Riley Pest Management
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 FLORIDA RODENTS
A source for information on rodents

Guinea Pigs

    

Guinea pigs are tail-less rodents that are native to the west coast of South America and since the mid-1800′s, laboratories have used guinea pigs for research. The correct name for guinea pigs is Cavy, pronounced “kay-vee”.  

Guinea pigs usually weigh around 3 ounces at birth, around 1-2 pounds full grown, and live for 5-6 years. An adult will measure 8-10 inches from the tip of its nose to the end of its rump. Their hair comes in a wide range of colors and the hair may be long, short or short and curly. Guinea pigs have a very good sense of smell and sensitive hearing. They love to vocalize with squeals, chirps, squeaks, and whistles. Although not known for their intelligence, they do recognize their owners and will seek them out and return affection. 

Guinea Pigs as Pets
Guinea pigs are cuddly, comical, and clever. They make wonderful pets for children and can be very social animals. Guinea pigs do better in pairs as they prefer company, so unless you have a lot of time to devote to your pet getting at least two is often a good idea. They are not expensive to own and the biggest expense is the initial setting up of housing. Guinea pigs are hardy pets so veterinarian expenses are minimal. 

Guinea pigs don't have visible tails. We went to a library's book sale where they sell old books and bought an old dictionary. We looked up guinea pigs and it said they have tails! You can't believe all that you read!  They do, however, have a tail vertebrae, but to look at them and hold them, they don't have a tail. 

Guinea pigs are born with fur and with their eyes open. They are not like rabbits or mice that are born hairless and helpless. They are so small they can fit in the palm of your hand. Their feet look too big for their bodies! They nurse right away on their mommy, and even nibble a little on her food a day or so later. They grow up fast! 

Guinea pigs eat a lot of food. No wonder they are called pigs! Guinea pigs are not related to pigs at all, though. They are really named cavies and they are members of the rodent family, which means they like to gnaw. Don't put your guinea pig near any books or she'll take a bite! 

Guinea pigs came from South America, and the Incas domesticated them. They are members of the cavy family. Some think they are called guinea pigs because in England they were sold for a guinea, which is a coin. Some think it is because they were brought to Europe by Spanish sailors from a country called Dutch Guiana in South America. Guinea pigs need to gnaw to wear down their teeth. Otherwise, their teeth will grow too long and then they won't be able to eat. That is a terrible thing for a pig. 

 

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