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So you want to get a Guinea pig

by Lavinia Guadalupe about a year ago in guinea pig
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"owning and responsibility"

So you want to get a Guinea pig
Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

Guinea pigs also known as Cavia Porcellus are rambunctious little creatures. With their squeaks,squeals, and purring whats not to love about them. Yes, with all this cuteness you’d assume they are simple animals to take care of. They are not, as amazing as they are you should really do all the research that you can over them. I have two of these energetic little guys right now and they keep me on my toes.

Where did they come from?

They are not from Guinea and are not actual pigs. Guinea pigs are native to the continent of South America. It has been said that the early Inca tribe domesticated them and kept them as pets over 3,000 years ago. Along side with having them as food and used for sacrificial uses. That means that these cute and cuddly creatures have been around for a very long time.

Where did the name come from?

How they got their name or why they are called this isn’t really known. There are rumors of course about how the name originated. One of which is some historians speculate that the roasted meat reminded Europeans of suckling pigs. Now I don’t like that reason as much as the next guy, but the vast majority all leads to food. As well as what they reminded people of when eating them. In different parts of the world they aren’t always known as Guinea pigs. In Germany, they have been called meerschweinchen (little sea pigs). One of my favorites is in France they call them lapins de Barbarie(Barbary rabbits).

What are the basics with Guinea pigs?

Guinea pigs are categorized as tailless rodents. They can live for four or eight solid years, if yours lives longer then that awesome! Not all Guinea pigs are the same, so keep that in mind when you have your own. Male Guinea pigs are called boars and female Guinea pigs are called sows. An average gestation period can be 59-72 days. Having up to three to four pups. Once in a while you might get lucky and have a littler up to thirteen pups! When researching Guinea pigs it will explain that it is a social creature. When going to purchase a Guinea pigs be ready to get two. These little guys do not and I repeat DO NOT like living alone. They will get depressed, if you don’t feel like you can afford two then it’s best you don’t get any.

What kinds of Guinea pigs are there?

There are thirteen commonly recognized breeds. Each of which have their own list of care needs. Make sure that the one you choose you are more then capable taking care of and of course love.

1.Abyssinian

2.Alpaca

3.American

4.Baldwin

5.Coronet

6.Himalayan

7.Lunkarya

8.Merino

9.Peruvian

10.Rex

11.Sheba

12.Silkie

13.Skinny

What’s their diet and when should you feed them?

Guinea pigs are herbivores, and like a lot of herbivores they eat A LOT. When choosing food for your furry little friends you need to keep in mind two very important things.

Vitamin C: Your Guinea pigs can’t formulate Vitamin C on their own. This makes them vulnerable to getting illnesses like for example scurvy.

They have constant growing teeth: like most rodents in the rodent family they teeth don’t stop growing. So it’s your job as a awesome owner to supply food that’ll help keep her teeth from getting to long.

It’s important to remember that just like a dog or cat you shouldn’t change your Guinea pigs diet so fast. This can cause GI upset. Resulting in a unhappy Guinea pig. If you should see your Guinea pig eating it’s poop don’t get worried. It’s actually a good thing for them to eat it.(Just to make it seem more normal, Rabbits do it as well). Guinea pigs actually produce two different types of feces. One is soft and nutritious, and the guinea pigs re-ingest this to get more nutrients. The other kind is hard it’s produced after the food has been digested twice.

Guinea pigs are graze eaters they eat all day long sporadically. They graze on hay, fruits, and veggies all day. That means it’s important to keep fresh hay available constantly. Foods that are toxic for your Guinea pigs and what you should always avoid are Avocados,Chives,Coconuts,Garlic,Grapes,Onions, and Raisins.

TIP:It’s also a good thing to dump out your guinea pig’s food and water every day, clean the bowls, and fill them with fresh food and water.

What habitat is suitable for them as pets?

When doing research for these energetic Little guys you’ll read over and over how they need a lot of space. It’s not an overstatement trust me. Most cages marketed for guinea pigs are way too small. Guinea pigs need appropriate room to roam and separate spaces for a nest, bathroom area and food and water. While small animal cages often utilize vertical space to increase living area and encourage climbing, digging and burrowing, guinea pigs rely on floor space. Ramps and platforms at low heights provide variety, but guinea pigs need room to exercise, even with daily playtime outside of the cage. Bedding is essential to a Guinea pig also a place to hide. A box can become many things to a Guinea pig a place to sleep,hide, and even get warm. You can also tear it into small pieces and use it as bedding. When you finish setting up their habitat or cleaning it, I can assure you they will “mess it up” and make it to their specifications. I’ve seen my Guinea pigs nudge they're little hut around to get in the right spot. It may take a couple of minutes sometimes even hours for them to get it the way they like. So don’t get offended if they do this, they don’t mean any harm from it.

I hope by reading this that you were able to clear up whether you wanted some Guinea pigs in your life and apart of your family. They are the perfect cuddle buddies that will love you endlessly and play constantly with you.

Word bank :

GI upset-Gastrointestinal upset

Gestation

-the process of carrying or being carried in the womb between conception and birth.

-the development of something over a period of time.

Herbivore-an animal that feeds on plants.

guinea pig

About the author

Lavinia Guadalupe

I am a published poet four times over in Topeka Kansas. I rarely write happy sounding poems or stories. Most of what I write is personal in a way, or somewhat controversial. Nothing I write is meant to offend anyone. Please read and enjoy!

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