Guinea Pig Appreciation Day Date in the current year: July 16, 2022

Guinea Pig Appreciation Day Guinea pigs are among the most popular family pets, but a lot of people feel they are still underappreciated compared to, say, cats, dogs or hamsters. Guinea Pig Appreciation Day is observed every July 16 to fix this injustice.

The domestic guinea pig is a rodent species native to the Andes of South America. Despite their name, guinea pigs don’t have any connection either to Guinea or to pigs. Domestic guinea pigs are not found naturally in the wild. The species is believed to have been descended from other guinea pig species such as the Brazilian guinea pig, the shiny guinea pig, and the montane guinea pig.

Guinea pigs were domesticated over 7,000 years ago by indigenous Andean peoples that lived in present-day Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. However, back then guinea pigs weren’t kept as pets; they were raised as livestock for their meat. In fact, guinea pig meat is still consumed in South America. Guinea pigs were also used in folk medicine and played an important role in the folk culture of many Andean tribes.

When Europeans began to colonize South America, Dutch, English and Spanish traders brought guinea pigs to Europe, where they quickly became a popular exotic pet among wealthy people. Even Queen Elizabeth I is said to have owned a guinea pig! The earliest known European painting of a pet guinea pig is dated to 1580. As guinea pigs became more common, scientists began using them in their experiments.

Today, guinea pigs are affordable to everyone and not just to upper-class people and royalty. They are cute, smart, relatively easy to care for, and have a longer lifespan compared to other small domesticated rodents. For example, hamsters live about 18–36 months, fancy rats live 2 to 3 years, and healthy guinea pigs live 5 to 8 years. This makes them perfect pets for those who already have experience taking care of smaller rodents and are ready for a long-term furry companion.

Guinea Pig Appreciation Day was started in 2016 by a guinea pig rescue because guinea pigs lacked their own holiday despite being a very popular pet. The main goals of the holiday are to raise awareness of guinea pigs, educate guinea pig owners about taking proper care of their little friends, and encourage people to adopt guinea pigs from shelters.

If you’ve been thinking about adopting a guinea pig, Guinea Pig Appreciation Day is the perfect day to give it a shot. Get in touch with a local animal rescue or shelter and ask if they have any guinea pigs up for adoption. If they don’t, well, we guess you can buy a guinea pig after all. Just makes sure to put some time and effort into researching how to take care of guinea pigs before bringing one home.

If you’re already a proud guinea pig owner, buy your pet a treat or a new toy. Guinea Pig Appreciation Day is also a great occasion to speak up against using guinea pigs in scientific experiments, as well as against animal testing in general. And don’t forget to promote the holiday and the adorable furry creatures it celebrates on social media with the hashtag #GuineaPigAppreciationDay.

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Category

Unofficial Holidays

Country

USA

Tags

Guinea Pig Appreciation Day, unofficial observances, holidays in the United States, guinea pigs, domesticated rodents