Guinea Pig: A Popular Pet With A Sweet Temperament

Guinea Pig: A Popular Pet

Guinea Pig is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae. It is also known as the “Domestic Guinea Pig”, “Cavy”, or “Domestic Cavy”. The name “Guinea Pig” will lead you to think that these are pigs native to Guinea, but neither they are native to Guinea nor they are closely related to pigs. The origin of their name is still unclear, but undoubtedly Guinea Pigs are cute and charming creatures. They have been renowned for their sweet temperament, distinctive appearance, and sociable personality. 

Let’s learn more about Guinea Pigs, their characteristics, and why they make wonderful pets. 

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Appearance and physical traits of Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pig: A Popular Pet

Guinea Pigs are large rodents with round fluffy bodies and short legs. They typically weigh between 700 to 1200 g when fully grown but some specific livestock breeds can also grow up to 3 kilograms. Their size varies from 8 to 10 cm in length. One of the most distinctive features is their short and stocky neck which supports their broad head. Their bodies are covered with furs including some long-fur breeds such as Texel, Silkie, Peruvian, etc. They have a wide variety of colors and patterns of their fur coats, including solid, agouti, and tricolor coats. 

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Special Behavior

Guinea Pig: A Popular Pet

You’d be amazed to know that Guinea Pigs can learn complex paths to food and can remember a learned path for several months. 

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However, they cannot jump high but they love to jump. Guinea Pigs startle very quickly and when they feel threatened, they freeze in a corner for long periods. Like any other rodents, they are self-groomers and also participate in social grooming. Rather than housing with other species, Guinea Pigs thrive better with one of the same kind.

 

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Guinea Pigs communicate with different vocalizations, including purrs, squeaks, wheek, and chattering sounds to express emotions to each other. 

Guinea Pig: A Popular Pet

They have an average lifespan of around 6 to eight years, but some of the pet breeds live up to 3 to 4 years only.

Cultural Significance

Guinea pigs originated in the Andes of South America, hence they play an important role in the folk culture of indigenous Andean People, especially as a food source. They are also used in traditional folk medicine and religious ceremonies. 

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Why do they make popular pets?

Guinea Pigs have been popular among pet lovers for their docile nature, cute appearance, ease to care, and friendly responsiveness to handling and feeding. 

Guinea Pig: A Popular Pet

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Housing and Care of Guinea Pigs

When it comes to providing housing and care for guinea pigs, there are certain factors that need to be considered such as:

  • They require a spacious cage because they are highly agile and love to hop. 
  • Some specialists also recommend an entire room for guinea pigs because wire mesh floors can cause injury to their feet.
  • Regular cleaning of their cage is necessary to maintain proper hygiene as they often jump into their food bowls and drop feces into them.
  • They should be provided with fresh grass, pig pellets, fresh fruits, and vegetables in their diet.
  • They are also provided with chew toys and occasional dental checkups as their teeth grow continuously. 

Primary health concerns of Guinea Pigs 

Guinea Pig: A Popular Pet

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The primary health concerns of Guinea Pigs are dental issues, respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, Vitamin C deficiency, etc. The owners of these pets should closely monitor their pets for signs of illness and abnormal behavior and seek a vet immediately when necessary.

Guinea Pigs have captured the hearts of many pet lovers worldwide with their docile nature and charming personalities. They possess a rich history of being kept as pets, sweet temperament, and low maintenance care requirements, making them a popular and fulfilling option for those seeking a delightful pet experience. 

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