Two Types of Hairless Guinea Pigs
Skinny Pigs are mostly hairless due to a recessive gene. Some of them have small tufts of hair on their head, shoulders or feet and some of them have a bit of "peach fuzz" down their back. They are born hairless and the bits of hair grow in as they grow older. Skinnies are quite wrinkled and also quite chatty, frequently squeaking to other pigs or to its human owners. Skinnies have been available as pets since the 1990's, and are quite popular, especially to people with fur allergies.
Baldwin Guinea Pigs came about because of a genetic mutation and are born looking like a regular furry type pig. However during the first week after birth, they begin to lose their hair. They are completely hairless by two months of age other than their whiskers and a bit of fur on their feet. When grown, these guinea pigs will have rubbery feeling skin with lots of wrinkles and big, droopy ears, which give them a comical look. Baldwin is a fairly new breed, but is growing more popular because of its uniqueness.
Temperment and Coloration
Temperament of hairless guinea pigs is quite different than that of furred guinea pigs. They are usually more social with their humans. It is common for them to come out of their sleep sack looking to be petted and picked up. They really love cuddling with their humans and snuggling in your neck or hair. They are very sweet and lovable. They are also very curious and love to explore new places. They learn very quickly and can be taught simple tasks with food rewards.
Skinnies come in a variety of colors from solid black or white to brown. brindle and spotted or patterned. Baldwins can be multicolored and patterned, tortoiseshell, Dutch or Himalayan.
What Do Hairless Pigs Eat ? How Much and How Often ?
Hairless pigs eat the same things as furred guinea pigs: high quality pellet food, timothy hay and fresh vegetables. Try to stay away from gas producing veggies, such as cauliflower and cabbage, as they might invite gastric distress. Kale, broccoli, carrots and spinach are good choices.
Hairless varieties usually eat more than furred pigs because they have a faster metabolism to help keep them warm. Because they eat more, they will also poop more, so cage cleaning will have to be more frequent, probably twice a week or every five days at the most.
It is very important to have plenty of fresh clean water available at all times!
How Long Do Hairless Pigs Live? How Much Do They Cost?
Skinnies and Baldwins live about as long as a furred guinea pig, about 5 to 7 years. They can be neutered or spayed, a good idea if you plan to have more than one. It is important that you see that they have regular veterinary care as hairless animals of any variety many times a little more delicate constitution and need regular check ups to keep them in prime heath.
The cost of a hairless pig is quite high compared to its furry counterpart, usually between $100 and $200. It is not suggested that hairless pigs be bred by people who are not knowledgable about the breed. Amateur breeders many times end up with unhealthy babies, many of which are not hairless at all.
Can Hairless Guinea Pigs Spend Time Outside?
Important Do's and Don'ts:
You can enjoy taking your pig outdoors, as long as you take a few precautions. If you do, then your time together outside can be fun and productive.
- Make sure it is warm enough. The outside temperature should be between 72 and 78 degrees.
- Do not place your pig in direct sunlight. Without hair, their skin can burn quickly. Never put sunscreen on your pig, it can be toxic. Always make sure you pig is in the shade.
- Get a play pen, or use a harness. Never let your pig roam around loose, as they are a very tempting treat for hawks or other predatory birds.
- Make sure that the grass that your piggies are walking on has not been treated with any kind of fertilizer or pesticide. These can cause skin rashes from contact or illness or death if ingested.
- If you use a harness and leash, let he or she lead you around. Do not try to make them follow you like a dog walks on a leash.
- The most important thing to remember when taking your pig outside is to never leave them unattended, even in a fenced enclosure. If left alone they are easy prey for dogs, cats, and birds.
Guinea Pigs are very social animals that love to spend time with you. If you don't have time to spend with them, please get them a companion pig, so they can keep each other company. Don't let them be sad and lonely!
Image Credits: Wikipedia
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