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The wonderful world of guinea pigs

Guinea Pigs could possibly be classed as one of the cuter and cuddlier types of rodent – depending on how you feel about rats and mice!  The origins of their name are unclear, but what is clear is that they are indeed very chatty and very loving little animals and as such can make very good pets for children, and adults alike!  We at Woodlands Animal Sanctuary also take in, unwanted, abandoned and neglected guinea pigs, rehabilitate them, neuter where needed (this unfortunately tends to be more frequently than not) and rehome them to suitable and vetted homes.

As with all the work we do, we do have strict procedures and criteria we follow to ensure, as best as we can, that the new homes the animals in our care set off to are going to be suitable and the best one for each animal as possible.

Domestic Guinea pigs or cavy, as they are sometimes known (Cavia porcellus) are very sociable little critters and as such should be kept in small groups to avoid loneliness which can lead to illness.  As with any animal, big or small they are a big responsibility and commitment, with a life span of potentially nearly up to a decade!  They require a minimum living space of a 6ft hutch with a 6ft run and ideally should be in groups of at least 3 but an absolute minimum of 2.  This is s that should something happen to one guinea, the other is not left on their own.  In the wild, these animals would tend to live in close family groups of between 5-10 individuals, with these groups often living close together to form colonies.  This should help you to understand why we use the above information as part of our criteria to be met when looking to rehome guinea pigs, so please bear this in mind if you wish to rehome from us.

As with a lot of pets, neutering is strongly advised, and as these little guys can reproduce at a similar rate to rabbits, it is not only in their best interest but also yours as a responsible owner if they are done.  Once neutered (generally males) then theoretically any combination of guinea pigs can live together, and because they can be tricky animals to sex, this just make life so much simpler. 

These little guys come in all sorts of colours and both long and short haired coats, with personalities as varied as their coat colours.  So your family of cavy’s can be as unique as you are!

Guinea Pigs are often active for up to 20 hours per day and only sleep for short periods of time, this is something that should be taken into consideration when deciding where to place their living quarters as their chattering and activity could potentially cause you disruption if not.

Although only small in size guinea pigs have a similar digestive tract to horses which means they are grazing animals who require access to certain types and only good quality forage throughout the day and night.  Including hay, fresh succulents in the form of grass/vegetables/herbs, they also need a daily supply of vitamin C, which can be met by feeding grass bases guinea pig pellets fresh daily as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

They are incredibly interesting animals and as such some research should have been undertaken prior to offering a home to them to ensure you are fully able to meet their needs, so that both yourself and the guinea pigs have a quality of life and enjoy you time together.

To find out more about rehoming guinea pigs from us, please visit the Guinea Pigs for Rehoming page.

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Registered Charity: 1108626