Skinny is a breed of guinea pig that is the result of a genetic mutation due to laboratory experiments during the 70s. Skinny is the result of a hairy guinea pig crossed with a hairless lab species. Skinnies are born almost completely hairless, however some skinnies gain hair as they age, especially around the nose.
Origin and Description
Skinny — they are nearly hairless little creatures that may look prehistoric but are, in fact, the newest breed of guinea pig. Skinny was developed in 1978 by scientists who conducted dermatological research. They crossed a hairy guinea pig with one of their hairless lab species due to a spontaneous genetic mutation to create an entirely new breed perfect for their research. Since then, the skinny has moved beyond the lab and is gaining popularity as a pet in Europe and North America.
Fun Fact: The term “skinny” is often used to describe any hairless guinea pig, but it’s actually a special breed. Unlike another type of hairless guinea pig, the Baldwin guinea pig, the skinny does have hair.
The funny thing about skinnies is that despite being almost naked, they come in a variety of colors and patterns: chocolate, cinnamon, silver, lilac, white, gold, and even have albino and dalmatian. By far the most popular color among skinny lovers — chocolate. Their hairlessness also makes them a great pet for people who are allergic to pet dander or have weak immune systems.
Although they look very different, the differences between skinnies and guinea pigs are minimal. They are friendly, outgoing and, when handled properly, enjoy spending time with their people. The biggest difference from other breeds of guinea pigs is that skinnies have to eat a little more every day to keep their body temperature up. Owners can help with body warmth by making sure their skinny always has access to proper linens and blankets.
Looks & Features
Skinnies have an unusual appearance. Their bodies are mostly smooth, with some wrinkles around the paws and neck. A healthy skinny will have a plump body and you won’t be able to see her spine or ribs. Skinnies are born without fur — and remain so. The only fur they have, even when they are older, is found on their noses and paws.
The hairless skinny is usually smaller than the average guinea pig. The hairlessness of this breed is not related to their gender. You can also find male skinny as well as female skinny. Skinnies are often close in size to the average guinea pig – they are only slightly smaller due to their hairlessness. They can weigh between 1 and 2 kg and be between 23 and 30 cm long from head to back.
Despite the lack of wool, this breed can be of different colors. They may also inherit colors from hairy ancestors. As shown in one study on pigmentation, if you mate a red guinea pig with a hairless albino guinea pig, their children can include hairless but red skinnies. Black Skinnies and Skinny Dalmatians are particularly common examples to be found.
Shinny Health Features:
- Sensitivity: they are much more sensitive to the environment, and are irritated by wood chips, for example. They are also much more sensitive to cold. In some climates it is fine to keep guinea pigs outdoors for most of the year, but skinnies will suffer from the cold much more quickly;
- Injury Impact: Hair is also an excellent defense against physical harm. Scratches that would never occur on a hairy guinea pig are common in skinnies;
- Tumours: in addition to these specific problems, they can also be susceptible to tumors that affect a typical guinea pig;
Skin Problems: Guinea pigs in general can be prone to skin problems, but this is especially true for skinny pigs. They may suffer from ringworm, parasites, and other skin infections.
Now you know what a skinny looks like. Let’s see what it eats.
Where does the skinny live?
These adorable-looking hairless pigs can never be found in the wild because that they are the result of experiments carried out in the laboratory. These funny little creatures are actually genetic mutations that were first created in 1978 in the laboratories of the Armand Frappier Institute, which is located in Montreal, Canada.
Since skinnies do not have fur, they should be stored indoors in a warm environment. Because they don’t have fur to naturally keep them warm in cold weather, skinnies get colds or even hypothermia very easily. You need to make sure they live in an area that is comfortable and warm so you never feel cold.
During the hot summer months, you must be careful not to tan your skinny. So if you take them outside, you need to make sure you put some sunscreen on their body and muzzle, and be especially careful not to put sunscreen on your pet’s eyes.
