Have you ever seen a guinea pig? Or have you ever heard the oft-quoted phrase about guinea pigs or even said the quote yourself – it often means having something new tested on you. But we will have you know that the guinea pig does not have the slightest resemblance to the farm pig. There, now you know if you did not already know. Let us school you a little more. Pardon our arrogance, but keep reading.
The guinea pig is not a pig at all. Do you see the first picture below? That is the very famous pig. Indeed, they are rodents and not pigs. These rodents originated from the Andes mountains of Peru on the South American continent. It is believed that they got the pig in their name from the squeaking noise that reminded people of piglets. And ‘guinea’ possibly came about from the corruption of Guiana, a South American country, or because they thought the animals were sold for a guinea (an old English coin).
Not farm animals
Guinea pigs do not farm animals, not on the scale of pigs. They are mostly kept as pets in most Western countries, but they are also used as food especially in areas of the Andes. Guinea pigs are social animals that live in groups just like domestic pigs and live up to five years with a few exceptions living much longer.
Guinea pigs or domestic pigs, like humans, cannot naturally synthesise Vitamin C. however, the little mammals were extensively used for pharmacology research, laboratory research into infectious diseases, and to test vaccines among other scientific uses for many centuries with very reduced importance in contemporary medical research. Their place has been taken over by mice and rats but they were still able to make an appearance in space.
Scientifically referred to as Sus scrofa domesticus, the domestic pig originated from the wild boar over 9000 years ago, and just like the guinea pig, it is used for human medical research because they are biologically similar to humans.
Meat from the domestic pig, pork, is the most consumed in the world and it is believed that at any point in time there are over 1 billion pigs alive while about 1.5 billion of them are slaughtered annually. Hence pork is widely available – eaten on every continent and in almost every country with the exception of the middle east where cultural and religious dictates prohibit its consumption.
The domestic pig is considered one of the smartest animals ranked between the first and third along with the elephant and the dog. Pigs have a very powerful sense of smell greater than that of the dog. Pigs are omnivorous and eat a lot because their digestion of cellulose is inefficient thus their need to feed often. The animal can grow to weights of 400 kilograms or more.
Wild pigs can live between 5 and 20 years. Farm pigs are often kept for only about a year except for the ones retained as parent and grandparent stock which are usually kept for 3 to 5 years.
There are hundreds of pig breeds including Large white, Large black, Yorkshire, Hampshire, Duroc, Camborough, Vietnamese pot-bellied, Mangalica, Danish protest pig and so many more.
At Porkmoney Ranch, Lagos, we have what is West Africa’s biggest private pig farm. The ranch is home to thousands of pigs – boars, sows, gilts, and piglets of varying weights. In a short while, the pig population of the ranch would exceed 40, 000.
We also make lovely pork products like pork sausages and pork bacon at Porkoyum. You can check out great recipes for your pork dishes on our website.
Unfortunately, we won’t be showing you any guinea pigs on our site. But you can do a quick google search to find places where you can see or buy the cute little things. At Porkmoney and Porkoyum, our business is strictly pigs and pork.