As a guinea pig owner, you no doubt have a keen interest in learning about their origins, habits, behaviours and characteristics. Here are 7 interesting facts about guinea pigs.

1. Herd animals

Guinea pigs are herd animals – that is, their wild ancestors used to live together in groups called herds. As such, guinea pigs are very social creatures and do not do very well in solitary situations. Consider purchasing more than one guinea pig rather than a solitary pig. Two pigs is only slightly more work than one and your pigs will be very much healthier and happier if they live in the company of other cavies.

2. Mix them up

When housing two pigs together, a male and female couple make the best combination – just be sure at least one of them is “fixed” or you will soon be looking at your own private herd. Two females are the next best choice and almost always get along. Two males can sometimes be confrontational and aggressive toward each other unless they were raised together. Be very cautious when introducing two boars to each other as they may not initially get along.

3. They love human company

As social animals, guinea pigs also enjoy the company of human companions. Your cavy may be shy at first and hide from you – that’s okay. Remember that this was a very useful trait out in the wild where almost everything they encountered was trying to eat them. If you are gentle and affectionate with your pet, they will in time, come to enjoy being petted and spending time with you.

4. Come down to their level

As you interact with your pigs, try to do so at their level. Make an attempt to avoid towering over them as you stand near their cage. Remember, in the wild all predators came at them from above. They were assaulted by either ground-dwelling animals that loomed above them, or birds of prey that struck from out of the sky. On the other hand, friends and companions approached them at their own level.

5. Regular exercise

Just like humans, guinea pigs need regular exercise. In general, standard pet store cages are too confining and are the equivalent of you or I spending our entire lives living in a bathroom. Larger cages – especially C&C (cubes and Coroplast) cages are preferred by many today and are a much healthier environment for your piggies. Click on the Link in the resource box below for extensive information on C&C cages. Good guidelines for cage size are to allow between six and seven square feet for a single pig and at least 7.5 square feet for two pigs living together. When it comes to living space, more is better.

6. Vitamin C

Humans and guinea pigs share a common physiological trait. Neither can manufacture vitamin C within the body. Unlike many other mammals who synthesize vitamin C from glucose in the body, humans and your cavies are both missing a particular critical enzyme needed to carry out this process. Thus, guinea pigs and humans must both satisfy their vitamin C requirements through external sources.

7. Fruit and veg

Guinea pigs like to eat many kinds of fruits and vegetables. Generally the darker and richer coloured a fruit or vegetable is, the more vitamins and nutrients it contains and the better it is for your cavy. In general, avoid pale light-coloured items like iceberg lettuce which provide only empty calories.

Guinea pigs are cute and lovable animals that make wonderful pets. They are generally good natured and relatively easy to care for. The seven facts presented describe just a few of the behaviors and characteristics that make the guinea pig such an endearing and lovable animal.

Source by Bob Matthews