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Guinea Pig Appreciation Day

It's time to show a little appreciation for one of the most popular pocket-sized pets: the guinea pig! Guinea Pig Appreciation Day was founded by Piggles Guinea Pig Rescue, a "foster-home based rescue, rehoming and advice service in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada." July 16 was chosen as the holiday's date because "G" is the 7th letter of the alphabet and "P' is the 16th.

Guinea pigs, also known as cavies, are domesticated rodents that are native to South America. They were domesticated by the Incas over 3,000 years ago, who bred them for food, to be used as pets, and to sacrifice to their gods. They were brought to Europe by Spanish conquistadors towards the end of the sixteenth century, where they became popular pets. It is unknown why they ended up with the name "guinea pig," but there are a few theories. Their roasted meat may have reminded Europeans of suckling pigs; they make squealing noises that may have reminded people of pigs; they may have been sold for one guinea when they first arrived in England, or they may have been carried to European markets from ships leaving Guiana in South America or Guinea in West Africa.

There are thirteen common types or breeds of guinea pigs, which are distinguished from each other by their hair's color, color pattern, texture, and sheen. They weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds and are 8 to 10 inches in length. They are herd animals that like to be with other guinea pigs and are generally social, also enjoying the company of humans. Guinea pigs are herbivores and are most active at night. They have no tails, although their teeth continually grow and they must keep gnawing or chewing to keep them from getting too long. Males are called boars and females are called sows. Litters of guinea pigs usually have three to four babies, but a sow may have as many as 13 babies. They reach maturity in two or three months and live five to seven years.

How to Observe Guinea Pig Appreciation Day

Celebrate the day by adopting a guinea pig from a nearby animal shelter that is similar to Piggles Guinea Pig Rescue. Since guinea pigs enjoy companionship, why not adopt two? If you already have a guinea pig, make sure to show them some appreciation today. Perhaps you could spend some extra time playing with them or could buy them some treats. Visit the day's official Facebook page for more information about the day and about guinea pigs.

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