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Albino Guinea Pig: 10 Surprising Facts About White Cavies

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: February 21, 2022

An albino guinea pig is an adorable and very rare little being.

Guinea pigs have a variety in terms of coat colors, one of which is called Albino.

A white guinea pig sometimes comes with patches of black on the nose, ears, and feet.

Contrary to what some people may think, albino is not a breed of guinea pigs.

It is a condition that has something to do with melanin pigmentation.

There are proper ways and guides that explain how to take care of these adorable creatures.

What is an Albino Guinea Pig?

An albino guinea pig is a small animal that has been born without the ability to produce melanin.

Because of this genetic mutation, a white guinea pig lacks color in its hair and skin.

They have no color present, leaving them completely white.

Also, an albino guinea pig’s hair often has a yellow tinge to it, which is because their lack of melanin causes them to produce pheomelanin instead.

Because its irises aren’t catching reflected light, the albino guinea pig has pink eyes — they’re translucent, so you can see through them!

Actually, white guinea pigs are born with pigmented eyes, but, in albinos, the melanin dissipates over time until their eyes turn pink.

The main problem with albinism is that it often comes along with other health issues.

Many albino guinea pigs have hair loss, as well as vision problems or a compromised immune system.

Albino guinea pigs usually suffer from some sort of health issue, including hair loss and bad eyesight.

A white guinea pig might be very rare, but it makes a sweet pet.

10 Surprising Facts About White Guinea Pigs

Let’s go ahead and get into 10 interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about albino guinea pigs.

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Last update on 2022-11-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Albino Guinea Pig Is Extremely Rare

They are very rare to the extent that their existence is questioned.

There are various debates about real albino guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs are often seen in more common colors such as black, cream, chocolate, red, golden, white, lilac, beige, and slate or a mix of any of these colors.

 Albino guinea pig has plain white fur.

Because of its distinct color,  a white guinea pig has limited capabilities to hide and it is visible to many bigger animals that perceive it as prey.

Albino guinea pig stands out from the rest, making them very appealing to poachers worldwide.

It is common for us to look for something extraordinary, isn’t it?

  • They are special in their own, little way
  • No need to walk them
  • They do not make loud noises or require much space
  • No complaints from neighbors
  • With these small animals, every day is a learning experience
  • No need to worry about random things going missing or destroyed

2. Albino Guinea Pig Has A Limited Lifespan

Compared to non-albino guinea pigs with an average lifespan of 4-8 years, albinos often live shorter, for about three years.

The main reasons for their short life span are congenital deformities.

They are often born blind, in one or both eyes, and are also more prone to hearing loss.

Albino guinea pig is a fragile animal that requires care and attention.

A frequent check with the vet is needed to maximize their lifespan and ensure they do not suffer a lot.

Pneumonia or inflammation of the lungs is one of the main causes of their demise.

I know what you’re thinking, I did say that they require low maintenance.

That is if compared to having the usual pets much bigger than their size, make sense?

Keep your albino guinea pig’s cage clean

One of a few controllable ways a pet owner can do is to keep the albino guinea pigs’ surrounding tidy.

An unclean cage is likely to cause a bacterial infection.

A dirty environment can also create mental and physical health problems to albino guinea pigs.

Keep food always available

Fresh, organic vegetables and some fruits are ideal food for them to ensure they get proper nutrients.

These include:

  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots and carrot tops
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes (not the stems or leaves)
  • Green and red bell peppers
  • Other dark green veggies

If you’d buy vegetables sold commercially, note that proper washing is needed.

It is expected that vegetables and fruits sold in supermarkets have been exposed to pesticides and other chemicals that will be harmful to guinea pigs when ingested.

You should never serve cold fruit to your guinea pig.

Be very mindful of plastic or papers that may have stuck into food.

If all else fails, the ever-reliable commercial guinea pig food is available in pet stores.

These are specially formulated to provide balanced nutrition to your pets.

They have the ideal dosage of Vitamin C and other essential nutrients.

Remember to choose pelleted food that has been veterinarian-tested and approved.

See to it that the feeding instructions on the packaging are followed as a guide.

Just like any other guinea pig, an albino guinea pig needs to have access to an adequate amount of clean water.

They would normally consume between 80-100 ml of water daily. Pregnant guinea pigs require more.

Inverted glass water bottles are recommended to avoid chewing and spilling their contents.

