Description of the guinea pig breed “Skinny”
You’re surprised, aren’t you? But this is not a mirage. This is one of the varieties of hairless pigs. You will not find such a pig in a pet store. In USA, skinny is still a rather rare breed, and you can buy such pigs only from breeders or in a nursery. To be honest, many people who are not closely related to the topic of guinea pigs do not even know that such pigs exist at all. Nevertheless, in the last decade this breed has become more and more popular, including in USA.
And it is also necessary to immediately clarify the common misconception that bald guinea pigs are always skinny. This is not entirely true. Hairless guinea pigs are a separate category of guinea pigs, not a breed. There are actually two breeds that fall into the hairless guinea pig category: Skinny and Baldwin. Today we will talk about the first breed.
Skinny breeders claim that this breed of guinea pigs are the most adorable representatives of the pig world. At first glance, a skinny is overcome with doubt and you begin to look for similarities with guinea pigs. What analogies are not given: on the side – a hippopotamus, from the back – a donkey Eeyore, from the muzzle – a tapir. The list goes on and on …
But it is better to see and touch once (and there is something to touch, believe me!) Than to read ten times.
From the history of skinny guinea pigs
Among other breeds of guinea pigs, the skinny is one of the newest, newly developed breeds. They have only existed for about 40 years! So where did this amazing breed suddenly come from? Did people discover these pigs on an uncharted island 40 years ago? No, not on an island, but rather in a laboratory, since these pigs, due to their peculiarity, could never survive in the wild. These funny little pigs appeared as a result of a natural genetic mutation in 1978 in the laboratories of the Armand Frapper Institute, which is located in Montreal, Canada. There, for the first time, such a mutation was recorded. The mutation arose, the phenomenon was recorded and described, but no further action on the part of scientists followed until 1984, when this mutation manifested itself again in the face of a bald albino baby.
After discovering the spontaneous genetic mutation a second time, the scientists decided to use the linked strain to create an entirely new breed of guinea pig. And soon they succeeded. The first female was named Skinny (literal translation “skin and bones”, with a hint of the absence of hair), hence the name of the breed.
A quite reasonable question arises: why did scientists need to breed a new, such an unusual breed? For research, of course. As you probably know, guinea pigs were and remain very popular laboratory animals on which many experiments are carried out, since guinea pigs are mammals with a similar immune system to the human. And the skinny breed is simply excellent for dermatological experiments and research.
Today, bald pigs are a hardy breed, as the breeders have done very hard work. The first hairless guinea pigs had a very short lifespan due to a weak immune system. To obtain a strong livestock, breeders crossed bald pigs with selfies. According to the latest recommendations from American breeders, when breeding, it is necessary to infuse the blood of the carriers every two generations.
Main features of skinny guinea pigs
So what’s so special about skinny guinea pigs? Lack of wool, of course. It should be noted that the hair in pigs is not completely absent, the residual altered hair is present on the end parts of the body – on the face and on the legs.
Skinny babies are born completely hairless, but hair on their paws and on the face appears as they grow up. It also sometimes happens that very light downy hair grows on the back of a skinny.
Skinny skin is very pleasant to the touch, velvety and soft, like a baby’s. You want to touch and stroke them again and again. The normal body temperature of a skinny is about 38 C, which is why these pigs are always so hot.
Around the neck and legs, the skin gathers in noticeable folds. It is a fairly common misconception that due to the lack of hair, the skinny’s protruding ribs and spine are visible. This is not the case, at least for a healthy guinea pig. Usually, a skinny has a plump and round body, the length of which reaches about 30-35 cm in adulthood.
These funny guinea pigs have become extremely popular with people who cannot keep pets due to their animal hair allergy. More and more people who love animals but cannot afford the luxury of having a little friend at home are now proud owners of hairless guinea pigs. Funny, curious, and friendly little creatures, skinnies now live in many homes around the globe.
So, the only real difference between skinny and other guinea pig breeds is in appearance. Everything else – character, temperament, intelligence and behavioral features are quite similar.
The average lifespan of a skinny is 6-7 years.
