Guinea pigs are small mammals of the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia.
Despite their common name they are not in the pig family nor are they from Guinea.
They originated in the Andes of South America and studies suggest they were domesticated as early as 5000 BC.
Guinea pigs are popular pets in many parts of the world.
There are many different types of guinea pigs but the most common is the English or American guinea pig.
These small animals are typically between 1 and 2 feet long and they weigh between 2 and 4 pounds.
They have short coarse fur that can be brown black white or a combination of these colors.
Guinea pigs have small stocky bodies and short legs.
Their heads are large and their eyes and ears are prominent.
Guinea pigs are herbivores which means they eat plants.
Their diet consists mostly of hay fresh vegetables and a small amount of pellets.
Guinea pigs need hay to help them digest their food properly and to keep their teeth healthy.
Fresh vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals for guinea pigs.
The pellets they eat are made specifically for guinea pigs and contain all the nutrients they need.
Guinea pigs should have hay fresh vegetables and pellets available at all times.
They typically eat hay first followed by the vegetables and then the pellets.
The amount of hay vegetables and pellets they eat will vary depending on their age health and activity level.
Guinea pigs typically eat about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pellets per day.
They should have a handful of fresh vegetables per day and unlimited hay.
One of the best things you can do for your guinea pig is to provide them with a variety of fresh vegetables.
This will not only give them the nutrients they need but it will also provide them with mental stimulation and enrichment.
Some of the best vegetables for guinea pigs include:
- Dark leafy greens such as kale spinach and Swiss chard
- Root vegetables such as carrots potatoes and sweet potatoes
Guinea pigs should always have access to fresh clean water.
They will drink more water if it is available so it is important to check their water bottle daily and refill it as needed.
In addition to their regular diet guinea pigs also enjoy occasional treats.
Some good treat options for guinea pigs include:
- Fruits such as berries apples and bananas
- Vegetables such as broccoli cauliflower and peppers
- Herbs such as parsley basil and mint
When giving your guinea pig treats it is important to do so in moderation.
Treats should make up no more than 10% of their diet.
Guinea pigs are social animals and they thrive when they have companions.
If you are considering getting a guinea pig it is best to get two so they can keep each other company.
Guinea pigs are relatively easy to care for but they do have specific needs that must be met in order to keep them healthy and happy.
By providing them with a proper diet plenty of water and a clean living environment you can ensure your guinea pig has a long and healthy life.