The Greatness of Guinea Pigs

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

The Greatness of Guinea Pigs

January 19, 2016

Of all the possible pets you can have, guinea pigs are among the furriest and funniest. So our friend Katherine T. asked, how many guinea pigs are there in the world? (with an awesome drawing to show us one!) As we’ve seen at Bedtime Math, even dogs don’t have one nice neat list somewhere, and it’s even trickier to count up guinea pigs. But we found some numbers. There were 1,362,000 pet guinea pigs in America back in 2007 (that’s more than a million), and another 1 million in England in 2012. There were also 30 million “small mammal pets” in all of Europe in 2010, but that could include mice, hamsters, gerbils…If about 1/10 of those were actually guinea pigs, that would give us another 3 million. We think it’s safe to say there are around 5 million guinea pigs in total. The thing is, if you’re going to have a pet guinea pig, it’s best to have at least two: they’re much happier and healthier if they have a friend. So how many houses out there have one?

Wee ones: If you just got your 3rd pet guinea pig, how many did you have before that?

Little kids: If 3 houses on your street have 2 guinea pigs each, and another 3 houses have just 1 each, how many guinea pigs live on your street?  Bonus: How many more guinea pigs have a buddy than those who don’t?

Big kids: How many furry feet do 5,000,000 guinea pigs have?  Bonus: Guinea pigs love carrots. If starting on a Sunday you give your guinea pigs carrots every 3rd day, how many times have you given them carrots when they first eat them on a Tuesday?

The sky’s the limit: If 5,000,000 pet guinea pigs live in pairs, how many households have guinea pigs?




Wee ones: 2 guinea pigs.

Little kids: 9 guinea pigs.  Bonus: 3 more, since 6 have friends and 3 don’t.

Big kids: 20,000,000 feet.  Bonus: On the 4th time (Sun, Weds, Sat, Tues).

The sky’s the limit: 2,500,000 (2 million, 500 thousand).

And thank you again Katherine for the question and the guineapigalicious artwork!

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking while still in diapers, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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