Guinea Pig FAQs
**SPECIAL NOTE** This is one of the hottest topics on the Cyberpig site. We get varying opinions, with vets generally stating while this practice is common, it is not a sign of perfect health. That indeed these gpigs are lacking in "digestive enzymes" (rather than vitamins and minerals), and eating feces provides some of those enzymes back into the digestive process. While vitamin and minerals can be given to gpigs though changes in diet or commercial supplements, digestive enzymes cannot. Your gpig is not "sick", and will probably live many more years even with this condition.
- The average life span for a guinea pig, if they don't have accidents or get sick, is about 4 to 6 years. Though one famous internet guinea pig - Honey - is 11 years old!
- Guinea pigs are also known as cavies.
- Guinea pigs originally came from Argentina, Uraguay, Brazil and Peru.
- The Spanish found Andean Indians had domesticated guinea pigs. In the 1500's, Dutch sailors introduced guinea pigs to Europe. In the 1770's, guinea pigs reached the United States as pets.
- Guinea pigs probably got their names from being sold for a "guinea". A guinea is an English gold coin issued from 1663 to 1813 and was worth about 21 shillings in the year 1717.
- An adult female guinea pig is called a sow. An adult male guinea pig is called a boar.
- There are three main types of guinea pigs:
- English - short, smooth, straight hair that is white, black, brown, red, sandy or cream colored. They can have two or three different colors.
- Abyssinian - short, course hair that radiates from multiple centers on the body to form rosettes.
- Peruvian - long, silky hair up to 6 inches long and also known as angora or shelties.
- Guinea pigs can be trained. By leaving a pan
of litter in the corners of the rooms where they are running around, you
can train your guinea pig to use the pans instead of your carpet.
- Guinea pigs have good eye sight. Like other animals
that have eyes on the sides of their head, guinea pigs have trouble gauging
heights. Young guinea pigs may try to jump out of your hands, and that
can lead to broken bones or internal injuries. And, you should
never leave your guinea pig unsupervised on a tabletop or other surface
with an abrupt edge.
- When handling young guinea pigs, you should place a towel
underneath them to prevent "accidents". As the guinea pig gets older, it
will start to prefer going in its cage, and will give you a warning
sign that its about to pee (by backing into corners or acting nervous). Young guinea pigs, however, will pee wherever they happen to be
- Guinea pigs don't normally bite. In fact, they rarely bite, even
in self-defense. They do like to nibble and chew, and
may nibble once or twice on your finger, particulary if they smell food
on it or are hungry. They might also nibble if they are trying to tell you
something, like they don't like how they are being handled, or that they
want to get down so they can pee.
- Guinea pigs often eat their own droppings. Guinea Pigs and other rodents are known as coprophages. This means that they eat their own droppings. It is a habit that most guinea pigs participate in at one point or another, whether or not their owner sees them.
Do not assume that, because they eat their own
droppings, that they are ill or unclean.
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