Sep 30 2016

September 2016’s Animal Of The Month – Skinny Pigs

We gave you the skinny on the skinny pigs throughout the month, but now it’s time to say good-bye to our Animal of the Month for September. We hope you enjoyed our tweets about skinny pigs, perhaps with a little patriotic pride knowing that they were created right here in Canada! If you missed that tweet or any others, here is a summary of the fascinating facts about skinny pigs. Did you know?:

  • The skinny pig is a hairless guinea pig and has the same scientific name as the guinea pig (Cavia porcellus).
  • Skinny pigs are guinea pigs that have a genetic mutation which makes them mostly hairless.
  • Did you know that skinny pigs have a unique Canadian connection? They were created in Canada!
  • In 1978, Montreal scientists first identified the genetic mutation that created hairlessness among lab guinea pigs.
  • Researchers later bred the guinea pigs with the genetic mutation, creating the skinny pig.
  • Because of their lack of hair, skinny pigs were bred to be used in dermatological experiments.
  • Eventually, skinny pigs were allowed to be bred outside the lab setting by breeders for the pet industry.
  • Because the skinny pig is a creation of science, they are not found in the wild.
  • Skinny pigs are not completely hairless. They have hair on their noses and feet.
  • Some skinny pigs have an extra little bit of hair on their backs or rump.
  • There are two types of hairless guinea pigs – skinny pigs and Baldwins.
  • Skinny pigs are mostly hairless all their lives. Baldwins are born with hair but lose all of it early and remain hairless.
  • While skinny pigs were made in Canada, Baldwins originate from a genetic mutation from White Crested cavies in California.
  • Because they lack protective fur, skinny pig skin is vulnerable to injury and infection.
  • Skinny pigs get cold easily because they don’t have fur to help keep them warm.
  • Their bodies need to work harder to stay warm so skinny pigs have a high metabolism and eat more than furred guinea pigs.
  • If taken outside on warm days, try to keep skinny pigs in the shade because their skin can burn.
  • Exercise caution if putting sunscreen on skinny pigs as they may ingest it while grooming which might cause problems.
  • Even though they don’t have fur, a variety of patterns and colour pigmentations can be found on skinny pig skin.
  • Skinny pigs are often referred to as “skinnies” by their owners and breeders.
  • Skinny pigs have become popular pets, especially with people allergic to animal fur.

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