Wonderful Companions

Larger than hamsters, but smaller than rabbits, guinea pigs can weigh a couple of pounds and generally live for five to seven years. The three most common breeds of guinea pig are the Smooth-Coated, with short, glossy fur; the Abyssinian, whose hair grows in fluffy tufts all over the body, and the Peruvian, with long, silky hair that flows to the ground.

Guinea pigs make wonderful companions. These docile members of the rodent family rarely bite and are known for squeaking with delight when their favorite humans enter the room. Guinea pigs are excellent starter pets for older children who have mastered proper handling techniques.

Guinea pigs are social animals that prefer to live in small groups. If you keep two or more females together, they will become great friends. If you want two males, it is smart to choose two babies from the same litter. Since guinea pigs, like all rodents, multiply rapidly, keeping males and females together is not recommended. Guinea pigs love to hide when they play, so be sure to place cardboard tubes and/or empty coffee cans with smoothed edges in the enclosure. Plastic pipes and flower pots are good, too, as well as bricks and rocks for climbing.

Unlike other animals, guinea pigs cannot manufacture Vitamin C, so you’ll need to ensure that your pets get enough of this essential nutrient every day. Commercial guinea pig pellets should make up the bulk of your pet’s diet.
Guinea pigs are very conscientious about grooming themselves, but brushing them on a regular basis will help keep their coat clean and remove any loose hairs. Long-haired guinea pigs should be brushed daily in order to prevent tangles and knots from forming.

Did you know that guinea pigs’ teeth grow continuously, just like those of other rodents? That’s why it is important that you provide yours with something to gnaw on at all times. Branches and twigs from untreated trees will work, as will any small piece of wood that hasn’t been treated with chemicals.

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