This post is all about today’s featured guinea
pig breed – the Himalayan! And what a super cute breed it is. (oh who am I kidding? They’re all cute. Come on now.:))
Himalayan guinea pigs are sort of like the siamese cat of guinea pigs – with a sleek white body and darker ‘points’ of color at the extremities: their toes, ears, and nose.
Do you know why Himalayan guinea pigs have darker fur on their ears, nose and toes?
Well, just like Siamese cats, Himalayan guinea pigs have a recessive genetic trait that gives their bodies a bit of a superpower. On the parts of their bodies that are the warmest, they don’t produce any melanin, which is the pigment in our skin that gives our skin, hair and eyes color. This explains why their bodies are white and their eyes are a light burgundy red color instead of dark brown like most piggies. The red isn’t really a color, but more the absence of color that you or I would normally have in the iris areas of our eye.
The cooler parts of their bodies, however, DO produce melanin, so their skin and fur is darker there, like a toasty little marshmallow!
Now this doesn’t mean if a cool breeze sweeps through the room a Himalayan guinea pig suddenly turns brown all over like a chameleon! But it does mean that a Himalayan guinea pig living in a slightly cooler climate is likely to have darker brown points, and a guinea pig living in a warmer area may be a bit lighter. Granted, guinea pigs don’t do very well with extreme climate changes, so the temperature difference would have to be fairly small, but still! Pretty neat, huh?
Do you have a Himalayan guinea pig? If you
do, I’d love to see a picture! Send your photos to email@example.com and you just might see your piggie featured here!