3. Albino Guinea Pig Will Mark the Surroundings

Albino guinea pigs tend to familiarize themselves with secretions of the anal glands and urine.

This explains seeing your white guinea pig urinating in different spots of their cage or rubbing his bottom across the bedding of his territory.

By doing so, it enables the guinea pig to spread his scent within his boundaries.

Arguably, some pet owners would advise not to clean their cage completely as it will remove the scented marks they placed and that it may cause the pigs to be rattled.

One of the recommendations is to selectively clean the soiled spots to maintain their scent, and for the white guinea pig to perceive the cleaning process as a minor adjustment.

This is something to be mindful of when you decide to add more guinea pigs to a common cage.

Since their habitat will be shared, it is ideal to remove the existing odors so that the pigs will feel that they are entering a new cage rather than having someone intrude on their territory.

As mentioned earlier, most albino guinea pigs are born either blind, deaf, or both.

Thus, they rely on their extremely high sense of smell for survival, self-preservation, and their defense, when needed.

4. Albino Guinea Pig Bites When Threatened Or Stressed

Yes, even these cuties aren’t spared from stress, usually caused by noise, bigger animals around them, and too much movement.

Please note that you can’t expect guinea pigs to behave when they are beside your cats or dogs or when kids are running free, playing around.

Try to put yourself into their shoes, at that size, won’t you feel the same way?

I wish I can just bite someone when I’m stressed, right?

You have to be very careful when petting them.

Bear in mind to hold them with caution.

Their fragile bodies can easily be hurt if you squeeze too hard.

You may start with occasional and light rubbing on their coat.

From there, you may advance to feeding them onto your palm once they get used to it.

Please take note that children need to be supervised while petting these small animals, to ensure that the albino guinea pigs are not accidentally hurt or the other way around.

Remember, that guinea pigs are at low risk of carrying rabies but they still can transmit other diseases.

Ways to alleviate stress in albino guinea pigs’ environment

  • Ensure that your guinea pig’s cage is big enough
  • Allow your guinea pigs to slowly adjust to a new environment
  • Make any new food changes slowly
  • Give your guinea pig a friend
  • Talk to your guinea pigs in a soothing voice
  • Let your piggies rest for a bit after handling them
  • Keep a normal care routine
  • Minimize loud noises and sudden movements

5. Albino Guinea Pig Is Susceptible to Illness

Corneal and gastric ulcers are common among white guinea pigs.

The eyes of a white guinea pig can easily be irritated by hay, their bedding, or from quarreling with their peers.

This is another reason why some owners are reluctant to have multiple guinea pigs in one cage, especially with both male pigs.

It has been observed that male guinea pigs would tend to establish dominance among each other when they live together.

Though there are instances of some pigs being quite sociable, living with their peers helps them overcome loneliness.

A guinea pig suffering from a corneal ulcer tends to stop eating.

This can be treated by a special prescription of eye ointment by visiting an exotics vet.

Another common disease of your pet is a gastric ulcer.

They have a sensitive gastrointestinal tract like rabbits.

It is necessary to clean the cage regularly.

They defecate and urinate almost everywhere which can lead to contamination of their food that would result in gastrointestinal infections.

These vulnerabilities are the same reason why they’re used for testing anti-ulcer medications.

Guinea pigs in general are known to have respiratory tract infections.

They are prone to stomach upsets and bladder stones.

Vitamin C deficiency is a common enemy as they have limited ability to absorb nutrients.

Skin problems including parasites, scurvy, fungal infections, barbering, and abscesses are also known issues.

6. Albino Guinea Pigs Are Closely Related To Chinchillas And Porcupines

Although they appear to resemble mice, guinea pigs are scientifically from the family of chinchillas and porcupines.

This explains their crepuscular nature.

Albino guinea pigs are very active at dawn or dusk to feed, groom, or explore their cage.

Another trait a white guinea pig may have inherited from chinchillas is its inclination to burrow in underground tunnels or to nestle in rock crevasses.

Both creatures are also very sensitive to sound.

7. Kissing an Albino Guinea Pig May Cause Severe Diarrhea

If you feel tempted to kiss your guinea pigs, with the hope that they would transform into a Prince Charming or whatnot – don’t.

Even giving them a mere nuzzle is not advisable.

I know that expressing one’s affection is important but just drop the kissing part.

Keep Your Hands Off

There is a recorded case of individuals getting Salmonella enteritidis after coming in contact with their pet guinea pigs.

