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Guinea Pig


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Guinea Pigs are one of the most popular children's pets in the nation.

With the large variety of available breeds, color combinations, and playful personalities, it is no wonder that our 11-year-old customer and cavy-enthusiast, Margaret Rehr points out that guinea pigs are one of the most popular children's pets in the nation. In fact, guinea pigs are more like humans than most people realize - neither we nor our Cavia porcellus pets are able to manufacture our own Vitamin C; therefore, dietary supplementation of this water soluble vitamin is necessary for optimum health.


INTERESTING FACTS

Characteristics: Naturally social and living in large groups in the wild, guinea pigs need involved owners who provide them with a variety of toys and exercise opportunities. Cavies would prefer a companion, though most will do well alone if kept active. The average adult female (sow) grows to 1-1/2 to 2 lbs, while the average male (boar) grows to 2 to 2-1/2 lbs. Like other rodents, their teeth grow throughout their lifetime, which averages anywhere between 4 to 8 years.

Appearance: There are 13 recognized breeds of cavies with varying fur coat lengths in a variety of solid, mixed, and banded colors. Most of these 13 breeds are variations of each other - Abyssinian, American, Peruvian, Silkie, and Teddy each have a Satin variety, which means the two breeds look similar though a Satin has a more glossy sheen and softer coat. Other breeds include Coronet, Texel, and White Crested.

#1 Preventable Health Problem: Prevent Vitamin C deficiency with a specially formulated pellet diet that includes a daily, fresh supply of grass hay and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Housing: Some recommend that one cavy needs at least 3 square feet of cage space, but bigger is always better. Furnish a hiding place and toys for your guinea pig's health and happiness. Guinea pigs also need a lot of chewable, hard substances to keep their teeth worn down. A solid base in the cage along with suitable nontoxic bedding are also a must to protect both your cavy and her tender feet.

 

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