Do Guinea Pigs Have Tails?

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You may have asked yourself whether or not our little furry friends come equipped with or without a tail.

When it comes to dogs, there are several breeds that are born without tails and even when it comes to breeds that are usually born with tails, you can expect to find some specimen that don’t have this tail due to the breeding and cropping practices.

Cavies come in different forms, shapes, and sizes. Rodents also often come with tails (think the long, elongated tail of a rat).

Tails serve a purpose in nature. But just as we humans lost our tails over the course of hundreds and thousands of years, other species never find themselves to need a tail.

Are there any guinea pig breeds that have a tail?

The answer is no, there is no guinea pig breed with a tail.

Not even your favorite Rex, Teddy, or Peruvian guinea pigs can have tails as nature seemingly didn’t deem them necessary to have a tail.

If they had tails, what use could a tail be to a guinea pig?

  1. Attack (also to defend or deter pests)
  2. Flight
  3. Courtship (tail feather of birds)
  4. Balance (cats, kangaroos)
  5. Locomotion
  6. Marking Territory
  7. Communication

Why Do Guinea Pigs Have No Tails?

Let’s the check the mentioned points for the practical use of tails and see what could apply to our guinea pigs.

We all know that guinea pigs don’t need to attack anything since they’re prey animals.

They do have to defend themselves though and why weren’t they equipped with tails then?

Rear end of a guinea pig with no tail visible.

Well, a tail might actually hinder guinea pigs during the escape from a potential predator.

If you’ve ever seen your little fellow piggy race across the room, you’ll have noticed that they’re well off without a tail when it comes to movement or balance.

Their body serves them well as long as they mainly stay on the ground instead of trees or something like similiar.

Some male and sometimes even female dogs definitely like to mark their territory.

While guinea pigs experience the world through scent too, marking or anything like that isn’t as strongly developed.

Have you ever wondered about tail wagging in dogs and if it could mean something other than their expression of happiness?

Sometimes dogs can also wag their tail to demonstrate that they’re nervous or they distribute their scent through tail wagging. If our pets are experiencing intimate moments, they do the opposite and block the scent from being distributed throughout the room.

Why do guinea pigs have no tails then? It’d be wonderful for owners to see their cavy expressing a happy mood.

Guinea pigs don’t need tails to do this since they prefer to express their mood through sound instead.

Sounds can range from chirping to cooing and can often be a sign of either distress and sickness or happy guinea pig sounds.

The History of the Guinea Pig’s Tail

Guinea pigs are bred since 5000 BC where they were domesticated for the first time in South America, particularly the Andes and used as a food source.

The ancestor of the modern guinea pig is believed to be the Cavia cutleri (Montane guinea pig) which is a medium sized caviid rodent that has a rounded back and no tail.

There are actually four more nondomestic Cavia that are also called guinea pigs: the greater guinea pig (C. magna), the Moleques do Sul guinea pig (C. intermedia), Brazilian guinea pig (C. aperea), the shiny guinea pig (C. fulgida).

One or several of those could also possibly be ancestors of our modern guinea pigs.

Do Guinea Pigs Have a Tailbone?

Guinea pigs have 258 bones and there actually 7 tailbones. However, the guinea pig’s tailbones aren’t protruding from their rear end and are thus not really called “tails”.

They’re not even referred to as a nub or something in that fashion.

This tailbone can be covered by seemingly stiff hair or the long coat of Peruvian guinea pigs which can make them look like they have tails, even when they don’t.

Regular grooming should clarify your pet’s status if you’re unsure and it’s recommended to check their coat for any dirt or smudges on the rear and to bathe your piggy if necessary.

You don’t have to worry if your furry friend doesn’t have a tail and you can instead focus on feeding them the perfect diet and keeping them as healthy as possible with enrichment toys and bonding time.

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