Guinea Pigs are not in fact as the name suggests, pigs, they are members of the rodent family more specifically hystricomorphic rodents, related to porcupines and chinchillas. Guinea Pigs or Cavia Porcellus originated in the South American Andes and it is suggested that they are the domesticated descendants of closely related Cavy, Cavia apera, Cavia fulgidia and Cavia Tschudii. Wild guinea pigs tend to be smaller in statue than their domesticated cousin, generally though they have short round legs, are low to the ground and very agile, these are animals which have a vast array of colour, textures and patterns to their coats (www.bioweb.uwlax.edu)
In South America, Guinea pigs inhabit grassy regions, shrubbery and rocky areas and being highly sociable animals, are always in packs. Since they do not store food, they tend to be crepuscular animals being most active during twilight hours to avoid being spotted by predators (Elward & Ruelokke).
Housing a Guinea pig should foremost provide adequate ventilation, ideally built with a solid wooden floor with open wire mesh at the front. Guinea Pigs are naturally shy creatures, prone to panic with loud or unexpected noises, due to this they should also have a covered and separate area for nesting and hiding, this replicates as best possible their natural habitat. Where possible the flooring should be covered with a layer of paper and/or wood shavings, the small particles present in sawdust can easily become wedged into the eye of the animal causing suffering and eventually infection (Richardson 1992). Despite the origin of the species extreme high and low temperatures must be avoided, an average temperature of 16-24 degrees is perfectly adequate. Cages should be kept out of direct sunlight and protected from frost during winter months. (www.ccac.ca)
A diet rich and plentiful in vegetation is best suited to the Guinea pig, most vegetables and fruit are suitable. This herbivorous animal must obtain its vitamin c...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document