Hairless Guinea Pigs That You Could Mistake For Tiny Hippos

Hairless Guinea Pigs That You Could Mistake For Tiny Hippos

Guinea pigs are some of the cutest pets you could bring into your home. They are shy, but not as skittish as rabbits and smaller rodents, friendly, and often covered with soft, smooth furs on their bodies begging to be stroked. Well, most of them.

Turns out there’s a unique species of guinea pigs that have nearly hairless bodies. [1] Skinny pigs, as they are named, typically have hair only on their muzzles, feet, and legs, and the rest of their bodies remain hairless. Psychologically, they are not different from other hairy breeds of guinea pigs, although they tend to eat a bit more to maintain their body heat.

The most interesting thing about these animals is their striking resemblance to hippos. Short legs, barrel-shaped bodies, broad mouths, and trapezoidal heads. When the photos first went viral, people online thought they were baby hippos or a unique species of mini hippos. 

When people finally believed they were guinea pigs, another misconception arose: they are shaved guinea pigs. Firstly, there’s no way a guinea pig would look like this if it’s shaved. The skin would be stubbly, badly bruised, and incredibly fragile. Also, shaving a guinea pig is a horrible act of animal cruelty. 

More about skinny pigs

This breed of guinea pigs originated in Canada in the late 1970s. They are a cross-breed between haired guinea pigs and a hairless lab strain, where the latter is said to have been caused by a spontaneous genetic mutation that occurred at a lab in 1978. [2] When the breed was first created, they were only being used in laboratories for dermatological studies. Fondly called cavies, the animal has gained popularity as a household pet across many countries in Europe and Scandinavia, and also across Russia and the United States. 

Skinny pigs have a skin type closely related to normal human skin, although they are a lot more sensitive and tender. Caring for these animals can be quite tricky because they are highly susceptible to sunburns, and fungal and bacterial infections since they are easily bruised or cut due to the exposed skin. 

To protect them, they are best groomed indoors and should only be taken out where the ground is free from debris and only under cool weather. Their cages or cots should be stuffed with soft clothing materials such as pillows or blankets to keep them comfortable and conserve heat. They need all the heat they can get since the insulation from bodily hair is out of the equation.

However, some skinny pigs may have more hair than is usual for their breed. These skinny pigs are called werewolves, and they often have hair on their faces, necks, and shoulders. Some of the most extreme werewolf scenarios would be where the animal has hair all the way down to its rump. This anomaly may be caused by hormonal imbalances, where the most common cause is pregnancy.

Skinny pigs are so adorable and make great pets for kids (under supervision) to learn responsibility since they require a lot of care and attention to details.

References

  1. 8 Hairless Guinea Pigs That You Could Mistake For Tiny Hippos.Bored Panda. Rugile. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  2. Hairless guinea pigs are a new pet craze.MNN. Jaymi Heimbuch. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
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