Tips for Having Guinea Pigs as Pets
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(*Karen from 'Karen's Minipets' has found that some statements in this article are incorrect, we have pointed out a few. She ownes guinea pigs, chinchillas and rabbits and has done extensive research on all aspects of these little animals. For more interesting and very informative articles see her website www.minipets.co.za )
Guinea pigs look like gigantic hamsters. They are quite a bit larger than the average hamster being about 12 inches in length. They also make little squeaking noises like that of a real pig. They should be kept in a cage with a plastic liner about 7 inches up the bottom of the cage to prevent bedding from coming out of the cage. Guinea pigs rarely bite and they are very friendly animals. They are not as messy as rabbits or chinchillas are. They will not ruin your home either. They do not chew on trim or walls like rabbits and chinchillas do.
Guinea pigs can be purchased at most pet stores. They are very friendly and make good pets for children (but as the article below states, should not be very small children). You will need to buy bedding in bulk, probably not cedar because it causes respiratory problems in small animals like rabbits, chinchillas and guinea pigs. A cost of a cage depending on the size. If you buy two guinea pigs they will keep each other company. Ask the person at the pet store if the guinea pigs need to be together from the beginning. Sometimes when you put two animals like this together they may fight when they are older.
Guinea pigs can be tought to be litter trained. They have a short bladder span and they go to the bathroom frequently. You will also need to purchase a glass water bottle so that the guinea pig does not chew through the bottle causing it to leak into the cage. You can also purchase an exercise wheel for the guinea pig and buy a large gate which you can put in your basement for your guinea pig to run around in and get exercise. I wouldn't suggest putting it outside because small animals like the guinea pig can escape from the gate.
You will need to clean the cage at least once per 2 weeks (*their cages need to be cleaned almost twice a week). You will need to supply the guinea pig with fresh water daily and you will need to give it vegetables such as lettuce (*except ice berg lettuce - see Karen's website for a list of foods they cannot eat) and celery (*celery cannot be fed on a daily basis as it causes cystitis). Guinea pigs are very social and make excellent pets for people of all ages. Make sure that you have the time to supply the animal with bedding, food and water. Guinea pigs can live over 5 years in captivity. They could possibly even live to be over 10 years old. Rabbits, chinchillas and guinea pigs all have the same lifespan (*chinchillas can live to 20 years if cared for properly). Guinea pigs require about the same maintenance (*guinea pigs need way more attention, they need to be groomed, bathed and nails clipped) but they aren't as dirty as rabbits and they will not chew up woodwork like chinchillas will.
Guinea pigs are not dirty animals and they do not like living in dirty conditions. Some guinea pigs are long haired and may require more maintenance. They will not have a smell to them like rabbits will. You can give the guinea pig a bath if necessary or use a waterless shampoo on their fur.
'G-Force' likely to put guinea pigs atop pet list
Rescue groups urge parents not to give in to kids' pleas for the critters
Valerie Hansen of Walnut, Calif., holds up a pet guinea pig. The Disney movie "G-Force"
shows a squad of specially trained, computer-generated guinea pig spies coming to the
world's rescue. Advocates worry that the tiny rodents will be at risk.
Los Angeles - The Disney movie "G-Force" shows a squad of specially trained, computer-generated guinea pig spies coming to the world's rescue. After the movie comes out, though, animal activists say it will be real life guinea pigs who need rescuing.
Some guinea pig rescue groups have already posted pleas to those who might rush out to buy the furry little rodents. "I can tell you, every single rescue in the United States and abroad took a look at that movie trailer and said, 'Oh God, here we go,'" said Whitney Potsus, vice president of The Critter Connection, Inc., in Durham, Conn.
The Orange County Cavy (aka guinea pig) Haven in Costa Mesa has already posted urgent Internet pleas to parents asking them to say no when their children beg for guinea pigs, because the animals are too fragile for young children.