'Rat-a-tat! Happy Year of the Rat!' says the guinea pig
Updated 17:41, 29-Jan-2020
By Xu Chenlu

When you first hear the name "guinea pig", you will probably imagine a pig that comes from Guinea. As a matter of fact, the guinea pig is not a pig nor a species that comes from Guinea. It is a rodent species from South America, with a robust body and short limbs, large eyes and short ears. This adorable appearance makes it one of the most popular pets worldwide.

To learn more about this cute little creature, here are some interesting facts.

1. It is not related to the pig at all.

Do not be fooled by the guinea pig's name and the way of calling males as boars and females as sows, this species is not related to the pig at all. The reason it is called by "pig" is probably because of the pig-like squeaking noise it makes.

2. Guinea pigs like to be social.

Guinea pigs are usually kept in pairs or small groups as they need to communicate. They will make different noises for the communication so they can let others know if they are feeling excited, chilling out or hoping to explore an area.

3. It can dance!

Please do not think that the guinea pig can dance like humans as this is impossible, but it truly has its own way of dancing. When a guinea pig feels very excited, it can jump straight up and down and also turn its little body 90 degrees in mid-air.

Though the guinea pig is popular, this species does not have any natural population in the wild now since it was domesticated more than 3,000 years ago.

Rat-a-tat! Happy Rat Year

In Chinese, both rats and mice are called "shu." In fact, the Chinese word "鼠" refers to almost all rodents, from squirrels and moles to chipmunks and chinchillas. 

Here are all seven species from the rodent family to wish everybody a happy Chinese New Year.