Being such funny, inquisitive little creatures and so friendly, skinnies make their mark on the animal kingdom thanks to their owners, who have now settled in many parts of the country. Since skinnies have to live indoors, they really become part of a family, much like a cat or dog. Since they don’t have fur on their bodies, every little detail in them is accentuated, and this includes any marks where fur would grow. However, Skinnies do have some hair on their noses and on their feet, but apart from these areas, they are completely hairless from birth.
What does a Skinny eat?
Skinnies are herbivores. This means that they eat plants. Like their hairy brothers, these pigs will be happy to eat only hay and greens. They are also coprotrophs of — eat their excrement.
However, you should be feeding them a daily vitamin C supplement, whether in tablets or liquids. This is because guinea pigs do not produce vitamin C on their own. Juveniles, however, need their mother’s milk for the first few days of their lives. If your skinny has been rejected by her mother, you will have to feed her by hand.
Use a teaspoon, not a syringe, because this way the little skinnies can choke. You can use either full-fat goat’s milk or make a milk formula. It is recommended to use half the water of half condensed milk. After a few days, they can start eating like adult skinnies.
The most common skinny food is hay. Skinny — very sensitive animals, and their diet consists mainly of vegetables and fruits. The diet should consist of foods rich in vitamin C. This is achieved, for example, by feeding a quarter of a whole pepper per day. Peppers can be red or green. Red bell peppers should not be given to skinny daily due to their high sugar content, so green bell peppers are an ideal substitute. To increase the amount of vitamin C, two to three cabbage leaves are recommended, which are given to the skinny twice a week. In addition, broccoli, basil, and mint can be fed to the skinny in several twigs on a weekly basis.
To increase your vitamin supply, the diet should include:
- parsley leaves;
- seedless grapes;
- citrus fruits;
- green beans;
Other foods that can be fed to skinnies are hay, oat grass, and pellets, which are high in vitamins and make a good addition to vegetables and fruits. However, there are some foods that should not be fed whole skinny. These are chocolate, meat, potatoes and dairy products.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
Like any other variety of guinea pig, the skinny is very social. They are happier when there is at least one other guinea pig in the company. These creatures will chat with each other and with you. You can happily keep skinnies with your hairy friends and it won’t affect their relationship in any way. But you will need to keep them under the same high level of care that hairless pigs require.
Fun Fact: Skinnies have teeth, so of course they bite sometimes. But they are generally safe pets and are rarely aggressive. Sometimes skinnies will bite you when they want to bite themselves. This may indicate the presence of ticks or fleas. If you are concerned about your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately for an examination. In other cases, however, if your skinny nibbles or bites while you hold her, she may need to come down to urinate.
Skinnies are fairly easy to tame. While they may be nervous at first, you shouldn’t worry too much about them. When you are consistently gentle with them, they will begin to trust you. Make sure you handle them with care and look after them like children. Once they feel secure, they become quite tame and are unlikely to bite or hurt anyone. Basically, they can be tamed just like any other guinea pig. Like other guinea pigs, skinnies need space to roam. Don’t buy trendy gym equipment. Instead, stick to letting them walk around in cages or go outside occasionally.
Skinny pigs are fairly easy to care for, but these pigs do have certain health issues. Since their skin is exposed, you’ll want to put sunscreen on your skinny if it’s going to be in direct sunlight for a long time. Skinnies also often develop dry skin, but you can apply baby scented lotion to the affected areas. These animals can also become infected with ticks, and if you notice ticks on your pig, you should immediately take them to the veterinarian. The skinny has a lifespan of 7 to 8 years.
Social Structure and Reproduction
The first skinnies were bred by scientists. When the hairless mutation was discovered, they decided it would be very beneficial to develop it. Naked guinea pigs could be used more conveniently for their study. They can avoid the stress of shaving and have quick access to their skin. But it was not easy.
