Guinea Pig Tails

Guinea pigs do not have external tails.

Knitted guinea pig on a lawn

I came across this curious fact of natural history when Querido commissioned me to knit a guinea pig for his mother, in honor of all the guinea pigs he’d had growing up. I agreed and began, giving it a little nubbiny tail and increasing for a rounded guinea backside. Querido caught the error before I’d gone too far, luckily, and informed me: guinea pigs do not have tails.

Considering he was the one who had owned all the guinea pigs, one would think I would thank him for informing me of this fact, rip back, and begin a guinea pig without a tail. But no. I am a librarian with a science background, and I wanted evidence.

We started with Wikipedia. No go– for all it lists genus & species, is no help when it comes to listing presence or absence of a tail (seven-year-olds of the world join me in shouting fail!). Instead it was Google that provided the natural history background: guinea pigs do have tail vertebrae, but by and large, no visible tails. Just to be absolutely sure, we then headed over to YouTube. I never had a guinea pig growing up, and scientific inquiry may have been set aside to exclaim “they’re so cute!!!”

Knitted guinea pig on a lawnSpecs:

Pattern: Sullivans International Toy Guinea Pigs
Needles: U.S. size 2
Yarn: Dalegarn Baby Ull, Ornaghi Filati Super Merino, Queensland Collection Super Aussie, Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight. Check out the change in color on the face: I ran out of my baby-weight Dalegarn just past the shoulders and had to switch to worsted Queensland Collection for the last 18 rounds. Augh.
Mods: This is a free pattern off a yarn company’s website, and like so many free patterns, the guinea pig needed some serious tweaking. I worked the entire body in the round, made the ears much, much smaller, and did teeny little i-cord feet. All my modifications are posted on the project’s Ravelry page if you’d like to check them out and add further improvements. Because I was doing pattern mods on a deadline, the shaping, particularly the face shaping, is less smooth than I’d like, and the proportions of the ears are a little off too. But, you will notice, it has no tail!

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