Guinea Pigs Facts:
Guinea pigs, also known as cavies because of their Latin name Cavia porcellus, are small furry creatures that make for great pets.
The female cavies are known as sows and the male ones are called boars. The babies are known as pups. There is also a hairless variety of guinea pigs which are often jokingly called the skinny pigs. Guinea pigs are quite small, about 10 inches long and weight about 2-3 pounds.
They have a rounded body that is stout and their tail is usually not visible. There are many breeds within the guinea pig family. These breeds can be distinguished from each other by the color and types of their coat. The American, Abyssinian and the Peruvian varieties are the most commonly found ones.
They are all found in different varieties of colors. Guinea pigs are the most commonly adopted pets. Young children, who take a fancy to these furry creatures, are especially fond of them.
Guinea pigs are social animals and like to be with others of their kind. They do not enjoy being alone and therefore if you are considering buying a guinea pig, get a same sex pair so that they can both have some company. Though guinea pigs are peaceful animals, the males may pick fights with each other and injure themselves. Therefore, it is better to get a female pair that will get along with each other fine.
One of the lesser known guinea pigs facts is that they are usually nervous when first adopted into a family. Though they rarely bite, it is not completely unheard of too. They may be a little squeaky at first but with regular handling, they can get tamed very soon. One important thing is to teach the children in the family how to handle them gently. Guinea pigs are very small and delicate and could get injured because of rough or careless handling. Guinea pigs require large cages to live. When living in small confined places, they may be susceptible to many guinea pig illnesses. Though they do not have many genetic defects, they are prone to developing respiratory tract infections, diarrhea and scurvy. They may even get infected with lice, mites and other external parasites.
The guinea pigs lifespan is about 5-7 years; however, they have been known to live as long as ten years. Since they are active all through the day and the night, children may enjoy watching them and playing with them a lot.