The first breed bred was not healthy. In fact, they were indeed very sick. Apart from this, the scientists also found it difficult to get the females to conceive and could not successfully mate with each other. Most importantly, there were serious problems with their lifespan, as they were immunocompromised.
Unable to fight off normal infections, they died young, even if they went through the weaning stage. Scientists have had to work hard to bring these early skinnies to an adequate level of health. However, with careful breeding, they were able to create skinny skins as they are known today.
Breeding — one of the most exciting things to know about skinny. Breeding these guinea pigs must be done with care. The gene for hairlessness is recessive. This means that both parents must carry it in order to be able to pass it on to their children.
So, if you mate two Skinnies together, then all babies will be hairless. But if you breed a hairy guinea pig with no hairline, then the children can be hairy or hairless. Again, when you breed two hairy guinea pigs together that both carry this gene, there is a chance that the children will become hairless skinnies. However, most hairy guinea pigs do not carry this gene unless they are part of a skinny breeding program.
Interesting fact: There are several varieties of hairless guinea pigs, and not all of their genes are the same. For example, one species, Baldwin’s guinea pig, which is completely hairless, has its own hairlessness caused by a different gene. Thus a Baldwin crossed with a Skinny will produce hairy babies.
Skinny’s Natural Enemies
Skinnies have no natural enemies, as they are pets. Skinnies are more vulnerable to the elements and factors that lead to the deterioration of their health. They are sensitive to low and high temperatures. They should be placed in a room with normal room temperature. Proper feeding of the skinny and placing it in a room at a moderate temperature allows them to maintain a normal body temperature.
Due to their lack of hair, they are more vulnerable to injury, infection, and skin lacerations. Open-skinned skinnies should be handled with care as they are extremely vulnerable to injury and infection. Thus, as a necessary precaution, they should be stored indoors in a controlled environment. They should be taken out into the sunlight, but their playful and curious nature has to be watched from then on. They may end up hurting their delicate bodies.
The most significant difference between them is that skinnies must be kept indoors. Due to their lack of fur, they have trouble maintaining body heat when they are in cooler environments. They also don’t handle drafts well. Skinny bedding should be soft and free of sharp objects and surfaces. They are indeed sensitive, and any minor vulnerability they face should be fixed to ensure their overall safety.
Population and Species Status
Skinnies do not exist in the wild, so their population is difficult to estimate. There are several breeds of hairless skinny pigs, and skinny — just one of many breeds. However, the Skinny may be categorized as a guinea pig rather than a breed. Lack of wrinkles and flaps is not a sign of poor health in a skinny. A healthy skinny has some wrinkles on the legs and neck, but the skin is completely smooth all over.
The average age of a skinny is 4.5 years, but with proper care, it can live 5-6 years. Some people report that their skinnies live up to 7 years. Due to their lack of wool, skinnies must live in climates that are naturally warmer. Skinnies need to live indoors with lots of nesting materials such as huts and blankets to keep their body temperature up.
All skins are different. They come in different colors and hair. Some skinnies are 100% bald, but it’s not uncommon for them to have hair on their faces, feet, and legs. Very fine hair on the back can also be seen. Their colors can range from full black to full pink, to Dalmatian and tortoise shell. Hair comes in different colors such as black, red, white and brown.
Skinny breeding is different from normal animal breeding. Normal guinea pig and skinny will result in 100% hairy offspring that will be heterozygous. These heterozygous guinea pigs will have a recessive hairless skinny gene but will have hair. when breeding a heterozygous individual with hairless guinea pigs, 50% hairy and 50% hairless guinea pigs are obtained. Two hairless guinea pigs bred together will result in a 100% hairless skinny.
Skinny — this is a special category of guinea pigs that does not have hair. They are quickly becoming popular pets due to their outgoing, interactive nature. Skinnies are ideal for people with allergies due to the small amount of hair. They require minimal space and are relatively easy to care for.