The alpaca guinea pig is one of the most popular rodent pets. What are the characteristics of a furry animal? How to properly care for him and what conditions of detention must be observed? Read more about this in our article.
Before acquiring an alpaca as a pet, it is important to familiarize yourself with all the characteristics of the animal.
The alpaca guinea pig got its name due to its long hair, which in its softness and smoothness resembles the hair of artiodactyl alpaca llamas. By their biological nature, these rodents are not natural. Alpaca is a hybrid specially bred by American scientists.
In terms of its dimensions, a guinea pig can reach a length of no more than 20 centimeters, and can weigh about 1 kilogram. However, these indicators are more related to males, and females of the species are usually smaller and lighter.
The same wool of alpaca guinea pigs deserves special attention.
By itself, it is quite fluffy and thick, reaching a length of 12 centimeters. Moreover, the entire body is covered with wool, including the head (here, the alpaca grows real bangs).
As for the color of the animal, it can be very diverse (more often multi-colored, and not monophonic). So, quite often there are options for combining white and black, red, etc.
The lifespan of an alpaca varies between 5-8 years. Most often, it is at the lower limit of this range, however, if the animal is healthy and properly cared for, then life extension for several additional years is also possible.
How to properly care?
It should be noted right away that alpaca guinea pigs require quite thorough and specific care. That is why everything should be carefully considered and analyzed before starting such a fluffy rodent at home.
Obviously, the main distinguishing feature of the animal – wool – requires special care. It must be combed out regularly and in no case should tangling and the formation of various tangles be allowed.
In addition, the alpaca itself needs to be bathed regularly in warm water. This must be done very carefully.
Another important factor is the temperature regime. In order for the mumps to feel good and be able to calmly carry out their livelihoods, it is necessary to maintain a constant temperature regime. So, the thermometer should not fall below 20 degrees Celsius and rise above 24 degrees. In addition, drafts and sudden temperature fluctuations should be avoided. In case of non-compliance with the necessary conditions, it is likely that negative consequences will appear in the form of hypothermia or heat stroke in the pig.
It is important to remember that fluffy rodents do not like noise and din, they prefer to live in calm and quiet conditions.
Therefore, if you live on the ground floor and your windows overlook the freeway or your house is filled with children, then you should not start such an animal. In addition, it is necessary to constantly let the alpaca out of the cage so that it can walk and run around large areas. The fact is that a fixed lifestyle of a rodent can cause its obesity. Alpacas are those animals that are very prone to this disease.
The alpaca guinea pig is a largely inactive animal, so special attention should be paid to nutrition. As feed, you can use special complexes that can be purchased at almost every zoological store. Usually they are saturated with all the useful vitamins and minerals necessary for the full functioning of the rodent’s body. In addition, fruits (in particular, apples and bananas) can be introduced into the diet of a fluffy pet.
You can feed several times a day. Moreover, at the moment when you put a new portion of food, the bowl must be cleaned of the remnants of the old one.
Also, carefully monitor the amount of water in the drinker.
Failure to comply with the rules and diet can lead to various kinds of diseases. At the first manifestations of the disease, you should consult a veterinarian.
Generally speaking, an alpaca should be kept in a cage. However, this cage should be large and spacious. The optimal cell size is considered to be 50 centimeters by 70 centimeters. Thanks to this area, the animal will be able to move freely around its home and feel a certain spaciousness.
It is not recommended to keep several animals in one cage, as aggressive fights may arise between them for the division of territory.
The bottom of the cage must be covered with dry grass, which should be changed regularly.
In the warm period of the year – in spring and summer – fresh grass can be used, however, it must first be disinfected (this can be done with boiling water) so that the animal does not catch diseases or become infected with pests.
In addition, the cell itself should not be empty. It needs to be filled with a variety of additional elements and items for entertainment, toys. For example, you can put a running wheel or a house.
Choose a cage made of durable material (it is best to give preference to metal or wood). Thus, the animal will not be able to break its home, and it will last for quite a long period.
The ability to reproduce in alpacas appears from the second month of life. However, in order to get viable and healthy offspring, rodents should not be crossed so early. A better option would be crossing at least 4 months.
During pregnancy, females can be very aggressive and bite, so at this time they can rush at a person, and therefore you should be very careful (especially children).
The gestation period for fluffy pets lasts about 2 months, and at a time they can give birth to 2 or 3 babies (this number is typical in the first pregnancy, in subsequent times the number of babies can increase to 8).
According to the reviews of alpaca owners, these animals are an excellent option for a pet. They are very friendly and quickly make contact with a person. In addition, they are quite smart. However, one should also take into account the fact that pigs can make noise at night.. As mentioned above, they need careful care, so before you start an animal, soberly assess your strength, because if the rules are not followed, the animal can get very sick or even die.
See below for how to properly care for a guinea pig.