Skinny Pig (Hairless Guinea Pig): Care Guide, Facts & Info

When you notice an image of a guinea pig, probably you think about their lustrous, thick coats, their adorable noses, and their chubby bodies.

Now, think about a guinea pig that has all of the things and qualities mentioned above — but without the lustrous, thick coat.

Hey Congratulations, you’ve just imagined the structure of a hairless guinea pig, which is what a lot of people call a Skinny Pig. These guinea pigs are just like normal guinea pigs, except this creature has very little hair (and many times, zero at all).

Skinny Pigs are growing in popularity day by day although these species are not as common as other hairy guinea pigs. If you are interested to learn more about these strange but adorable tiny rodents, read on.

Skinny Pig
Credit: Erin Koski, Commons Wikimedia

Skinny Pig Quick Facts

Name of Species :Cavia porcellus
Family:Caviidae
Care Level:Low to Moderate
Temperature Level:65-75°F
Temperament:Social, Friendly and outgoing
Color Form:Himalayan, Dutch, Brindle
Lifespan:5 to 7 years
Size:1-2 pounds, 9-12 inches long
Diet:Fruits, Veggies, Hay, Pellets
Minimum Cage Size:7.5 square feet per pig
Cage Set-Up:Minimal
Compatibility:Very social with other guinea pigs

Skinny Pig Overview

A very little point makes Skinny Pigs distinct from general guinea pigs. They require almost the exact care, lifestyle and diet needs.

These hairless pigs are the ultimate result from a spontaneous genetic mutation in the year 1978. However by the beginning of 1980s, this species was specifically bred for its hairlessness.

Apart from being wonderful pets, the lack of fur makes the skinny pigs perfect for lab use, particularly in dermatological studies and research. The reason behind their uses in such research and studies is that their skin is the same with humans.

The Skinny Pigs are very adorable to keep as pets and every bit as fun and exciting to look at as general guinea pigs are.

Not all the Skinny Pigs are hairless, though. Many have little fur on their back, feet, muzzles, or legs, however this species usually has more bare skin than nothing. 

Those creatures which have more hair in their body than you would expect from a Skinny Pig are known as “werewolves,” and it is probably the most wonderful thing that we can imagine.

How Much Do Skinny Pigs Cost?

When the matter came to guinea pigs at the family reunion, Skinny Pigs assumed to be the unwanted guest. But, they’ve become quite the trendy pet  in recent years. As a result of their popularity, the average price of one of these Skinny Pigs has been climbing drastically.

Usually, you can expect to pay for a Skinny Pig anywhere from $100 to $200, but if you want a special color that number could rise. Again, since they are social animals, vet experts suggest buying at least a pair of them. 

Tip: If you want to keep costs down, Skinny Pigs get along just fine with a general guinea pig as well.

Temperament & Typical Behavior 

Like any other guinea pigs, Skinny Pigs are outgoing and social. Unlike humans, they also like to be around family and friends, whether their owners or other guinea pigs. When with their pals, usually they are quite vocal, and many times you’ll hear this animal chattering loudly.

As compared to regular guinea pigs, they’re relatively less aggressive and confrontational, so there shouldn’t be any high territorial disputes on your hands. Rather than face conflict head-on, this creature likes to shy away from it.

They prefer being taken out of their cage and enjoy affection. However, as they can be quite delicate, be cautious.

Appearance & Varieties

The body of a Skinny Pig is mainly like that of any other common guinea pig. The difference is only in their hair. 

Usually Skinny Pigs aren’t fully bald. But on certain parts of their body, there are some bits of peach hair.

Skinny Pigs are susceptible to having dry skin like humans and they are supposed to be prone to contracting mites.

All the Skinny Pigs have more patches of bald skin, it makes the creature more susceptible to harm from the sun. As a result, it’s harder for them to control their body temperature. 

These bald critters come in different patterns and colors, which include Dutch, Brindle, and Himalayan.

The most common colors are:

  • White
  • Lilac
  • Golden
  • Cinnamon
  • Chocolate
  • Silver

Like all other guinea pig species, Skinnies have stout, short legs which make them complete diggers. In spite of their bald skin, Skinny Pig have long whiskers that assist them to feel a strong sense of smell and the location around their head. This compensates for it’s low eyesight.

Skinny Pig Care, Habitat, Cage Conditions & Setup

Cage

Every Skinny Pig needs a minimum of 7.5 square feet of cage space; however , since you’ll probably need to hold many at a time, you’ll need to have a cage that’s bigger than the one you currently have. They are awestruck when they go through various heights, however, they love exploring the horizontal space more, so you should make sure that your cage is at least twice as broad as it is tall.

