Guinea pigs have been bred by man for more than a thousand years. Their popularity is explained by unpretentiousness, reticence and calm nature. Home pets become the real family members. All get attached to them a lot. Therefore, it is very difficult to lose them. This article describes duration of life of guinea pigs in home conditions, and also advice is given how to determine their age.
Lifetime of small Guinea pigs
Guinea pigs occupy one of the most popular places among pets. They are small and very devoted animals. They get attached to the owner and miss in his absence. Therefore it is interesting to many owners to know duration of life of guinea pigs.
- In nature
In the wild, the lifespan of these small animals depends on the habitat and availability of food. In addition, they are subject to attack of various predators. Therefore, rodents do not live very long. But under favorable conditions, if nothing will threaten their life, they can live up to 10 years.
- In home conditions
Guinea pigs are bred in captivity since ancient times. For example, in the South American tribes, they were breeding pigs to obtaining tasty meat and to be sacrificed. Even now these rodents are considered as a delicacy in Peru and Ecuador. In our area guinea pigs are kept as pets. They are unpretentious and adapt easily to different conditions. These are peaceful and calm animals, which are easily amenable to training.
What determines the life span of guinea pigs at home?
- conditions of keeping;
- genetic predisposition;
- Individual health of pet.
It is almost impossible to affect heredity, but the genetic features of the animal can be taken into account when feeding and maintenance. Generally guinea pigs have good health and good appetite.
Comfortable conditions for keeping of guinea pigs:
- the temperature has to be in a range a from +17 to +21 degree;
- drafts have to be absent;
- a spacious and equipped cage;
- Regular cleaning.
The cage should be equipped with various bridges, transitions and devices for the active movement of rodents.
Each guinea pig should have 1.5 square meters area. The bottom of cage needs to be covered by sawdust or filler, which should be changed regularly. Cleaning of cage should be carried out as much as possible, but at least once a week. For an animal to sleep in a cage, you need to put a special container or pot, which can be covered with a soft fabric to make the pet comfortable to sleep.
The quality of nutrition greatly affects on life expectancy.
The following components should be present in the diet of rodents:
- 20% of juicy food, for example, greens, fruits and vegetables;
- 20% of firm food (corn, grain, peas, etc.);
- 60% of dry food as hay.
Pets should not be overfed because they are tending to obesity. Rodents should always have fresh drinking water.
Guinea pig can live in house conditions from 5 to 10 years. The sedentary way of life in a cage shortens the lifetime of rodents. Therefore, they should be released from the cage for walks for several hours. At the same time, they should be watched; otherwise they can cause trouble in the form of gnawed wires and spoiled slippers.
How many years do the guinea-pigs of different breeds live?
There are more than 50 species of guinea pigs, differing in size, length, structure and a color of wool. Cuy is a rare breed. These rodents are huge in size. Their weight reaches 2-3 kg. The weight of ordinary rodents can be a maximum of 1.8 kg.
On woolen cover they can be divided into naked, long-haired and short-haired. Longhaired breeds differ not only in color, but also in the length and direction of the wool. They are very beautiful and are appreciated for their woolen cover. This breed includes: Sheltie, Peruvian, Coronet, Merino, Texel, and Alpaco.
Shorthair breeds have a wide color palette and a different structure of wool. Their representatives are the following breeds: Satin, Self, Dalmatian, White Crested, Agouti, Rex, Teddy, Abyssinian, etc.
There are two breeds of hairless guinea pigs: Baldwin and Skinny. Baldwin has appeared due to an amusing mutation. Later the breed was formed by related crossing. Skinny appeared due to experiments of dermatologists. The first animals were light-colored with red eyes and completely bald. Other colorings of rodents were then obtained by crossing with other breeds.
Initially, hairless pigs lived not very long due to weak immunity. Skinny was a stronger breed. It is rare and expensive breed. They live from 5 to 8 years. In a room where hairless pets are kept, the temperature should be maintained within the range of +22 to +24 degrees.
The life expectancy of guinea pigs depends on their breed and the conditions in which they are kept. It varies from 6 to 10 years. A long-liver that lived 15 is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records
Abyssinian guinea pigs live about 6 years. This breed is known for their “rosettes”, which cowlicks are growing from the coat. The more “rosettes” are available, the more valuable the breed. They require special conditions of breeding and belong to hard-to-breed species. The Satin and Dalmatian breeds live about 7.5 years.
Diseases and their impact on life expectancy
Health is one of major factors of longevity. If the animal is healthy, then the duration of its life will depend on proper care and comfortable living. Guinea pigs do not need vaccinations, but they can be done when they move to a new place of residence in order to protect the animal from possible diseases.
Rodents themselves take care of their hair. You do not need often to bathe a pet, you can do it when it gets dirty: it’s enough once a week. If there is a suspicion of the presence of fleas or lice, then you should not withdraw them yourself, it is better to contact the veterinarian. Various diseases can reduce the lifespan of animals. It is important to define in time that the pet is sick and show it to the veterinarian.
Signs of a diseased animal are:
- lack of appetite;
- the pig seeks to hide, lies constantly in the corner;
- the appearance of shortness of breath, wheezing;
- heavy breathing;
- a pet begins to drink more often or refuses water;
- diarrhea, dry stools or lack of it;
- excretions from eyes and nose;
- loss of hair;
- matted wool on the stomach;
- ulcers on a body;
- cavy is scratched intensely.
You should immediately consult a doctor when signs of a disease appear. If you do not go to a vet clinic for a long time, the disease can be started. Then the treatment will demand more time and money, and may end in a lethal outcome.
How to determine the age of guinea pig?
It is necessary to choose a rodent especially carefully. When choosing an animal, it is important to consider not only the health of the individual. Since rodents live not so long, it is necessary to select a young animal. To do this, you need to know how to determine the age of the guinea pig.
Of course, the easiest way to know the age of an animal is to ask the seller. But a dishonest seller can deceive you with the purpose to sell an aged animal. Therefore, it is desirable to be able to independently determine the age of the rodent.
The main criterion by which it is possible to determine the age of a rodent is its weight. Usually in the market come young animals at the age of 3-4 weeks. By this time, its weight reaches 400-500 g. At this age, the weight of the guinea pig cannot be greater, no matter how much cavy cannot eat. Cavies reach full puberty at the age of 15 months. At this age, their weight is 1.0-1.9 kg for males, 0.7-1.0 kg for females.
Rodents begin to lose weight in old age, as the exchange processes slow down and the animal eats less. Therefore, you can make a mistake when choosing a young animal, focusing on weight only. There are secondary signs that you need to pay attention to. Young individuals have a thick hair, which has a bright color, does not fall out and does not grow dim. Old animals may have problems with a skin and claws of hinder legs.