Are calico guinea pigs always female, or is there more to the story? Calico guinea pigs are generally friendly and sociable creatures.
But they are not always female, since approximately 25% of calico guinea pigs are male.
The guinea pig’s colors consist of white, black, and orange. And they are found in the United States and other countries.
Moreover, its unique pattern came from a genetic mutation known as the Calico gene or tricolor gene: a feature usually shown in cats.
The tricolor gene is dominant, meaning it will be expressed in the offspring if either parent carries it.
Do you find this fascinating? Well, read on and learn more about calico guinea pigs with us.
Calico Guinea Pigs: A Brief History
The history of guinea pigs starts in South America, specifically in the Andes, where the descendant of modern pigs, Cavia cutleri, roamed around. So, you can say that guinea pigs are American.
Numerous pieces of evidence suggest that the first humans domesticated these wild animals who inhabited Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and the Andes in approximately 5000 BCE. The ancient humans kept guinea pigs for food in Peru.
The information surfaced between 500 BCE and 500 CE, where small creatures are evident in folk art and crafts.
Native South Americans engaged in selective breeding to create numerous landrace variants of domestic guinea pigs between around 1200 and 1532 CE (after the Spanish invasion of the Inca Empire), which serves as the foundation for certain recognized breeds today.
As for a specific type of species, the calico guinea pig has the scientific name Cavia porcellus. It is also a member of the rodent family Caviidae and is native to South America.
Their natural habitat is in the grasslands of South America. They are native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Calico guinea pigs are also known as cavies.
There are many coat types, but the calico guinea pig has a unique coat pattern characterized by a white base color with patches of black, brown, and red.
The genetic mutation known as the calico gene is responsible for the fur pattern. But as mentioned above, these varieties of colors of a coat are usually found on a cat.
But today, guinea pigs are found around the world.
Calico Guinea Pigs Are Mostly Female?
Are calico guinea pigs always female? No. So, can calico guinea pigs be male? Yes! As mentioned above, 25% of the species is male.
That is due to the X-inactivation mutation, which affects the expression of some genes on the X chromosome.
The X-inactivation mutation causes the X chromosome to be randomly inactivated in cells while other cells remain unaffected.
The fur pattern is unique and can vary from pig to pig but keep in mind that calico guinea pigs are not a type of breed; it only describes the color pattern.
Calico guinea pigs require the same care as other guinea pigs, including daily exercise and a healthy diet.
Also, guinea pigs are social creatures. They look out for each other. So, it would be best to give them companionship in their cages or enclosure.
More about calico guinea pigs
Calico guinea pigs can be either long-haired or short-haired. The species typically have white, black, and orange fur, but some may also have chocolate, gray, ginger, or cream fur.
Their appearance is so unique that most pet owners opt for such species.
The patches can vary in size and shape, but they are usually symmetrical and evenly distributed over any area of their body.
While the head, legs, and feet are white, while the back, sides, and belly are covered in patches. It is almost everywhere in the guinea pig’s hair.
The average lifespan of a calico guinea pig is typically between 4 and 8 years. However, this can vary depending on the health and genetics of your pet.
Calico guinea pig diet
Calico guinea pigs are generally healthy and can live long if given proper care. They are herbivores, meaning they eat only plant-based foods.
A healthy diet for a calico guinea pig should include a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, hay, and a small amount of guinea pig pellets.
Feed your pigs with a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits every day. You can get small pet food for your piggies from the local pet store.
Also, talk with your vet if you plan to purchase animal vitamins and supplements. Some pet owners would try ordering health grooming vitamins from different pet stores since it is not part of their natural diet. Consult a professional first to avoid problems.
Breeding Calico Guinea Pigs
Calico guinea pigs reproduce through sexual intercourse. The male guinea pig, also known as a boar, will mount the female, also known as a sow, and insert his penis into her vagina.
The boar will then ejaculate semen, which contains sperm, into the vagina. Then the sperm travels up the reproductive tract and fertilizes the eggs.
On the other hand, the gestation period for a calico guinea pig is typically between 59 and 72 days.
That is slightly longer than the gestation period for other guinea pig breeds, usually between 58 and 72 days.
The number of offspring a calico guinea pig can have varies depending on the breed, age, and health of the mother.
Generally, a healthy adult female guinea pig can produce two to six offspring, with an average litter size of four.
However, some litters may contain up to eight or more babies. The pups are born fully furred and with their eyes open.