So keep your hands off or should I say lips and nose off from them?

Observe pet distancing (at some point or at least set limitations).

8. Albino Guinea Pig Misses Its Owners

They are sociable and they look forward to seeing their owners.

They develop a sense of familiarity through their sense of smell.

They recognize your scent and they’d be approaching you especially if you routinely give them treats.

Albino guinea pigs get emotionally attached to their owners and create a bond over time.

One common manifestation of this is when their body vibrate when you pet them.

Keep this in mind, especially if you are an outgoing person, a frequent traveler, or an employee tied to a daily work shift.

 

9. Albino Guinea Pigs Have the Same Placental Structure as Humans

They are often used for biomedical research because they have a similar gestation period as humans.

This refers to the time between conception and birth.

It is the period where a fetus grows and develops in the womb of a mammal.

Albino guinea pigs’ gestation period of 59-72 days can be equated to a trimester of human pregnancy.

They too can develop pregnancy toxemia which is characterized by an abrupt, sharp rise in blood pressure.

Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are.

10. Albino Guinea Pigs Are Often Used For Testing

Guinea pigs in general are one of the most commonly used laboratory animals in research.

Toxicology is the scientific study of adverse effects that occur in living organisms due to chemicals.

It intends to test the irritant properties of chemicals.

Companies are mandated to have their products tested before they become available in the market.

Guarantees need to be secured that they’re safe to use and aren’t poisonous to humans.

A lot of products we use have gone through these tests, lotion, moisturizers, deodorant, perfume, soaps, and a vast variety of items relating to skincare and beauty regimens.

Unfortunately, guinea pigs’ lives are at stake to keep humans safe.

The prolific use of their kind in scientific experimentation has been globally accepted since the 17th century.

This is where the term guinea pig originates to describe an experimental subject.

Their susceptibility to infections and the similarity of their physiological and immune system to those of humans has made them ideal models for infectious diseases studies.

Guinea pigs were used to discover that tuberculosis is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Nowadays, a lot of animal welfare advocates and groups combat these practices.

They exert valuable efforts for guinea pigs to be rescued and rehomed.

A Lot To Consider

One can develop a genuine friendship with guinea pigs, just like with other animals.

They can’t hurt you (well, except when you threaten them) and their lives depend on how well you’ll take care of them.

I am a fan of Mason Cavies. I watch their videos frequently online.

The joy of seeing those innocent eyes and their cute, fluffy bodies moving around is priceless.

Mark and Sophie Mason have a herd of over 70 guinea pigs of all sizes, colors, and shapes.

They all look healthy and happy.

They give them ample space and they even give them simple training like where to go and what to do when it’s feeding time.

This is proof that guinea pigs can live blissfully if their stewards are dedicated and committed to their pets.

Let’s face it, whether you choose to have a dog, a chicken, a tarantula, or a bird, there will always be advantages and disadvantages.

When you decide to grow some plants, you need to water them, see to it that they get enough sunlight and you have to spray them with pesticides from time to time.

When you decide to buy a house, you have chores that come along with it.

It’s not going to clean itself, is it?

When getting a car, you have to learn how to drive, be ready for the costs and maintenance work entailed.

You have to know and embrace these before deciding to keep one.

Readiness, preparation, and introspection are key.

A wide selection of information is available online, do your research diligently before making that vital decision rather than regretting it later.

You should look forward not just to the pleasant days but also to the challenges and mishaps.

At the end of the day, these innocent animals did not choose you, you chose them.

What is the rarest guinea pig color?

The rarest color of guinea pig is probably fawn.

Fawn is a dilution gene that results in the reduction of phaeomelanin production, which gives red pigment.

The result is brownish hair instead.

Asia has developed several breeds with this characteristic, but it’s difficult to find them in Europe or North America.

In addition, there are no commercial breeders in this color.

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Last update on 2022-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Thoughts

Albino guinea pigs are harmless, adorable, and vulnerable.

They may be tiny but they can surely bring an incomparable sense of joy and comfort.

Similar to keeping any pet, you should be ready for the responsibilities that come along with it.

They deserve to be cared for in their limited lifespan.

They deserve the best environment that they can have.

They are special in their unique way and if you opt to get one (or more), see to it that you protect them in the best possible way you can.

Author

Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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Check out these most popular guinea pig products on the market:

Last update on 2022-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API