You can reduce the requirement for the horizontal space by removing them from the enclosure, and letting them roam around. Again, they’ll need plenty of toys to play with.

Remember that the more space your pet is allowed, the better they’ll be in a position to separate their toilet space from the other areas of the cage. Apart from being better for the pet’s health, it helps make your cage easier to keep clean.

Bedding

Skinny Pigs need plenty of substrate at your cage’s bottom so that they can dig when they feel cold. 

Choose paper shavings or similar items because cedar and pine contain harmful chemicals that can cause harm to your pet if they are consumed. 

Even if your pet does not consume harmful chemicals, the fumes could cause harm to the respiratory system of your skinnies.

Temperature

Because Skinny Pigs do not have fur (or at least, not a lot of it), they have a very tough time controlling the internal body temperature. Their cage should be kept between 65degF to 76degF. They should be kept out of anything that can affect their core temperature, including direct sunlight, fireplaces, and vents.

Lighting

Skinny Pigs can live without any particular lighting requirements. They’re not nocturnal animals. Therefore they must be kept in a place that allows them to see both sunrise and sunset naturally. 

It’s not necessary to manipulate the light intensity, and be aware of it.

Do Skinny Pigs Get Along With Other Pets?

Skinny Pigs have a great relationship with other guinea pigs, actually, they flourish in the relationship. Unless you intend to spend so much time regularly, ensure that they have at least one additional pig to keep them busy..

If the other animals are involved, it’s more than the Skinny Pig that you need to be concerned about. Dogs and cats can take advantage of them, and it’s best not to let large sized animals be around them. 

Anything smaller than your Skinny Pig is a gamble, but our recommendation is only having them in a group with your other guinea pigs.

What to Feed Your Skinny Pig

The diet of the Skinny Pig must comprise mainly of hay, whether Timothy hay or another low-fiber type. This is not only a great way to get all the nutrients they require, but chewing on the hay helps in slicing down the teeth of your skinnies. 

Their teeth will keep expanding if there isn’t something similar to chewing on hay, which may lead to all sorts of dental problems.

It is also possible to give pellets made from Timothy Hay. These pellets can be purchased from various pet shops available near you. 

A source of vitamin C is also required by them. So give them asparagus, vegetables, tomatoes, as well as bell peppers.

They also like other vegetables such as squash, cauliflower, leafy greens, and fruits and carrots, such as apples, pears, citrus fruits, and kiwis. You should not feed them fruits frequently, since fruits are rich in sugar, and could result in other weight-related problems or diabetes.

In order to maintain their temperature, Skinny Pig’s metabolic systems have to work more than that of other guinea pigs. This means you’ll need to be feeding them more often as an outcome. Be careful not to overdo it, since obesity can be a problem for these types of animals.

How to Keep Your Skinny Pig Healthy

Apart from skin treatments, there’s not much that Skinny Pigs require that is unique to their species. As with all guinea pigs they require their bedding changing every day and cages to be kept clean when it’s possible.

This creature doesn’t really require much, or bathing at all or bathing in general. Frequent bathing could cause dry skin. If they do become dry, you can apply just a little bit of natural moisturizers, such as coconut oil. However, do not apply any lotions specifically designed for human use because they might contain chemicals.

You should regularly clip or file nails of the Skinny Pigs, since the lack of hair on their body may cause them to be more susceptible to scratching their skin when their nails grow too long.

Breeding

Breeding the Skinny Pig is a bit more challenging than the breeding of regular guinea pigs since they tend to be larger when they are born. 

Also, they have a bigger litter, which means that the babies are more likely to experience problems. The first pregnancy is generally the most difficult, however, it’s all a bit tense.

Some experts believe that 20 percent of female guinea pigs don’t be able to survive the birth and pregnancy process. 

The same experts usually suggest leaving breeding to experienced breeders and expertise, since doing it yourself could cause the health of your Skinny Pig in serious danger.

If you choose to breed your Skinny Pig, be sure to segregate the boar and sow as soon as you are born. 

The animals could create another child within a few hours of having a baby, but doing this is extremely harmful to their health.

Are Skinny Pigs Suitable for You? (Summary)

If you’re a lover of guinea pigs but would like one with a bit more of an edge, you should consider adopting one of the Skinny Pig. They’re as cute and affectionate as normal Guinea pigs, however, their hairless appearance helps make them stand out in the crowd of furry pet owners.

You’ll need to shell out more for one however they’re difficult to breed and are quite fashionable to own. They also require more attention since they’re less capable of regulating the body’s temperature. They are more susceptible to additional health issues.

If you’re willing to pay for the cost, however, you’ll be able to have an outgoing and delightful pet that’s guaranteed to make you smile.

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