Do you want to have a pet that will shower you with attention and affection? Are you looking for an adorable pet that will brighten your family’s lives and give you their undivided love?
In that case, I’d like to introduce you to the Peruvian guinea pig. Peruvian guinea pigs aren’t pigs. They are rodents, and they’re members of the Caviidae family. Animals in this family can also be called cavy.
The Peruvian guinea pig was first found in South America. Most experts believe they first came from Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru. Peruvians weren’t popular as pets in South America at first since, at that time, they didn’t live in peoples’ homes. They were brought by traders from Peru to France in the 1800s, where they first began to be kept as pets.
Next, they were brought by traders to the United Kingdom. After that, they began to be well-known and in demand as pets all around the world.
Peruvian guinea pigs are tiny and adorable. They look a bit like walking mop tops. Peruvian guinea pigs are different from other guinea pigs because of their long, flowing hair. Their hair flows down on both sides of their bellies and is parted evenly down the middle of their backs.
The fur forms a curly knot on their hips, where the hair flows forward to cover both sides. Their coat is sleek, shiny, smooth, flowing, and extremely soft. This hair can grow to be as long as 20 inches long. In the front, their hair grows down over the sides of their faces, but it does not cover their eyes.
Peruvian guinea pigs come in a variety of colors. They can be cream-colored, reddish-brown, black, grey, chocolate-brown, tan, beige, or wooden brown. Some Peruvians come in a pattern called “piebald”. (This means they have patches of two colors, usually black and white.)
A Peruvian coat can be of only one solid color, but some have more than one color. The most popular color combination is slate, white, and cream.
The Peruvian guinea pig has a rounded body, short legs, and a short tail. It has claws on its little feet and big eyes. Their heads are smaller than the heads of other types of cavies. The Peruvian scurries when it moves and uses short rapid steps.
They can weigh from one to three pounds. Males of the breed weigh more than females. They are usually from 10 to 14 inches long.
Peruvian guinea pigs are loved by their owners for more than just their adorable appearance. Their captivating personalities make these pets the center of your family’s attention. They have infectious energy and love to play and cuddle with humans. When they are out of their cages, they will explore their surrounding areas and put their noses into every place.
They are very friendly and will approach you to convince you of their undying affection. They watch everything you do with their wide, expressive eyes when they are in the room with you. They will give you their undivided attention but also want you to pay attention to them.
Peruvian guinea pigs are very active when they are happy. One of their delightful habits is called ‘popcorning. The guinea pig makes a high-pitched sound and a series of little jumps in the air (like a kernel of popcorn). Popcorning is the way they show their delight.
To show your devotion to your Peruvian, you can pick up your pet and hold them.
To do this, you need to start touching them slowly so they can get used to your touch. You need to hold them gently because if you squeeze too tight they may get frightened, or it could make them feel uncomfortable.
Expert Tip: If you have two of these pets in the same area, they may fight and even bite each other. If you try to split them up, be careful because you might get bit by accident. Even when they don’t fight, they sometimes chew on each other’s hair.
Peruvian guinea pigs risk the same health problems as other animals in the cavy family. These problems include: Heatstroke is a severe concern for Peruvians, especially in warm countries or during the summer months.
These animals should never be directly exposed to sunlight because that would be dangerous for their skin. You should be careful to keep your pet as cool as possible. Symptoms of heatstroke include panting, slobbering, tiredness, and unwillingness to move. This condition may even result in your pet having a convulsion.
If you notice these symptoms in your pet, you should sponge their ears, feet, and fur with cool water then take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Keeping your pet cool may take a little effort. Peruvian guinea pigs are healthiest when the temperature of their living area is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures above 80 degrees are dangerous.
During the summer months, be sure you include vegetables with high water content in your pets’ food. Use a fan or air conditioner to keep their area cool. If you do use a fan, face the fan away from your pet.
If your Peruvian guinea pig normally lives outside, you should move their living area into a cooler place. To keep your pet as cool as possible, wrap a few ice cubes in a cloth and let your cavy sit next to them.
Their long hair makes it difficult for Peruvians to keep themselves as well-groomed as they need to be. Flystrike occurs when a fly lands on an animal and lays its eggs on the Peruvians’ skin. Flystrike is more common in warmer areas. Flystrike can happen when their hair is not clean and can be excruciating.
If they get Flystrike and don’t get medication for it, your pet could die. To examine your pet for this disease, look around your Peruvian’s bottom and check for flies or maggots. If you see flies in that area, it is usually evidence of a Flystrike.
