Tips&TricksDecoding the charm and quirks of guinea pigs as pets: Understanding before adopting

Decoding the charm and quirks of guinea pigs as pets: Understanding before adopting

Guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs.
Images source: © Getty Images | 500px
5:59 AM EST, February 23, 2024

Guinea pigs are larger and much more resilient than hamsters, making them increasingly popular pets. They're capable of tolerating light petting and snuggling, making them great adopted family members. However, guinea pigs have a few quirks that might not suit everyone, underscoring the necessity of proper research before making the decision to bring one home.

Understanding the Guinea Pig

Let's start with the basics. Guinea pigs, otherwise known as home cavies, have a diverse context culturally. While they are generally referred to endearingly as pets in Europe, they are primarily bread for meat in South America. Fortunately, the idea of dining on these charming rodents hasn't caught on everywhere. There are many species of guinea pigs, and adults typically measure between 10 to 12 inches, perfect for family homes.

Guinea pigs are naturally social creatures that thrive in herds. A solitary guinea pig may fall into depression; therefore, it's a good idea to buy them in pairs, leading some breeders to refuse selling them singularly. Initially, a guinea pig can be skittish, but they eventually develop a bond with their owner and become quite affectionate over time.

Caring for Guinea Pigs at Home: A Guide

This tiny rodent is active both day and night, but they do enjoy plenty of nap times. Some guinea pigs may even sleep up to 20 hours a day. If you value peaceful nights, it's advisable to keep their cages outside of your bedroom, as they tend to get quite excited in the presence of humans or food, making noises similar to pig grunts. Despite their small size, guinea pigs have fast digestion and may defecate up to 100 times daily, necessitating daily cage cleaning.

When setting up space for your pet, remember to include a private house where it can retreat when feeling insecure. This can be particularly useful during their early days in a new environment when the pet isn't fully tamed yet. As for their interaction with other animals, they generally coexist peacefully, but it's wise not to leave them unsupervised with other pets.

When handling a guinea pig, ensure a secure grip and place it on hard surfaces where it can roam freely. It's worth noting that with proper care, these adorable rodents can live for about seven years, while the world record for the oldest guinea pig is 14 years and 10 months, securing a spot in the Guinness Book of Records.

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