We all know guinea pigs as one of the most adorable pets in the world. We also have a common anticipation when we hear the animal’s name that it’s going to be the typical short haired tiny little rodent we all used to know. But what if I told you that there is a certain breed of guinea pig that is really opposite to what we think. Yes, it has a body that is like any other guinea pig, but its coat is extraordinary. It’s the texel guinea pig.
The Texel Guinea Pig is one of the few breeds of guinea pig that was created through genetic mutation and is currently one of the newest among the sub-species. They have many extraordinary characteristics and there very interesting facts about them. Here are some:
Origin and History
The Texel guinea pig, as said earlier, is a new type of guinea pig and is a product of genetic mutation. But before we explore how they mutated, let us first see how their forefather guinea pigs originated. Guinea pigs have its origins and history in the continent of South America during the ancient tribal times. Their type were specifically abundant in the northern and western parts, particularly in the deserted and grassy areas now known as the parts of the countries of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. They were reportedly domesticated in these areas around 5000 BC as food for the tribes in there. However, they were soon raised as pets and domestic companions. They played a great role in the history and traditions of the tribes. They were given as gifts to many important ceremonies. They also had a great contribution on the diagnostics of diseases (especially black guinea pigs) because they were believed to figure out a sickness. The Moche group who lived in the present day Peru used to worship guinea pigs and they were also used in their arts. In fact, many ancient guinea pig statues were discovered in Ecuador and Peru by archaeologists, which only proved their importance on the early tribesmen’s lives. From 1200 AD to the 14th century, they were bred and multiple types of the animal became visible, including the two ancestors of our Texel guinea pig (we will find out more about them later). Many European traders that visited the region shipped them to Europe. In the region, they became a widely known pet, especially on rich families. They were also reported to have been present in the areas of the Caribbean. The known worldwide European influence today probably caused the pet to be very widely popular and is now one of the most famous pets in the world.
The Texel guinea pig is a crossbreed of the long-haired Silkie guinea pig and the curly-coated Rex Guinea Pig. The characteristics of both created a very distinct and unique characteristic the Texel has today. The crossbreeding was believed to have taken place in England on the 1980’s, making the breed one of the newest of the cavy’s breeds along with the Skinny and Teddy guinea pig. Today, it’s also one of the popular breeds to keep.
The Texel guinea pig, generally all guinea pigs, has a good sense of hearing and is gifted with great contact and smelling abilities. However, their eyesight is a bit poor. They have a typical lifespan of about four to seven years. The litter size can range from one to six and the average is three. The gestation period or the length of time that the babies will be carried inside the mother’s womb is about nine to ten weeks or about 60-70 days on average. The babies are born already with the ability to walk around and be active, so they don’t particularly need a lot of caring. During breeding, the sow or the female has a high chance of dying from disease, and the chance is higher when they are exposed to high temperatures. Small litters are more dangerous to the mother since the young rodents are bigger. Large litters also risk the life of the offspring so it’s best to monitor a guinea pig during its pregnancy.
Features and Characteristics
The Texel guinea pig has one very special and unique characteristic: long and curled hair. This characteristic came from both the curly-and-short-coat genes of the Rex guinea pig and the straight and long hair DNA of the Silkie guinea pig. Because of this unique feature, they are one of the best breeds to present on guinea pig shows. The type is often called “long-haired Sheltie” because their hair is a bit longer compared to the Sheltie/Silkie breed, but the length may appear similar because the hair of the Texel guinea pig is curled. Although their body hair is long, the facial hair is short and is similar to other breeds’. Their grooming is probably one of the most usual concerns among teddy guinea pig owners because their thick, rich, and long coat is the hardest to manage among many breeds.
The Texel guinea pig is also known for the shortness of their body. Compared to other guinea pigs, the Texel’s size is smaller. They also appear to have a large, wide and rounded face. Generally, they are more likely compared to the Silkie guinea pig because the two breeds share some very noticeable resemblance.
The personality of guinea pigs doesn’t really depend much on their breeds because just like other animals, each individual has a different personality than the other, even in the same breed. But if we observe the majority of the breed’s temperament, we can name their most common behaviour. Most Texel guinea pigs have a similar personality with other long-haired guinea pigs. They are quite more behaved compared to other breeds. However, Texels are quite more mischievous and active than other long-haired guinea pigs such as Peruvians and Silkies, but they still have a tranquil personality.
If you see a sudden change on the behaviour of the guinea pig, it might mean that the guinea pig has an illness so it’s best to bring your pet to a veterinarian in these circumstances.
The diet of a guinea pig is also the same with other guinea pigs. They need to eat a portion of some fruits, vegetables, and hay grass along with a good amount of water for hydration. They should be fed hay grass to make them be able to digest and process food properly. They also need a regular intake of guinea pig pellet although this is less important. Guinea pig pellet should contain good amount of grain, hay, and other foods containing carbohydrate. They also need a regular intake of Vitamin C since they cannot produce or manufacture their own. Owners can give them natural Vitamin C by giving then enough intakes of fruits and green, leafy vegetables.
Guinea pigs need a good shelter to be on. An ideal cage for them is about 7 square feet of more in are, since they need to have a lot of space to move. They also need to be out o the cage and interact with other pets sometimes but make sure they are safe and looked out to when they do this. Some of the most common accessories an owner can put inside the guinea pig’s cage are toys, guinea pig cages, beddings, little houses they can hide on, and of course, water bottles and food containers.
A Texel’s grooming is very important since their coat is long and vulnerable. They need to be brushed at least every other day to prevent things and even parasitic insects from being stuck on their furs. Their coats also need to be trimmed or cut, especially in the areas where their wastes may be built up. This is to maintain cleanliness and good hygiene. Cleaning Texels can also be done by bathing them and using a shampoo that is not too strong for their types. It will also be great to clean other parts of their body, but don’t do this too often.
- Disease Prevention
Some of the most common diseases of guinea pigs are usually rooted from deficiency to certain nutrients, aging, disorders, improper caring, or injury. Some of these diseases include diarrhea, dental disorders, scurvy, metabolic disorders, respiratory diseases, and many more. Guinea pigs that live in groups or in pairs can transmit infections to each other so it’s better to diagnose an infection early to prevent it from spreading to other individual guinea pigs. As we know, it is more important to prevent a disease than treating it. In fact, it’s actually hard to cure a disease since most guinea pigs react negatively to antibiotics, so we should try to prevent diseases from being acquired by our pets. We can do this by giving them the proper care and the proper diet they need. They also need proper hygiene, regular cage cleaning, clean and orderly environment, proper exercise, and clean food.
- Guinea Pig Shows
Since Texel guinea pigs have a very amazing and interesting appearance, it is great to make them participate on guinea pig shows. Guinea pig shows are great ways to exhibit the beauty or the general identity of a pet guinea pig, especially the Texels. These shows have judges looking at the pet’s appearance as well as their personality and overall beauty. A Texel guinea pig has a great chance to win if the coat is evenly layered, a little bit longer, each strand of hair is healthy, and the pattern and colors seen through the fur is great and eye-catching.
Texel guinea pigs are great pets to keep not just because of their appearances but also because of their personality and ability to make us happy and become our companions. They can be bought on stores or online. Their prices range from $30-$40. It is a good idea to keep two guinea pigs of different sexes to make them breed. If you do want to buy, be prepared to also purchase their basic and monthly needs like cages, beddings, food, and water. You may have to spend about $100-$200 at first buy but it will come down to about $30 per month for their daily needs.