What is a Skinny Pig?
A Skinny Pig is an almost hairless Guinea Pig. Some people incorrectly believe that Skinny Pigs are a specific breed of Guinea Pig, but Skinny Pigs are actually a genetic mutation with a hairless recessive gene. Skinnies typically have some hair on their muzzle, feet, and legs are the rest of their body is hairless. The Skinny Pig name comes from their thin appearance when compared to regular haired guinea pigs. Both are the same
Skinny Pig Breeding
Breeding Skinny Pigs is different from regular animal breeding. A normal haired guinea pig and a skinny pig will result in 100% haired offspring that will be heterozygous. These heterozygous haired guinea pigs will carry the recessive hairless skinny pig gene, but will have hair. Heterozygous, also referred to as Het’s. when bred with hairless guinea pigs will result in 50% haired and 50% hairless guinea pigs. Two hairless guinea pigs bred together will result in 100% hairless skinny guinea pigs. This is the same way recessive genetic mutations work in all living creatures and Skinny Pigs are no different!
Skinny Pig Hair
All Skinny Pigs are different. They come in a variety of colors and hair. Some Skinny Pigs are 100% bald, but it is not uncommon for Skinny Pigs to have some hair on their face, feet and legs. Very thin hair on their backs are also common to see. Their colors can range from complete black to total pink, to dalmatian and tortoise shell. The hair comes in a variety of colors like black, red, white, and brown.
Skinny Pig Temperature
Because of their lack of hair, Skinny Pigs need to reside in a climate that is naturally warmer. They prefer to be in temperatures over 72F, and as high as 80F. Skinny Pigs should live indoors with plenty of nesting materials such as huts and blankets to maintain their body temperature. If you live in a cold climate where temperature inside the home is under 70F for part of the year it is important to have a heating pad for your Skinnies to sleep on. Penny has this Heating Pad for Small Animals in her cage.
Skinny Pig Skin
The skin of a Skinny Pig is much like that of a Human and should be taken care of the same as a regular guinea pig. It is important to not wash a Skinny Pigs skin as you would your own body. Oils are released by their skin that protect them. It is a common misconception that the skin needs to be oiled. The oils released by their skin is sufficient. Unless medical treatment is needed, it is best to leave their skin alone. Dry skin is not normal on a Skinny Pig. If your Skinny Pig has dry skin it is usually indicative of a health condition and you should seek treatment at an Exotic Veterinarian.
Keep the bedding of your Skinny Pig extra clean. Skinnies do not have the extra barrier of protection that regular haired guinea pigs have and as a result it is more likely for them to get diseased this way. The bedding should be clean of dirt/poops/urine. Excessive moisture is not good for their skin and can lead to infections like Ringworm.
Skinny Pig Lifespan
The average age of a Skinny Pig is 4.5, but has the potential to live 5-6 years if properly taken care of. Some people have reported their Skinny Pigs living to be 7 years old! Make sure to treat your best friend with proper TLC and they will live a happy and fulfilling life!