Everything You Didn’t Know About Guinea Pigs
You know their twitchy tiny noses are as cute as a button, but you aren’t quite sure exactly what they ARE. Where do they come from? All you know is your kids are begging you to get one because so and so at school has one and it’s all they can talk about.
We’re referring to the guinea pig– who is not actually a pig at all.
So, what is a guinea pig?
Guinea pigs actually belong to the rodent family, so they are closer cousins to the rat, mouse, chinchilla, etc. than they would be to any type of pig. Oh, and they’re also not from Guinea! They originally come from various regions of South America, not Africa. They are also known as a “cavy” if you want to abandon the more commonly known name that speaks to neither the place of origin nor species. There are over 20 different breeds of guinea pigs, and they all make wonderful family pets.
Here are a few reasons you might consider a guinea pig as your family pet:
- They have a lifespan of 8-10 years with proper care and barring any injury or illness. They are a long-term commitment! Your guinea pig will become part of your family, but with less maintenance than say a dog, for example.
- They are social animals! This isn’t the type of pet you don’t interact much with. In fact, guinea pigs enjoy daily time outside of their habitats to socialize and exercise. Some will even enjoy a good brushing, depending on their individual personality.
- Ever heard of “popcorning”? If you haven’t, it may be enough to sell you on the idea of adding a guinea pig to your family. It refers to an adorable hopping dance they do when they’re excited. If you want a pet who gets excited when you arrive home, a guinea pig may be the one!
How can you care for your guinea pig?
- What do they eat? They are not meat eaters, so no filet necessary. Guinea pigs are herbivores. Their diet includeincludes pellet food designed for them, as well as a mix of some fruits and vegetables as a special treat.
- What do they need in their habitat? Line their habitat with grass hay, and secure a spot for fresh food and water. Guinea pigs like to have somewhere to hide. Give them a cozy hideaway spot for their naps and they’ll be happy. They like to chew wood, so provide wood chews made for them, and they are social and fun, so don’t skimp on the toys!
- What other upkeep do they require? Guinea pigs should be checked out by a veterinarian, just like any other pet, so you’ll want to find a small animal doctor who is comfortable handling guinea pigs (and can clip their nails!). Otherwise, daily exercise, attention, and keeping their habitat clean are the only things your guinea pig will need.
Have we sold you yet? Guinea pigs make lovely companions and become a big part of the families who welcome them. They are a top-notch choice for anyone looking for a miniature squeaky friend.