This popular pet, also called guinea pig, kevi, kevi, was brought to Europe from South America in the 16th century. In those days, it was used for decorative purposes and as a source of healthy dietary meat. Today, the guinea pig is no longer found in the wild, it has been domesticated and kept as a mammalian rodent in many homes.
Guinea pig – description
Many lovers of these pets often wonder why the guinea pig is called that? The lifestyle of this animal does not correspond to its name, because it does not live in water. However, once the guinea pig was brought from across the sea, so the word “sea” appeared in her name. Outwardly, the animal bears little resemblance to a pig, but some saw similarities in a large head on a short neck and a thick body on hoof-shaped paws. In addition, the guinea pig can occasionally grunt, which is why such a nickname has been assigned to it.
What does a guinea pig look like?
This domestic animal belongs to the order of rodents of the Mumps family (Caviidae). The guinea pig has a body length of 20-22 cm. The weight of mature individuals ranges from 0.7 to 1.8 kg, and males are often slightly heavier than females. The front limbs of the guinea pig are shorter than the hind limbs. The front paws have 4 toes, similar to hooves, and the hind legs each have 3. The coat of a pig can be straight and short or long and wavy. It depends on the breed of the animal.
Guinea pig – pros and cons
Those who decide to acquire such a pet as a guinea pig should weigh all the positive and negative qualities of this animal before buying and ask how much a guinea pig costs:
- pros. This pet rodent is very compact and takes up little space. The guinea pig is not prone to aggression and quickly gets used to family members. This is a diurnal animal, so at night the kewi will not interfere with rest. On average, it can live 7-8 years, although there are also centenarians whose age reaches 10 years or more. The price of an animal will depend on its breed, age and the seller (pet store, nursery, private owner), so it can start from $10 and go up to 350.
- Minuses. Guinea pigs should only eat high quality food. To prevent an unpleasant odor, proper care should be provided (especially for long-haired individuals). If you allow a rodent to walk uncontrollably around the apartment, then this is fraught with damaged furniture and torn wires.
Guinea pig – breeds
Cavey animals have long been pets. If the owners are serious about acquiring guinea pigs and plan to get offspring from them, then it is better to purchase the animal in a special nursery. You should decide in advance which breed of guinea pig is more suitable for living in a family: Skinny or Shelfi, Teddy or Rex. In our time, many breeds of guinea pigs have been bred, which differ in the texture of the wool, its length and shades.
Long haired guinea pigs
These long-haired rodents, due to their beautiful coat, often show off at various exhibitions. Their color can be very different, but animals of these breeds are not too easy to care for, so it is not recommended to buy them for a novice owner. This variety of guinea pigs includes such representatives:
- sheltie. This breed of elegant animals was bred at the end of the last century. The smooth, beautiful coat of such pigs grows straight down. There is not a single rosette on her body, and the colors can be different, ranging from banal red to unusual slate.
- Peruvian guinea pig. Wool in pigs grows towards the muzzle and closes the eyes of the animal. It often has two or more sockets on its body.
- Coronet. Her coat is similar to Sheltie, but there is one rosette on her forehead, due to which a crown forms on the head of a guinea pig.
- Texel. This pig has curly hair, without rosettes. Its shades can be very different.
- merino. Its wavy coat grows in the same way as the previous breed, but it has a single rosette on its head.
Short haired guinea pigs
The wool of these domestic animals has a length of less than 2.5 cm. The European Community refers to this species such breeds of guinea pigs:
- American. This is perhaps the most common breed of pets. The Guinea Shorthair has a shiny, smooth coat without rosettes. Colors are different: monophonic or matching shades. In chintz American pigs, the coat is distinguished by a satin sheen.
- Crested. Their coat is smooth, and on the head there is one rosette. A pig with a white rosette is called an American Crested. If this twist coincides with the rest of the coat color, then the animal is classified as an English crested. Sometimes these guinea pigs are called crested.
- Guinea pig Teddy. Its coat is short, very dense and dense. In satin Teddies, the coat has a special sheen.
- Rex. Her hair is short, very curly and close to her body.
A distinctive feature of these pigs is attractive solid colors, and the color of the ears in the shape of a rose petal and paws should be the same. At the same time, their large eyes can be red or black. The English Self is a guinea pig with a thick, shiny coat that lies close to the body. The growth of her hair has a pronounced horizontality. A peaceful and good-natured domestic animal is perfect for growing inexperienced lovers.
Rare breeds of guinea pigs
Scientists have bred several breeds of rodents, which are still rare. Since such animals are not officially registered and there are no breed standards for them, they cannot participate in major exhibitions and receive champion titles. Rare breeds of guinea pigs include the following varieties:
- Tans (Thanes). There are such their colors: black, chocolate, slate, lilac, beige.
- Shale. Their color is a deep bluish-gray color. The animals have ruby eyes, which darken with age.
- foxes. Their main color is monophonic, but the belly of the animals is white. In addition, the eyes and nostrils are outlined in white, there are white spots near the ears and under the chin. Pigs can be chocolate, purple, black, beige.