Skinny maintenance and care at home
There is a big undoubted plus in caring for a skinny – these pigs have almost no hair, so you don’t need to comb, comb and wind anything on the papillotes. These guinea pigs are quite unpretentious, even a child can take care of them. Skinny is perfect as a first guinea pig and for inexperienced breeders.
Hairless guinea pigs, including skinny ones, in terms of physiology, are no different from their “woolen” relatives. They are also very energetic and active and have the same kind character as other breeds of guinea pigs. They eat the same foods and make the same sounds. The only difference is wool, or rather, its absence.
But when it comes to skinny care, there are a number of things to consider. The guinea pig’s coat is a kind of protective layer, and hairless pigs are deprived of this protection, so their skin is as susceptible to the impact as ours. Except we have clothes and skinny doesn’t. Hairless pigs are quite vulnerable to injury and infection, so it is best to keep them indoors in a controlled environment as a precautionary measure.
Skinny is very sensitive to both cold and heat. They get heatstroke very easily, so in the summer, when releasing your pet on the grass, make sure that it does not end up in the open sun. Only in the shade!
In addition, skinny skin, like ours, tends to tan under the sun. Therefore, when taking your skinny pig outside, apply sunscreen on the body and face. Just be careful not to get in your eyes.
The ideal ambient temperature for skinny is from +20 C to +25 C, which is slightly higher than the average recommended temperature for other guinea pigs. The lower temperature limit is +18 C, the upper one is +28 C.
When choosing a location for your skinny cage, you need to make sure it is away from drafts and cold walls.
Skinny Guinea Pig Nutrition
Lack of hair is also the reason why skinny is more sensitive to temperature extremes. Experts strongly recommend increasing their portions and feeding frequency because hairless guinea pigs have to eat more in order to maintain the necessary body temperature and accumulate subcutaneous fat.
On average, a hairless guinea pig needs three times as much food as other guinea pig breeds. These babies chew on something almost constantly to provide themselves with the necessary level of thermoregulation.
Skinny is absolutely vegetarian. Their diet consists of vegetables, fruits, grass, hay and special pellets that can be purchased at pet stores.
Remember to make sure your pig has clean drinking water at all times in the cage.
Read more about how and what to feed guinea pigs in the ” Nutrition ” section .
Skinny guinea pig cage
Any guinea pig needs a spacious cage. Keeping in small, cramped cages can be detrimental to the health and character of these animals.
The minimum allowable cage size according to the standards of maintenance should be 0.6 square meters, which corresponds to dimensions of 100×60 cm.
In addition to a spacious cage, a skinny will most likely need special accessories – cotton or fleece bags for sleeping or sofas for relaxing. Some owners buy or sew their own garments for their freezing pets.
About what a guinea pig cage should be
Should I bathe skinny?
There is no definite answer to this question, but in principle, bathing guinea pigs is not recommended in principle (with the exception of long-haired breeds), since any water procedures are a great stress for these animals. In case of heavy contamination, it is better to wipe the pig with a damp cloth than to give her a bath.
If your pet’s skin becomes dry, you can apply a little of any natural oil to it.
Skinny, like other guinea pigs, cannot stand loneliness and are very fond of the company of their relatives. Therefore, if you cannot buy your pet at least one companion of the same sex, then at least devote more time to it. Play, stroke, walk, run around the room, etc.
It is believed that the character does not depend on the breed. This is true, but not for skinny! They are very affectionate. And there is a logical confirmation of this. Due to the action of the skinny gene, these pigs have a slightly increased metabolism, the body temperature is slightly higher than that of ordinary pigs, they feel the ambient temperature better, so when you take skinny with warm hands (they seem hot), the pigs are very pleased , they warm up and happily settle in your arms.
If you provide these guinea pigs with the proper care and the necessary level of care, they will become very affectionate and loving pets. Moreover, males are often even more affectionate than females.
Skinny guinea pig colors
It would seem, what colors can there be if skinny, in principle, has almost no wool? And yet. Lacking hair, these guinea pigs have different skin pigmentation, which can be chocolate, cinnamon, silver, lilac, white or golden. And there are also albino skinny and even Dalmatian skinny! Multi-color, including two-color and three-color combinations are also not uncommon.
Today, the most popular color among skinny lovers is chocolate.