Weight: 700 grams – 1.2 kilograms
Average lifespan: 5-9 years
Gestation length (pregnancy): 59-72 days
Guinea pigs are social creatures so at least two should be kept in the same enclosure together. Guinea pigs are prey animals, for this reason hides should be provides for your pets, the easiest way to make a hidey hole is to cut an entry way out of an upside down cardboard box.
Guinea pigs get overheated easily so efforts should be taken to keep them cool in the heat of summer, ideally at temperatures between 18-20 degrees Celsius. It is important to expose your guinea pigs to at least 20 minutes a week of sunlight.
A guinea pig’s diet should consist of 80% hay (Timothy, ryegrass, pasture or paddock hay). Hay provides fibre for digestion and also encourages guinea pigs to grind their teeth correctly.
Guinea pigs are unable to produce Vitamin C so plenty of fresh broccoli, capsicum, parsley and other vegetables should be provided. A guinea pig requires 20mg per day of Vitamin C, to put this in perspective that is around 1/4 of a cup of broccoli.
Guinea pig pellets and seed can make up small portions of the diet.
COMMON HEALTH PROBLEMS
Guinea pigs fed on low hay diets often develop severe dental disorders where their teeth overgrow. Corrective dentistry is available but prevention with a good quality hay diet is much better than dentistry work later.
Guinea pigs can also develop hairless and itching due to a mite that us part of the normal skin flora, if this occurs treatment is available from the veterinarian.
If you’re considering breeding your guinea pig, it is important that they fall pregnant once before they are 6 months of age – if you wait until they are older the bones in their pelvis are fused and they are unable to give birth naturally.