When Gayla Peevey sang about wanting a hippopotamus for Christmas, she may have sounded insane—but not anymore. "House hippos," "skinny pigs," or as they're more commonly known, hairless guinea pigs, are the best way to get your hippopotamus fix just in the time for the holidays.
This unique breed of guinea pig does not grow hair on its body. It comes in several colors and patterns. There sometimes can be a bit of fur on their feet, legs, and muzzles.
People had questions. One person commented, "Don't they get cold? How can you cuddle them? Where do you buy them? Are they hard to keep up as far as their cage? Do they bite? How long do they live? Do cats and dogs get along with them? Can they roll in those balls like the other hamsters?"
Some wanted to know if guinea pigs smelled better or worse without hair. "Nope," said Brittany Parlipiano Powell, the proud owner of Lexi the house hippo. "Although they are not smelly animals to begin with."
"I like having him because he's just so darn cute and he's the closest I'll ever get to having an actual hippo," said Christine Anthony, whose house hippo, Handsome Hagrid, has brought her tremendous joy. "He even has his own room where he is surrounded by a lot of my hippo collection, even though there are hippos in almost every room of my house."
House hippos must be kept indoors due to their lack of fur. If they do go outside, they are required to wear sunscreen.