Guinea pigs make good pets

17 years ago
By Christine Cowett Robinson
Special to The Star-Herald

    Have you ever considered getting a guinea pig as a pet? Well About.com has some interesting information regarding these cute, little, fuzzy creatures:     • Life Span: Around 5-7 years is typical, although up to 10 isn’t too unusual.
    • Size: Approximately 10 inches long, 2-3 pounds.
    • Appearance: Rounded stout body, no visible tail (a few tail vertebrae can be felt under the skin). They come in a variety of breeds with different coat types and color patterns.
    • Terms: Just like pigs, males are called boars, females are called sows, and the babies are called piglets.
    • Hairless varieties of guinea pigs have been bred, and are sometimes called “skinny pigs.”
    As pets:
    • Guinea pigs are quite hardy and calm, so they do make good family pets.
    • They are social and will interact well with people. They will do best kept in same sex groups, although males may fight (especially if unrelated or not raised together).
    • They may be nervous at first but are easy to handle and tame, and rarely bite.
    • Need a fairly large enclosure, but aren’t much for climbing or jumping so it is easy to improvise luxurious guinea pig housing.
    • Variety of interesting colors and coat types, although the long-haired (Peruvian) type needs a good deal of grooming and coat care.
    • While they can vocalize quite loudly, they are fairly quiet and calm pets.
    • They may wake at night but are not nocturnal – they have repeated sleep/wake cycles throughout the day.
    • Guinea pigs are unusual for rodents as the piglets are born with a full coat, eyes open, and they piglets are weaned at a very young age and the babies fend for themselves early on. (Many other rodents are born hairless, blind and virtually helpless).
    We get all sorts of interesting creatures at the Central Aroostook Humane Society. Each one has their own special needs, so please educate yourself before you bring home a pet. Evaluate the time and money you have to spend on making your pet’s life full.
    If you are looking for a friend for life, please visit the Central Aroostook Humane Society or give us a call at 764-3441.
    Please have your pets spayed or neutered.