Saturday, April 21, 2007

How Do You Take Care of a Guinea Pig? Ask Maddie!

This is Daisy. She is my guinea pig (properly known as a cavy). I love guinea pigs. I have had 6 guinea pigs so far. Daisy is pretty old for a guinea pig, she is 6. Her favorite treat is carrots.

A guinea pig needs an area of at least 2 feet by 2 feet. If you are thinking of getting a piggy don't buy them a hamster cage or bird cage as these are to small and sometimes too flimsy.

The modern guinea pig is the descendant of a more wild species brought to Europe and America by European sailors who tamed them and had them as companions aboard ships. People used to eat them.

The name of the Guinea coin in Europe was named after Guinea pig because so many people ate them that the coin was often used. Guinea pigs have four long teeth and 16 claws.

Guinea pigs must have something to gnaw on in their cages to keep their teeth short such as a brick. you also have to trim their claws. There are many types of guinea pigs.

I've found that if you put newspaper below the bedding in the cage you can peel all the stuff out at cleaning time, no hose and scrub brush involved. You need to give your cavy a bath once every 3 months.

Guinea pigs eat pellets which you can buy at your local pet store. Rabbit pellets look similar but they are usually crumblier. Don't feed your guinea pig rabbit food, it will make her sick.

If your cavy has babies you need to pull the male guinea pig out. The baby pigs must be separated by gender at 6 weeks. you can tell their gender because the male cavy's genitals have an i shape on them and the girl's have a Y shape. Baby guinea pigs are very cute they are fully developed at birth. Don't touch them for the first 2 days of their life. After that you can start taming them. A guinea pig generally has 1 to 4 babies at a time. You should not breed your guinea pig if she is over 4 years old as it can break her pelvic bones and kill her during child birth.

On Saipan you can no longer purchase guinea pigs.

I hope you have fun with your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are an ideal pet for younger children as they are mildly behaved and will not hurt the child and they create less mess than a dog or cat but are also more durable to a child's petting than a hamster. Young guinea pigs are quite energetic. They will squeak and "popcorn" (jumping and flipping around) when they see a person they know and love or they hear the fridge open or smell vegetables or hear plastic grocery bags crumpling. I am sad that some people use these gentile and docile creatures as lab animals. I love my guinea pig Daisy and hope if you get a guinea pig you will love him/her as much as I love Daisy. -maddie ;-)

[Madison is our youngest PAWS contributor. She is 13 years old and attends school at Whispering Palms. Read more about Maddie and her family at]

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