Happy Halloween!

Some frighteningly funny and seriously spooky facts about guineas…

  • Guinea pigs eat their soft droppings, known as coprophagy, to obtain vitamins not taken in the first time around.
  • Guinea pigs frequently live until 6 years, and more and sometimes to 9 or even more!
  • Some guineas are great hairdressers and will give their friends a haircut. Often they make a good job of trimming a fringe into a longer haired guinea pig.
  • The cost of veterinary care is truly scary. Probably the most expensive in the South of England, you would be fortunate to walk away with change from £40 (including meds) at a guinea pig friendly practice in Reading for example…
  • Guineas love hay! And those that haven’t already got wicked hairstyles often emerge from a pile of hay with hair sticking up and hay lodged in peculiar places. Check boars for bedding lodged in boar’s bits… Often it is painful and the boar will sit hunched in the corner…
  • Pups become sexually fertile at a frighteningly young age! Boars need to be removed from Mum and sisters at 3 weeks, they become fertile from 3-5 weeks! Sows become fertile from 4-6 weeks! Get on the case, they don’t hang around when it comes to maturing!
  • Some guineas sleep with eyes open and so still you are convinced they are dead! Very worrying for their Human who has to touch them just to make sure all is OK…
  • It is scary that some poor guinea pigs have to live outside (not in a shed, a hutch that is outside) in the winter. Even “sheltered spots” become too cold and damp for them. We’ve done the temperature test!
  • Guinea pigs love raw beetroot as a treat and their little mouths become all red stained around the outside.
  • Their top lip splits into 2 up to their nose.
  • Guineas have bald spots behind their ears! Scary for those that aren’t expecting it!
  • Guineas have 20 teeth altogether. 4 Incisors and 16 molars with a gap in between called the diastema which is where the canine teeth are on carnivorous animals. They need hay and lots of it to wear them down or they will overgrow into the sides of the cheek and opposing gums… If a guinea pigs tooth breaks (maybe due to being dropped) It will eventually grow back, keep a check that guinea is able to eat as before.
  • An abscess the size of a golfball can happen over night! Lancing by your vet and flushing twice daily using a syringe, sterile solution and canula is needed.
  • Some people are still using and recommending the use of shavings when there are safe alternatives! Wood based products are likely to leave the skin prone to fungal problems or irritate existing skin problems, why chance it? Pets At Home have recognised this and changed their rats to a safer paper bedding but not the guineas! Time for a freakishly good change we think.
  • Bladderstones in guinea pigs are quite common. Very scary indeed if a guinea has bladder stones, finding the reason is not possible, maximising good health by feeding a Calcium to Phosphorus balanced diet and giving extra fluids (15mls three or four times daily) are two easily doable changes but have no guarantees, stones may come back (some inherit bladder issues) or may not… See Ratewatchers: http://www.guineapigwelfare.org.uk/ratewatchers/ for dietry advice.
  • Chirping like a bird is something a few guinea pigs do and no one knows the real reason why they do it. There are theories about it being a warning signal. Often the other guinea pigs around the chirper will freeze while the chirping is happening.
  • Aggressive and “bitey”/”naughty” guineas are so for a reason.  Biting and nibbling is relatively rare in guinea pigs but, like any other animal, when they do bite/nibble it’s for a reason. It may be out of fear or an expression or communication. For example many guineas will indicate that they need to get off your lap because they’ve had enough or need a toilet break. 
  • Mites can appear overnight and need treating promptly. Treatment from your vet is required. An Ivermectin product is needed on day one and day ten with a bath inbetween to get rid of eggs and dead parasites in a www.gorgeousguineas.co.uk shampoo. 
  • DAMP is Guinea Pig Enemy number 1!!!! The period between Autumn and Summer is particularly dangerous and humans need to pay attention the grass and ground underfoot in particular. Whilst we may feel that the weather is still mild and warm enough though must be given to the fact that guineas carry their bodies close to the ground and their little tummies will get damp. Pneumonia sets in very easily in guinea pigs and takes hold quickly, often it is fatal. DAMP is a killer, dont risk it.
october grass

DAMP! Guinea pig enemy number one. Guineas put on damp grass run the very real risk of catching pneumonia.

How scary are these two!!! 😀