Guinea Pigs

American Guinea Pig, American Satin Guinea Pig

Family: Caviidae American Guinea Pig, Picture of a Guinea Pig familyCavia porcellusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Shirley Crosbie
Latest Reader Comment - See More
The basics about the care of guinea pigs: Guinea pigs need at least five hours every day on grass in a reasonably sized, covered partially (with plastic or wood;... (more)  Eleanor

   The fabulous docile "Guinea Pig" is neither a pig nor is it from Guinea!

   The Guinea pigs we have as pets today are descendents of the Tschudi Guinea Pig from South America. Guinea pigs make great pets and they very rarely bite. They are inexpensive and have lovable personalities. Guinea Pigs can live 8 to 10 years and are easy to house and feed. They also tend to be hardy little animals and don't contract diseases very easily.

   These are relatively small animals, though through selective breeding a variety of different strains of have been developed. Guinea pigs come in sizes ranging from pets as small as a rat up to pets as big as a small dog. They also come in a variety of colors and hair styles.

   The American Guinea Pig is the most common breed of Guinea pig!

  If you're looking for a pet with a sweet and clownish personality that is easy to care for, the American Guinea Pig fits that description perfectly. Americans are quite entertaining, and they respond well to handling. They also tend to get along well with other Guinea pigs.
  One reason that American Guinea Pigs are so popular is because they're easy to care for. Their short hair requires minimal maintenance, as its hair does not mat easily and they do a good job of keeping themselves clean. This makes them a good choice for a child's pet.

See Baby Guinea Pigs below!


Geographic Distribution
Cavia porcellus
See All Data at Google Maps
Data provided by GBIF.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Rodentia
  • Family: Caviidae
  • Genus: Cavia
  • Species: porcellus
Guinea Pig Opens & Closes Cage!

Background:

   The American is the oldest breed of Guinea pig. It is believed to have been first domesticated around 5000 BC in the Andes. It wasn't until the 1500s that humans began to selectively breed Guinea pigs, creating several different varieties. The short-haired breed was originally known as the English Guinea Pig, and in some countries it is still called by that name. The American Cavy Breeders Association began calling them Americans in the 1960s.

Description:

   The American has a short, smooth coat. It has no curl and can come in a variety of colors. The American Satin is identical to the American, except its coat is fine, dense and extra shiny. It is a newer breed, only recently having gained recognition from the ACBA.

Color differences:

   The American Guinea Pig can be found in a wide variety of colors and patterns, and any of the nineteen Guinea pig colors are acceptable for showing. Satins are normally found in Self (single color), although they may also sport various patterns

Keeping Guinea Pigs:

GUINEA PIG CARE

 

   Be sure to provide your guinea pig with a good home and a proper diet. This will keep it happy and healthy and ensure a great pet for a long time.

   Guinea pigs need plenty of exercise and they also love to play. You can let them outside or run around in the house for short periods of time under supervision. They love to explore and need at least one hour of supervised 'floor time' every day.

   When picking up a guinea pig make sure you do not grab it only by its shoulders. Just keep in mind when picking your pet up to do it evenly. With your hands, support it's entire body, and be careful not to drop it.

   Guinea pigs are social creatures and will like to have a companion. They are great companions for children.

Availability/Purchasing your Guinea Pig:

Guinea Pig Babies!
American Guinea Pig, Picture of a Guinea Pig family Two short-haired babies and one rosette
Baby Guinea Pigs
"Molly", "Independence", and "Dawn"
Born on the 4th of July!
 
Mother guinea pig with her four new babies!
This guinea pig mother had four babies!

   American Guinea Pigs are easily found and prices are usually around $20. Guinea Pigs come in many varieties and are readily available at pet stores, shelters, and rescues. When looking to acquire a pet guinea pig make sure it is a healthy animal. A healthy guinea pig will have brilliant eyes, good sound teeth, and a healthy coat. Any age and either sex will make a good pet, however you should plan to get more than one as they are very social and do best with a companion. Get a same sex pair or you could end up having babies.

References


Sandler, Carol, "Cavy Standard Changes- The First 25 Years", American Cavy Breeders Association, Copyright 2003
"Satin", Omlet, Copyright 2004
"Guinea Pig Breeds",Wikipedia, Copyright 2008
"Guinea Pig",Wikipedia, Copyright 2008

Lastest Animal Stories on American Guinea Pig


Eleanor - 2007-04-02
The basics about the care of guinea pigs:

