COAL VALLEY, Ill. — The Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley has added nearly four dozen female guinea pigs to its Animal Encounters exhibit.
The zoo's 46 newest residents, referred to as the Golden Girls All-Star Guinea Pig Herd, are slowly acclimating to their new environment and are "doing really well" at learning to travel via a small tunnel from their indoor home to their outdoor patio area, according to a Facebook post.
These talkative little piggies aren't actually pigs at all. They're rodents, sometimes called cavies, that originate in various regions of South America, according to the San Diego Zoo. Depending on their species, they can range anywhere from 8-16 inches long and weigh between 1-3 pounds.
Domesticated guinea pigs, the ones commonly kept as pets, love to chomp on leaves, grasses and fruits, and they are known for their stout bodies, large heads with tiny ears and short tails.
Many Niabi guests have already gotten the chance to help the herd practice feeding opportunities in the last few weeks, according to the zoo.
Niabi said it would share more information about the guinea pigs as they progress and practice traveling indoors and outdoors.