- Sable. There are two shades in the coat color of this animal. The back is painted in sepia color, while the ears and head are darker. The brightness of the shade weakens and on the stomach it becomes completely light.
- Rainbow. The coat of such a pig has multi-color stripes (white, purple, gold), which in parts color the entire body.
- skinny. These animals do not have hair at all: they are naked, they have hair only on their paws and nose.
- Curly guinea pig. These pets have a hard, curly coat that sticks out in different directions and looks like disheveled hair. With age, it becomes more and more rigid, therefore, special care is required for such animals.
The biggest guinea pig
These giant animals in adulthood can grow up to 40-55 cm and reach a weight of about 4 kg. Due to their large size, in some countries the Kui guinea pig is bred for tasty dietary meat. Their coat is smooth and can have different colors. On the paws of the animal there are 5-7 fingers. The largest guinea pig has a not too docile and simple character. She is cautious, distrustful and shy, often showing aggression towards those who live in the house. Females are especially warlike, and males are a little calmer.
Guinea pig – how to determine the gender?
If animals are bought for breeding or, on the contrary, they do not want the appearance of cubs, then their gender must be known in advance. You can independently determine whether the boy is in front of you or the girl, according to the following signs:
- The shape of the genital gap. In females, already at 5 days of age, it has the shape of the letter V, tapering towards the tail. In the male, the gap looks like the letter I, over which the penis will soon develop.
- Fecal pocket. This is a roller around the anus. In males, it contains an odorous secret with which they mark the territory, while in females such a pocket is invisible.
- nipples. They are present in individuals of both sexes, but in females they are brighter and more voluminous.
- Character. A male guinea pig behaves aggressively at any age. They are prone to destruction, fighting with other animals. Females are more calm, they do not gnaw the cage, they willingly play with people.
- Dimensions. Until a week old, both boys and girls of guinea pigs develop in the same way, but later the male begins to grow rapidly. He becomes more massive and fatter than a little girl guinea pig.
Guinea pig – maintenance and care
If an animal such as a guinea pig is cared for properly and with a balanced diet, then it grows healthy and cheerful. To achieve this, the pet must create the necessary conditions:
- The cage must have dimensions corresponding to the animal (at least 40×40 cm).
- It is better to attach the feeder and drinker to the sides of the cage so that the pig does not turn them over.
- In the cage, there should always be a branch of any fruit tree, on which the animal will grind its teeth.
- Granulated and ordinary sawdust can be poured onto the floor.
- The cage with the guinea pig should be in a well-lit, draft-free place.
- This rodent goes to the toilet in the same place, so you can install a tray with filler or sawdust there, which will greatly simplify the procedure for cleaning the cage.
What does a guinea pig eat?
Those owners who first purchased a pet may be interested in the question, what does a guinea pig eat? The main diet of this rodent is solid food in the form of granular roughage. Such feeds are popular: Vitakraft, Versele-Laga, Padovan. An obligatory part of the diet of a guinea pig is good hay, which is very useful for proper digestion, and green grass, rich in vitamins. In small quantities (one piece per day), guinea pigs can be given fruits and vegetables:
It should be remembered that the pig is a herbivore, so it should not be given poultry, fish, meat, dairy products. Experienced breeders recommend feeding guinea pigs twice a day at the same time. For one feeding, the animal should eat no more than 1-2 tbsp. spoons of food. Pregnant females should eat 3 times a day, and at one time they can be fed up to 3 tbsp. spoons. There should always be water in the pig’s cage, which must be changed once a day.
How do you know if a guinea pig is pregnant?
For the first time, a guinea pig can become pregnant at the age of 8-9 weeks, but the optimal period is 11 weeks. The owner of a pet is often tormented by the question of how to know that a guinea pig is pregnant? You can determine this by the following features:
- There is no flow.
- The abdomen is markedly enlarged. This can be seen already from the 4th week of pregnancy
- The appearance of the genitals changes: they increase, becoming looser and softer.
- In the abdomen, when feeling, you can feel the cubs in the form of several beans. This is felt already 2 weeks after mating animals.
- Only a veterinarian can accurately determine the pregnancy of a mumps.
Why does a guinea pig squeak?
A pet often makes such sounds in order to attract the attention of the owner when the pig is hungry. If she is fed, adhering to a certain time, then by its onset the animal begins to make a squeak, indicating that it is time to eat. It happens that inexperienced owners are interested in why a guinea pig squeaks when you stroke it. If the animal is pleased and happy with everything, then when stroking it, it can squeak or even grunt. A loud squeak indicates that the pig does not like something or something hurts.
Why does a guinea pig bite?
For any animal, a bite is a kind of message with which it wants to convey something, and a domestic guinea pig is no exception. A pet can bite for a variety of reasons:
- The animal was inconvenienced: it was taken incorrectly, pulled out of the nest, pulled away from the bowl of food, and so on.
- They abruptly lowered their hand into the pig’s house: she was frightened and bit.
- Separate the fighting individuals: you can’t do this with your bare hands, they will definitely bite.
- The pig bites a stranger, a person unfamiliar to her, if he tries to stroke her or pick her up.
- Light bites can be a sign of affection and tenderness from your pet.