Guinea pigs need at least five hours every day on grass in a reasonably sized, covered partially (with plastic or wood; for shade and for protection) chicken wire run, regardless if it's rainy or sunny. It's essential to put a small box with woodshavings and hay inside the run, so they can sleep during the daytime.
At night, you may choose whether to have a large outdoor cage, or a large box in the house to house your guinea pigs in. Indoor cags can be obtained, but these are rarely big enough for the guinea pig, and are widely impractical. In any case, shelter should have the essentials;
newspaper/magazines- to absorb any leakage or liquid waste.
woodshavings- to absorb any liquid. These should thickly cover the newspaper.
Hay- bedeck shelter with this bedding material in excess. This is a staple food, bedding, and even toy for guinea pigs.
Food bowl- containing plenty of fresh dry food.
Selection of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Food plays a large part in your guinea pigs life. Hay, grass, dry food, and carrots are needed in large amounts by any domestic guinea pig. (water is not neccesary, contrary to popular belief. Guinea pigs often do not utilise water bottles or water bowls; instead, source their water from foods such as tomato, lettuce, celery, or cucumber- guinea pigs will respond enthusiasticly to these in comparison with other hydrating techniques.)
Fresh food that is great for guinea pigs includes-
carrots, apple, pear, clery, sprouts, cabbage, turnip, grass, lettuce, leaves, plum, berries, etcetera.
You'll find that guinea pigs have wise judgement, and won't go near anything that they don't like or that is remotely harmful to them. Some guinea pigs are very fussy with food; don't indulge them in their fussiness, as this will lead to later inconveniences and fussy preferences. Instead, give them as much of that particular food as you would under usual circumstances; they will then eat it gladly and get used to it, whilst being well nourished. Of course, be sure to accurately draw the line between giving them harmful food as opposed to food that they simply don't like.
Give them three choices of fresh food every evening, and refill their food bowl with dry food whenever the level goes past halfway down the bowl. Some brands of dry food which I find appealing to guinea pigs are
Supa Guinea dry food
Wagg Guinea pig
Gerty Guinea pig dry food
Brush your guinea pig's coat every week, and bathe them gently every two months to mantain ultimate standards for your guinea pig's looks.
Guinea pig brushes can easily be bought from a local pet shop, but a large toothbrush or soft bristle brush will be equally substantial.
To bath a guinea pig;
A guinea pig can be bathed in either a full size bath, a sink, or a basin.
It would be unhygienic to bath guinea pigs in a sink, but would give them added security to be bathed in a small space.
Basins are ideal, since they comfort the guinea pig because of its confined space, and are clean for guinea pigs to use.
A bath will be good for releasing guinea pig's pent up energy, but they'll be more frightened in such a large space, it will waste water, and be unhygienic.
Guinea pigs will be scared during bathtime, and will often try to either jump out or cling onto one's hand. This is no cause for concern. They will recover completely if placed in a warm, comforting hay box with plently of care, attention, and special treat foods, such as banana (don't give them this as a regular food, as it doesn't wear down their teeth well enough, and is too sweet for them to eat on a regular basis).
First, buy some guinea pig shampoo/ mild tea tree shampoo fro any chemist's or pet shop. Hsve a large, fluffy towel ready, and a brush.
Fill the {basin} {3/4} of the way full (depending on the size of the guinea pig) with tepid water. Place the guinea pig in it gently, yet firmly. Lather your guinea pigs coat with a small squeeze of shampoo. Do not lather any further then the ears, and take especial care not to get any soap in the mouth, eyes, ears, or nose. Rinse with plenty of warm water so that no soap suds or traces of shampoo are left in his coat. Lift the guinea pig out, onto a towel, and roll it around him, so that it looks like an Egyptian mummy. This covers his fur evenly on all sides, and makes him feel protected. Cuddle your guinea pig, stroke it, rub him gently, and talk to it comfortingly. This will put your guinea pig at ease.
Most guinea pigs love to be brushed after their bath, but some will sqeauk with the unfamiliar sensation. More often the not, you will not be hurting your guinea pig as you are brushing him. Brush with steady, even strokes that sopan the length of his body.
Finally, guinea pigs need to be paid much attention. They must be handled, stroked, and talked to, every day. This developes their sociable tendencies and affectionate nature. If you get to know your guinea pig well enough, it will feel comfortable enough to run towards you, purr, or sqeauk when it sees or hears you; it will fall asleep on your lap; it will take food from you; it won't be scared of you; it will recognize you; it will lick you, and, most importantly, develop a relationship with you.

  • Lindsey - 2014-10-04
    that was helpfull
Reply
Joy - 2014-09-13
I have four and I want to know way to keep my guinea pig litter dry because every time they drink out of a water bottle it leaks and I am afraid of letting them drink out of the bowl because they have one or two babies in the cage I don't want babies to drown supposed to do.

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-09-14
    You may want to get another water bottle, but a tip, don't use cold water. Tepid water tends to not leak as readily whereas cold water often will.
Reply
Rachel - 2008-01-01
Your site is very helpful - thank you! Just a quick note on Vitamin C, I have had guinea pigs since I was young. My very first guinea pig, Brownie, became sick due to vitamin C definciency. I brought him to the vets who told me to give him orange juice and gave him about 4 months to live. I not only put the OJ in his water bottle daily but taught him to drink the juice out of a bowl. He loved it and lived a good 2 years longer than the vet forcasted. I adopted him as an adult so I am not sure of his exact age when he died. Every guinea pig since then has been on "OJ". You obviously can't keep it very long in a water bottle because it will sour but if you get the guinea pig to drink out of a bowl, he will drink it as a "treat", even variations of the juice like orange/banana, etc. Just make sure it is pure juice and not sugar.

  • Joy - 2014-09-13
    I have four guinea pigs and I don't know why but for the past two litters my female his head either all or almost all the baby's die
Reply
Lily Richards - 2014-07-05
Hi I'm Lily. I am only eleven and I really want to get a guinea pig. I have researched them and know how to take care of them because I babysit other peoples pigs. I am very sure I want to get one…. but I don't know which one I would like to get, American or Abyssinian? I would like them to be friendly and be okay with cuddling….but not super noisy or smelly. Have any advice? Please respond. ps: I am looking for a decent guinea pig cage for $15 or less…..anybody know where I could get one? Thanks for reading, bye!

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-07-22
    Guinea Pigs are great pets, no matter what breed you get, and it sounds like you are going to be a good keeper for one. Check with your local pet store, guinea pigs are just about alway available, and they should have a variety to choose from. Pick the one that attracts you the most, just keep in mind that if it is a long-haired type, it will need regular grooming (which is fun too!).
Reply