A quick overview of all you need to know about cavies.
Quick Guinea Pig Facts:
- Lifespan: 4–6 years
- Also called: Cavies
- Weight: 1.5–2.5lbs
- Related to: Rodents
- Originated from: South America
- Personality traits: Docile, gentle, cheerful, harmless
Guinea pigs love to eat! They should always have fresh timothy hay available to munch on, as well as clean water in a ceramic bowl they can’t tip over. Guinea pigs should be fed pellets daily, as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as grapes, corn, cucumber, carrot, apple, kale, red and green peppers, and strawberries. Foods with vitamin C are especially important since guinea pigs cannot synthesize it on their own. Remove uneaten food from the cage daily.
Treat your guinea pigs to the largest cage you possibly can, especially if you have more than one. Avoid cages with untreated metal bottoms, which can hurt their feet. You can easily build your own custom cage: find instructions at guineapigcages.com/cubes. Cavies (like their name suggests) should live indoors so they are protected from the elements and predators.
To clean your furry friend’s home, please stick to mild soap and water
Many guinea pigs enjoy being brushed. Brushing helps remove loose fur so they don’t ingest it when they groom themselves. Brush them at least once a week. Do not bathe your guinea pig unless you absolutely have to. Be very careful that you don’t cut your pet’s claws too short. To be safe, have your veterinarian show you how to do it the first time.
Ideally, your guinea pigs’ cage is large enough that they can run around and play with each other throughout the day. These little guys don’t need exorbitant amounts of exercise, but they will surely enjoy being allowed to explore a room in your house for a short time while you supervise them.
Guinea pigs are social creates that like the companionship of other animals, especially other guinea pigs. Enthusiasts recommend matching two females together or a female with a neutered male. Two males might accept each other if they were raised together.
- As a prey species, they typically do not enjoy being picked up. Plus, they can be seriously injured if they are dropped, so children must be supervised when handling them.
- Guinea pigs make a number of vocal sounds, including a “wheek! wheek!” sound when they are excited.
- Guinea pigs enjoy sitting on your lap for hours having their backs scratched, or just hanging out!
- These guys also do a jump, commonly referred to as “popcorn-ing” when they are content. Click here to watch the popcorn in action!