea Pig Appreciation Day was founded by Piggles Guinea Pig Rescue in the Greater Toronto Area of Canada. July 16 was chosen as the holiday’s date because “G” is the 7th letter of the alphabet so the 7th month of the year is July, and “P’ is the 16th letter.
Guinea pigs are a domesticated rodent, originally from South America and have been bred for food, as pets, and to offer sacrifices to the Incan gods. Guinea pigs were brought to Europe by Spanish conquistadors in the late sixteenth century and became popular housepets.
It is unknown why the animals got their nickname “guinea pig,” but there are a few theories. One theory is that 16th century English sailors would transport guinea pigs on their ships and the animals became known as “ship pigs” and sold for one guinea in currency when they arrived in England. Another popular belief is that guinea pigs were called guinea pigs because they make squealing noises like pigs and were carried on ships from Guinea in West Africa. But no one knows for sure.
“We should appreciate guinea pigs every day, not just once a year!” says co-founder of British brand Haypigs!®, Rik Cridland. “We’re obviously delighted to have a day in which we can wax lyrical about these adorable little creatures but we built our brand to give guinea pigs a voice and it’s time to talk a bit more seriously about what we’ve discovered over the last 6 years of working with, and caring for, guinea pigs.
- Every week, hundreds of guinea pigs in the UK end up in rescues. There are a multitude of reasons for this, but what we see and hear on a day-to-day basis is horrifying and disturbing.
- Christmas presents no longer entertaining enough.
- ill guinea pigs surrendered because owners don’t want to pay the vets bills
- horde cases where owners have lost control of breeding or kept them as live food for their reptiles.
- Guinea pigs have been found left in skips, on top of bins, roaming wild in parks or tortured and miss-treated by reckless owners.
- Guinea pigs being treated as a commodity, bought and sold online like second-hand goods and without any form of vetting or licensing.
How to Celebrate Guinea Pig Awareness Day
If you’ve been thinking about getting a pet, why not think about adopting a pair of guinea pigs today? If you already have your own pigs, don’t forget to give them some special treats today – crunchy fresh green vegetables are their favourites!.
- Guinea pigs enjoy cozy shelters. Put together a small tent or sleeping bag from hand-sewn fabric for your pet to snuggle up in. Crafty ideas are available online for DIY cozies, too.
- Get them an extra-large cage. If you don’t have any more physical space, choose one that comes with an enclosed ramp attached and a separate dwelling for the guinea pig.
- Guinea pigs are pretty photogenic, so snap a few photos of your cutie.
- Guinea pigs love treats. Choose a small bit of safe, suitable fruit like pineapple, pear, or strawberry and ask your vet for advice about what other foods to offer them.
- If you are the proud parent of a single guinea pig, consider getting your furry pal a roommate. Be sure to house same genders together or they will fight.
- The best way to spoil your furry pal is by spending time with them. Spend some time playing with the guinea pig and give it daily supervised playtime outside of the cage. Many guinea pigs actually enjoy cuddling with their owners
Interesting Guinea Pig Facts
- The earliest recorded use of the term guinea pig was in 1664.
- George Bernard Shaw in 1913 was the first to use guinea pig for the subject of an experiment.
- Guinea pigs have four toes on their front feet and three on their hind feet.
- A female guinea pig is called a sow, the male is a boar; babies are pups.
- Guinea Pigs were formerly used for healing. They helped as a treatment for arthritis and jaundice by rubbing them on the affected areas.
- It is estimated that 2% of UK households own a Guinea Pig.
- Guinea Pigs have 20 teeth. The very prominent incisors that we all see are premolars and molars. The teeth are hidden by a Guinea Pig’s fatty cheeks, which make them very hard to see.
- Guinea Pigs can’t produce their own vitamin C. It needs to be supplied to them in their diet.
- Guinea pigs eat their own poo. Well, the caecotrophs anyway. These are their soft droppings, and they’re full of goodness from their high fiber diet. They also produce a hard dropping which they don’t eat.
- Guinea Pigs are very fertile, and if a male is left with multiple females, he will mate with them all. Back in 2014, a male Guinea Pig impregnated 100 females at Hatton Adventure World in Warwick, after ending up in the female enclosure.
Guinea Pig Awareness Day
Celebrating our small furry friends