Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus) are cheeky, gentle, inquisitive and very friendly little creatures that make fantastic family pets. They are a fun furry ball full of joy, cute little creatures that can put a smile on even the grumpiest human. Once they get to know and trust their owner Guinea Pigs get very affectionate.
Making sure they are well looked after, have interesting environments to live in and regular interaction with you, helps build up the trust. These fluffy creatures came from the Andes mountains in South America right into our hearts making us want to care for them in our homes. Guinea Pigs are tailless rodents with stout bodies and are kept as pets by many people all over the world. In some countries they are domesticated for food. The average life expectancy of a Guinea Pig is 4 to 8 years.
Things you may not know about Guinea Pigs
They will whistle on the owner’s approach when they become familiar with their owner, and will learn to whistle in response to the opening of refrigerator doors or rustling of plastic bags, where their food is most usually stored. Guinea Pigs have a very good field of vision and are able to see around them to detect predators. However they can’t see anything straight in front of their noses which means they don’t see what they eat. They would not bite in defense so if you feel a few nibbles on your finger, don’t be scared, they just thing your hand is food.
Also if your cute little pets eat their droppings, don’t panic, it’s perfectly normal. This is called coprophagy, and much like rabbits, Guinea Pigs produce two sorts of droppings. The first – hard and dry ones which are in fact the
‘real’ faces. The second type are softer and called ‘caecaotrophs’. These are full of nutrients and fiber and they eat them directly from below because they get all the goodness out of them. Guinea Pigs cannot make their own Vitamin C which means they need to get it from food like : tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, and parsley. If your pet likes to eat a lot and for sure it does, you must make sure they never get a hold of toxic plants like : bluebells, daffodil, poppy, tulip, crocus or foxglove, otherwise your little friend might be in deadly danger.
Despite all the cuteness that these little creatures may lay out on you there is also a little dark side, the nightmare of a clean freak. You like the cage squeaky clean and your pet smelling like roses, but they have another plan for you. After its cage has been thoroughly cleaned, a Guinea Pig will (on the delight of its master) usually urinate and drag the lower body across the floor of the cage to mark its territory. That is their nature and there is nothing you can do but keep loving them until the end of time.
A good thing to remember is to keep your furry friend hydrated. If you notice that a pet is off its food looking lethargic, the chances are they are not drinking enough water. This is a serious problem because they will dehydrate very quickly if you don’t give them enough fluids.
Besides a play partner and a fun friend you can also get a doctor once you adopt a Guinea Pig. How can that be? Well it has been know that doctors in the Andes mountains in South America used Guinea Pigs to find illnesses in people. They put a Guinea Pig up against the sick person and it will squeak when they get close to the diseased area. Amazing, right?
These joyful creatures make lovely family pets and can live a long time if well looked after. So, why not adopt one?