Look carefully inside your Peruvians’ ears during bath time. Because of their hair, mites can hide inside their ears, or they could develop an ear infection. When you find these conditions, you’ll be able to take steps to help your pet get rid of these problems.
Bumblefoot is a type of infection on the Peruvians’ feet. It causes sores on their feet. This condition can be caused by not keeping their cages clean, or by not having their toenails trimmed. So, you can help prevent this by clipping your pets’ toenails with specially-made toenail clippers.
You should also be sure to check your pets’ teeth since some Peruvians’ teeth continue growing throughout their whole lives. This can cause discomfort. You will need to take your pet to a qualified veterinarian if you see this problem.
Because of the maintenance these pets need, they are not recommended for beginning pet parents. They need special care, so they are better with experienced pet owners.
Just like humans, a Peruvian guinea pig’s diet greatly impacts its health. They need a balance of vitamins and minerals to thrive and stay healthy.
Peruvian guinea pigs need a high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are especially important for the health of their long hair. They will also need Vitamin C.
Peruvians need a diet including high-quality guinea pig pellets, clean hay, vitamin C snacks, and lots of clean, fresh water. During the summer months, you can add some ice cubes to their water. A Cavies can eat vegetables and greens, but too many fruits can give them too much sugar.
Expert Tip: Peruvian guinea pigs need regular exercise. Their hutches should be large enough to give adequate space for activity. If they don’t get enough exercise, they will get bored. If they do, you may see them chewing on their fur or the fur of another Peruvian in their cage.
Peruvian guinea pigs usually live between 3-8 years. The oldest one so far lived to be 14 years old. This is a longer lifespan than other rodents like hamsters and gerbils.
Because of the length of their fur, Peruvian guinea pigs need to have their hair brushed frequently. You will need to use a bristle brush. Don’t use a metal comb because those would pull too forcefully at their hair and tear it out. You will also need to trim the length of their fur at least once a month.
The animal can feel distressed if a Peruvian’s fur grows too long. You can trim their hair to half its length when you cut it. Cutting its hair will relieve the stress the Peruvian may have felt.
When a female Peruvian guinea pig has babies, her lengthy hair can sometimes prevent the babies from finding her nipples. This is another reason to be sure to keep their hair trimmed neatly.
Always touch your Peruvian very gently and calmly when you cut their hair. This pet can sense your anxiety, which could cause the pet to jump or squirm. If the cavy moves too quickly, it could be injured by the scissors. Since you will be using scissors, you will want to keep your Peruvian as calm as possible when giving them a haircut.
If you know the pet becomes anxious during haircuts, you can ask someone to hold your cavy while cutting their hair. Keep an eye on your Peruvian fur whenever you see them. If their hair gets tangled, this can also cause your pet to feel uncomfortable. If this happens, you should untangle or cut their hair to remove the tangles.
Peruvian guinea pigs need to be cleaned and bathed more often than other guinea pig breeds. Cavies don’t enjoy being bathed, but if you get your Peruvian when they are very young, you can begin bathing them right away.
The sooner they get used to being washed, the better it will be. As they grow older, bath time can eventually be a way to clean your pet and a time for you to bond with them and grow closer.
You should not use human shampoo to wash your Peruvians’ fur. Even baby shampoo is a bit too harsh. There are specially-designed shampoos made for small animals. Ask your vet for a recommendation to be sure. Bathing your Peruvian should be done in lukewarm water, and its face should not be underwater during bath time.
You can use a sponge to clean off your pet for a quick clean-up. This can be comforting during the hot summer months. You can also buy animal cleansing wipes to clean off their faces quickly.
It costs about $20-40 to buy a Peruvian guinea pig. To get the animal, plus its cage and the necessary accessories for its setup will be about $200. You’ll need ceramic bowls for their food, water bottles, hay for their bedding, and guinea pig pellets.
After that, it will cost about $40-60 a month for food, bedding, and occasional visits to the veterinarian. Peruvian guinea pigs need large, comfortable living spaces. The larger the hutch you buy, the better it will be for your pet. They need ample space so they can play and move around.
If you have more than one Peruvian, their hutch needs to be larger. Cavies also enjoy digging in the materials you place inside the hutch. You can add a tunnel and a wire cage for a running area to give your cavy the space it needs.
As you can see, Peruvian guinea pigs are cute, furry, friendly, and excellent pets. They’re fun to watch and very affectionate. They require care, and you’ll need to be sure they stay healthy.
But a Peruvian guinea pig will give you and your family years of fun and devotion, so find one at your pet store and begin a meaningful experience you’ll never forget.