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SMALLPET / new pets

So, You Want a Pet Guinea Pig?

A fun-sized pet for the classroom or kids’ room!

Overview

Guinea pig 101

Guinea pigs are furry, tailless pets that grow up to be about three pounds. They’re diurnal—so just like you, they sleep at night and are active during the day.

These little guys are social and they thrive on interaction. They enjoy having a companion (just choose one of the same gender) and they can become very attached to their humans.

Guinea pigs come in all shapes and sizes—13 different breeds to be exact—with a range of coat colors and textures. Among the popular breeds:

  • Abyssinian
  • Abyssinian Satin
  • American
  • Coronet
  • Peruvian
  • Silkie
  • Teddy
  • Texel
  • White Crested

Guinea pig diet

Guinea pigs mostly eat hay, supplemented by pellets, vegetables and fruit.

Shop guinea pig food

Guinea pig behavior, sounds and personality

Like any pet, you’ll notice that guinea pigs have adorable quirks and can be very energetic, though a little less than mice or hamsters. They’re chatty too and express themselves via their own special language:

  • 'Motorboat': when content, exploring, or out of their cage, guinea pigs can make a happy noise that sounds a little like a boat engine.
  • 'Purr': a happy reaction to being petted.
  • 'Scream': a frightened sound.
  • 'Squeal': a noise to attract attention or a reaction to pain or distress.
  • 'Rumblestrut': guinea pigs can use a sway, accompanied by a rumble or purr, to intimidate a rival or to attract a mate.
  • 'Popcorn': this animated combination of shaking, leaping and skipping signifies guinea-pig happiness.

Handling and playing with your guinea pig

Always wash your hands before (and after) picking up or petting guinea pigs.

Pick up guinea pigs with both hands, placing one hand under their hind legs and using the other to support their torso. Hold guinea pigs close to your body so they feel secure and keep a firm grip, so they don’t squirm and fall. Try not to squeeze too hard and always supervise children when they hold your pet.

Guinea pig safety tips

Never let guinea pigs roam out of their cages unsupervised.

Guinea pigs like to chew, so be sure to keep them far away from electrical cords and other potential dangers.

Exercise wheels and balls are not recommended for guinea pigs, which are larger than other pet rodents and may injure themselves in these contraptions.