Common Name:guinea-pig-338170_640
Guinea Pig
 
Scientific Name:
Cavia porcellus
 
Life Span:
About 3 – 6 years
 
Size:
8 – 14″ (20 – 36cm)
 
Diet:
Guinea pig mixes from a local pet store can be a good place to start, but beware that guinea pigs will pick and choose what they like out of the mix and may not get all of the nutrition they need. Guinea pigs also need to have good balance of fruits and vegetables, but not too much otherwise they end up with diarrhea. Try to feed three vegetable servings a day in addition to some type of leafy green. It is suggested to add a bit of vitamin C supplement to their drinking water. See our Guinea Pig Dietary Needs post for what you can and can not feed your guinea pig.
 
Temperament:
Guinea pigs are a popular small pet due to their docile and gentle temperaments. They rarely bite or scratch and are relatively clean animals.

Guinea pigs make a lot of vocalized noises, but they each have a meaning behind them. A “wheek” is a loud noise, also known as a whistle, that shows that they are excited. They mainly make this noise when they see their owner or if they are about to be fed. They may also do this if they are lost and need help. “Bubbling” or “purring” is made when the guinea pig is enjoying itself, like when they are being pet, held, groomed, or investigating a new place. They may “rumble” if they are asserting their dominance, similar to chattering, which shows a sign of warning. A guinea pig will squeal or shriek if they are in pain or danger. These are just a few of the noises that guinea pigs make that should be known so the owner will be aware.
 
Guinea pigs love to play so if possible they need to have some tubes or cardboard boxes, anything that they can climb into and play in without getting hurt or stuck. Guinea pigs also like to chew, so when they are let out they need to be watched closely for chewing on wires or your clothes, or even your homework! They are very good at grooming themselves, but being brushed daily will help keep their coat clean and prevent tangles or knots from forming (and they typically enjoy it).

Guinea pigs are very social animals and they should have a playmate, preferably the same sex. If two males are chosen it is best they are young, and from the same litter otherwise they could be territorial.
 
Cage & Bedding:
Guinea pigs need at minimum of four square feet of cage per guinea pig. Wire floors irritate the guinea pigs feet so they need to have solid floors that are cleaned often. Guinea pigs should not be kept in tanks or aquariums because they don’t provide good ventilation. Be sure the cage is away from drafts or extreme temperatures. The preferred temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of the cage with a guinea pig friendly bedding such as Yesterday’s News or Carefresh, no pine or cedar.
 
Clean Up:
Their solid bedding, droppings, and stale food need to be cleaned daily. Their entire cage needs to be cleaned weekly, which consists of adding fresh bedding after you scrub the entire cage. Be sure that the soap rinsed well from the cage and the cage is dry before the guinea pig gets placed back into the cage. Be sure to wash dishes and toys regularly as well.
 

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