- Scientific Name: Cavia porcellus
- Lifespan: Approximately 5-8 years. With proper care, some individuals have been known to have had their guinea pig for 12 years
- Handling: Any time after he/she gets use to you. He/she may bite if frightened. Most guinea pigs will run away from a hand coming towards them the majority of the time. Once retrieved, he/she will calm down.
- Size: Approximately 12 inches
- Care: Easy
- Community: Yes, guinea pigs will do well in a community of the same gender. It’s best to get them at a young age together.
- Lifestyle: Diurnal, active during the day.
- Wire Cage
A wire cage is a good choice, as it creates great ventilation, causing no humidity issues also avoiding respiratory infections. You do not have to worry about escapes, as these types of animals are too big to fit through the bars.
I would not recommend an aquarium/tank for guinea pigs for several reasons…
- They are too small.
- They are too expensive if you are buying a big one.
- They are sound proof and do not allow your guinea pig to hear noises as he/she should, leading to him/her being startled every noise it hears when it is outside of the enclosure.
- Big ones are heavy and hard to clean when it comes to that time of the week/month.
If you are getting more than one guinea pig, it is important that you have enough space for both of the guinea pigs to live comfortably. Remember these guys get up to a foot big.
The recommendation is 7.5 square feet for a single guinea pig and 10.5 feet for a pair. But remember, the more room, the better!
The more, the better, but also give him/her room to roam around the enclosure. You are going to need a wheel for exercising, tubes to go through, and hides to sleep in or to retreat to when feeling threatened. If you have more than one guinea pig, you are going to need two hides. If you see one guinea pig using one object, not allowing the other guinea pig to use it, go out and buy another one to avoid territorial fights. Keep the enclosure fair to the both of them.
Temperatures must stay between 65-78 °F. If you cannot maintain these temperatures naturally because it is too cold, try using a ceramic heat emitter or red heat bulb for night time, and a regular daily house bulb for the day time. Up the wattage if the temps are still not getting reached. However, most houses reach these temperatures naturally, not having you to buy any lighting or heating.
Most guinea pig food can be bought online or at a pet store. Guinea Pig food consists of:
- Pellets or Dry Food Mix
Which are ingredients grounded up, crushed, and mixed together to make a special diet for your guinea pig. This may be bought online or at your local pet store. Have in mind, when using dry food mix, this allows your guinea pig to go through the food and pick what he wants to eat, leaving the rest to get thrown away. You may be stuck throwing away a lot of food using this type of food. But some guinea pigs eat all of it while others don’t. Test it out before switching to pellets or you can start off with pellets. It is all up to you.
- Fresh Foods
Fresh foods are a good addition to your regular guinea pig food diet. May use as treats as well. This may include: bananas, oranges, peas, spinach, kale, broccoli, apples, green beans, and carrots. Only offer this type of food in small quantities. Remove any leftover food you see the next day to avoid problems like bacteria and mold build up.
Note: For every type of dried food you buy which includes seeds, nuts, grains, and etc… Make sure to store any unused food in the fridge or freezer. Failure to do so will result in unwanted pests. People have had moths, mites, and other bugs hatch from these types of foods. So make sure to store in the fridge or freezer to avoid these problems.
Water must always be available to your guinea pig 24/7. You can either place a water dish in the enclosure which should be cleaned and replaced every other day… or have a water bottle specifically made for guinea pigs placed on the side of the enclosure which should be re-filled weekly. If you do not see your guinea pig drinking, try offering fresh fruit to help with hydration.
The substrate should be changed out weekly to avoid bacteria build up from the guinea pig using the restroom daily.
Bedding can be:
Aspen Fresh, Aspen Shavings, Aspen Supreme Pelleted Pet Bedding, Carefresh, Cell-Sorb Plus