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'Skinny Pigs' Are Hairless Guinea Pigs That Look Like Pocket-Sized Hippos

Caitlyn Clancey

Do you guys remember that commercial that aired on TV years ago that was basically a PSA about not believing everything you see on TV?

Come on, you remember. It was set up like a nature documentary about the elusive "North American House Hippo," and we all instantly fell in love with the idea of actually having a mini hippo running around our kitchens at night?

I certainly remember, and I also remember totally missing the point of the commercial because I thought house hippos were the real deal.

YouTube | Dylan -D Barenzu- Barnes

Yup, an ad meant to remind us that TV isn't always honest had me convinced there was a tiny hippo hiding in my house somewhere.

I'm pretty sure I even started actively looking for miniature hippos around my house, fully believing that if I stared at the kitchen floor long enough, I'd see one and (fingers crossed) maybe even catch one!

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Of course, I eventually reached a point of maturity where I realized there was sadly no such thing as house hippos.

Giphy | The Late Late Show with James Corden

I added them to the list of other hard pills I had to swallow as a kid (no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy), and I moved on with my life.

But if you also resigned yourself to a sad, boring world without house hippos, I have excellent news for you: they actually exist!

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Okay, technically they're hairless guinea pigs, not hippos, but take one look at these guys and tell me they aren't just pocket-sized hippos.

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Known as "Skinny Pigs", this particular breed of guinea pig is naturally hairless, save for a few whiskers on their muzzles, feet, and legs, and is the result of cross-breeding done in 1978.

Back then, scientists bred a hairless guinea pig with one of their hairless lab strains and bam — this adorably bizarre hippo-looking rodent was born!

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Over the years, Skinny Pigs have been gaining popularity as house pets in Europe and North America.

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Although they may look super different from those furry guinea pigs you're used to seeing, these silky cuties aren't actually all that different from their hairless counterparts.

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They're outgoing, they're sociable, and they're cute as heck.

Instagram | @piggypolice

The only real difference is that these guys need to eat more to maintain their body temperature, and should always have proper access to cozy blankets so they can warm themselves up.

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They are also pretty sensitive to sunlight, on account of the whole "no hair" thing.

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So owners should always apply sunblock to their little piggy's skin if they're going to be spending a lot of time in direct sunlight. Oh, and they're prone to dry skin, but frequent application of lotion will take care of that easily!

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Honestly, I just can't get over how gosh-darn cute these little weirdos are.

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No, they're not actual house hippos, and no, you won't find them snacking on their favorite foods (i.e.: "chips, raisins, and the crumbs from peanut butter on toast").

But they're still positively adorable and are probably the closest we'll ever get to actually owning our very own house hippo. For now, anyway.

h/t: Wide Open Pets, Facebook | Awkward Animals

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