Why is a Guinea Pig Called a Guinea Pig?

Petco(TM) Aims to Answer This Question and More During Their Monthly "Meet the Critters" Event

San Diego, California, UNITED STATES

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 27, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The guinea pig: They aren't from New Guinea and they aren't pigs, so where did the name come from and what makes them so special? Petco™ is helping to answer this question and more by educating guests on guinea pig diet, habitat and demeanor during their monthly "Meet the Critters" event on October 1-2, 2011 from 1-2 p.m.

During the two-day, family-friendly Meet the Critters event, sponsored by LM Farms, attendees can interact with guinea pigs, as well as learn diet, behavior and habitat information from one of Petco's trained staff members. In addition, certain stores will feature additional activities such as guinea pig scavenger hunts and getting started seminars. The free, monthly educational event allows guests of all ages to enjoy these hands-on activities while learning important information about responsible pet ownership.

Interesting guinea pig facts include:

  • Guinea pigs originated from the Andes mountains of Peru and are actually rodents, not pigs like the name implies. Many also believe the "pig" portion of the name comes from their squeaking noise that reminded people of baby piglets. The "guinea" portion of the name may have originated when sailors brought the animals from South America and sold them for a guinea, a term for an old English coin.
  • The three most common breeds of guinea pig are the Smooth-Coated, the Abyssinian and the Peruvian. The Smooth-Coated has short glossy fur, the Abyssinian's hair grows in fluffy tufts and the Peruvian has long silky hair that can grow to the ground.
  • Guinea pigs are known for squeaking with delight when their pet parent enters the room.
  • They make excellent starter pets for older children who are old enough to learn proper handling techniques.
  • Guinea pigs are social animals who prefer to live in small groups.
  • Unlike other pets, guinea pigs cannot manufacture Vitamin C, so they enjoy eating fruits and vegetables high in this vitamin such as oranges.
  • A guinea pig's teeth grow continuously so they must always have something to gnaw on.

For more information on the event please contact a local Petco or go to www.petco.com/kids.

About Petco™

Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. Everything we do it guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,100 stores nationwide, including more than 30 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood show, and www.petco.com. The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $80 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support approximately 7,000 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 250,000 animals through in-store adoption events every year.


Mia West



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