Till then, the chromosomes of both parents will do their job. Since both have the calico gene, there is a high chance that the coat of their litter would appear the same.
Do calico guinea pigs make good pets?
Yes, calico guinea pigs are great pets! They are small, friendly, and relatively low-maintenance, making them a good choice for first-time pet owners.
Calico guinea pigs are also social and enjoy interacting with their owners, making them great companions.
They need a safe and comfortable home. The pigs should have plenty of space to explore and play and secure an area for sleeping.
Grooming And Care For Calico Guinea Pigs
When it comes to grooming your furry pets, guinea pigs require minimal care. These teddy guinea pigs last 7-9 years, so you better save up for all their needs to live long.
To care for your piggies, you need to cut their nails, brush their coats, and even bathe them sometimes. Most guinea pig owners learn to groom their pets without training, since it’s easy. Here are some tips from us:
#1. Brushing your piggie’s coat
Guinea pigs require coat brushing twice a week to lessen their shedding. You can check on your pet’s skin condition at this time. If you see any lumps or abnormalities, contact your veterinarian.
Rex and Himalayan breeds have short coats- you only need to brush them weekly. Longer-haired breeds like Peruvians or Abyssinians require frequent brushing to keep their long, flowing hair from matting.
#2. Nail trimming
Guinea pigs need nail trimming regularly. That is usually every month or two months.
The guinea pig’s age, nutrition, cage material, and amount of activity all influence how often it needs to be trimmed. Nails on guinea pigs often grow more quickly when they are younger, and those fed nutritionally balanced diets also tend to do so.
Generally speaking, more active guinea pigs have shorter nails than ones who are not, especially if the latter spend more time walking on hard surfaces than lounging on soft bedding.
Nail clippers designed for cats, either scissor-style or guillotine-style, can be used to trim guinea pigs’ nails.
Simply by coupling the feeling of touching their pigs’ toes and the sight of the clipper with the taste of tasty food, guinea pig owners may train their pets to accept having their nails cut.
Once they notice the nail trimmer, they eventually look forward to the reward and aren’t upset by the trim.
#3. Taking a bath
You only need to bathe your cavies if covered with urine or feces. A simple “butt bath” will do the trick.
Place a towel in the basin and pour enough water not to drown your guinea pig. Just place your pet’s hind end in the water, shampoo it, and rinse it in the sink. As for breeds with longer hair, bathe them more often to avoid matting because their hair is susceptible to dirt.
Since guinea pigs don’t usually enjoy the water, a small amount of warm water in the sink with a sink sprayer to remove the shampoo works nicely. As long as it is completely rinsed off, non-medicated soap like liquid Dawn, Ivory, or any mild pet shampoo is acceptable.
After a bath, drying off with a towel is usually sufficient. A heated hairdryer on low heat can quickly dry long-haired breeds if it’s cold outside.
#4. Caring for your piggie’s teeth
The “open-rooted” teeth of guinea pigs develop continually throughout their lifetimes. They chew on high-fiber hay every day, which wears down the surfaces of their teeth. Additionally, they require daily vitamin C supplements to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Although guinea pigs don’t require routine dental care from a veterinarian or at home, eating crumbly, dry pellets instead of hay causes them to frequently develop tooth root impaction, which causes discomfort when chewing, drooling, and occasionally decreased appetite. All of these symptoms indicate that the guinea pig needs to visit a veterinarian.
Where To Buy Calico Guinea Pigs?
You can buy calico guinea pigs at your local pet shop. But do not expect that you will find one instantly. If you can’t find one, you can buy items for your pet like toys or cages. Or products like guinea pig food or treats.
You might find the perfect calico guinea pig online. But only choose trustworthy and ethical breeders. Read the review or comment on the post to make sure.
It’s A Wrap
And that is all for this article- are calico guinea pigs always female? We hope that we have answered all your questions about this topic.
Keep in mind that there are male calico guinea pigs, but an unusual find. Always try to keep your pet healthy by providing for their needs.
For more interesting articles regarding guinea pigs, read: Can guinea pig that gets rabies? Have a great day!
Delbert Curtis is a senior writer at Petcosset, a leading online resource for pet care information. With over 10 years of experience in the pet industry, Delbert is passionate about helping pet owners provide the best care possible. He has written extensively on pet health, nutrition, training, and behavior. Delbert is dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the pet industry to provide the most accurate and helpful information to Petcosset’s readers. Delbert enjoys spending time with his pets and exploring the great outdoors when he’s not writing.