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View Full Version : Tell me about your your guinea pig.



jennifer75
06-05-2008, 07:40 PM
I want to get my son a pet. We live in an apartment, with no patio or balcony. So there would be no sunshine available except for what comes in the window. Fresh air would be available obviously. Is this a raelistic environment for a guinea pig?

What are their personalities like? Are they hostile like those pesky Hamsters? Are they friendly? Trainable?

If you don't think a guinea pig is a wise choice for a 6 year olds first pet, throw an idea at me. We already have a fish. And I'm scared of small rodents and the mites they can carry. I want something he can hold. Am I giving hamsters a bad rap? Ferrets are illegal in California or I'd get one without even knowing their traits...they're so cute.

Willowmound
06-05-2008, 07:53 PM
Guinea pigs are pointless. You could keep them in a shoe.

;)

Only slightly kidding.

WendyNYC
06-05-2008, 08:04 PM
They are nocturnal. It's fine if you don't mind hearing little squealy grunts all night.

I don't think they are trainable, more like a big gerbil.

Willowmound
06-05-2008, 09:31 PM
They can't bend their necks and they die of they fall off the sofa.

wombat
06-06-2008, 02:24 AM
I wrote an article about this a while ago and this is what I got out of my research:

Guinea pigs are less nippy than hamsters. Their main disadvantage is that they pee more than hamster and so have to be cleaned more often if they're not going to be stinky.

No one I talked to suggested that small rodents get more mites than guinea pigs. Where did you get your information? If that's not really a problem, and you can tolerate a smaller rodent, gerbils are less nippy than hamsters and pee less than guinea pigs.

But for a six year old, a guinea pig is probably easier and more fun to hold than a smaller animal.And actually guinea pigs are not nocturnal, which is another advantage. I would suggest checking out some of the guinea pig rescue sites on the web for care information.

Aside from the information from experts - I have kept guinea pigs, dwarf hamsters, and chinchillas, and have worked with mice. Out of all of these I thought guinea pigs were the most pleasant.

But have you considered rats? People who keep rats are absolutely crazy about them. They are extremely intelligent and trainable.

wombat
06-06-2008, 02:40 AM
Another point - when you ask if guinea pigs are trainable, what do you mean exactly? What do you want to train them to do?

GPs can definitely learn. Ours learned that the sound of the refrigerator door meant he was going to get celery, for instance.

But here's the thing I have learned as a pet owner and in jobs taking care of a wide variety of species: Smart animals are more trouble. They need more entertainment and they can think of a lot more ways to make trouble. Sure, they are more rewarding in some ways, but there is a price to be paid.

My smart dog just refused to come in the house when offered a cookie, but came when I offered pizza. The dopey one comes no matter what I say. When I took care of monkeys I had to spend a fair amount of work time making things for them to play with and repairing things they had messed with. When I have worked with frogs... not so much.

Rats are smart. GPs are cute and kind of dopey. Which is not necessarily a bad thing especially for a pet for a small child.

StephanieFox
06-06-2008, 04:20 AM
Guinea pigs are great pets. I had mostly long-haired pigs and a couple of pigs with little tufts – I forget the name. They are not tiny like hamsters. I used to take my when I went on weekend trips. I would stop at rest stops and let the pigs walk around in the grass. People thought they were dogs.

They make noises "Quweee quwee" when they want something. They will quickly learn to make this noise every time you open the fridge.

If you get one pig, you should get it a friend but don't put a boy and girl together unless they've been fixed or you'll have a lot of pigs around very soon. They need special guinea pig food (Purina make some) because, like humans, they do not make their own vit. C. They also like fresh fruit and veggies.

They are dumb as posts but are sweet. I never had one try to bite me. They will sit on your lap. They don't try to run away. You can pet them and they will like it. They do need activities; I made a two-room cage for them and they liked going from room to room. They don't do the wheel thing, though.

I highly recommend guinea pigs as pets if you can't have a larger animal. I had pigs in college when they were my only option and I'd have them again except that my husband is allergic.

Oh, one other thing. There are guinea pig shows, just like (well, kinda like) dog shows. I never got into them, but there are some serious guinea pig people out there, at least in the American Midwest.

There are several kinds; long-haired, short-haired and the tufted ones and they come in several colors like albino, white (w/ black eyes), golden, orange, dark brown, black and once in a while, multi-colored. I would recommed wither the tufted or long-haired.

jannawrites
06-06-2008, 07:29 AM
I'll just chime in with further comment that they're loud. At least, mine was. Harvey was a squeaker and grunter at all hours of the day. Still, he was very cute. And low-maintenance. I know a lot of rodents, like hamsters, live very short lives - which can be tough on kids. I'm not sure if the same applies to pigs, but it's worth looking into.

Good luck! :)

5KidsMom
06-06-2008, 07:31 AM
My 11 year old son currently owns 4 guinea pigs. He got his first piggie when he was 5 years old. They are excellent pets.

Piggies are very social critters and do like to have a friend. If you are going to house 2 together, please make sure the cage is big enough - 24" by 24" is bare minimum for 2 pigs. If you end up with a boy and a girl, you can house them in separate cages but bump them up next to each other so they can talk.

They will talk! Piggies like to chatter. They also whistle and squeak. They make a noise similar to a police siren if they want something.

Guinea pigs need large amounts of vitamin C. The special guinea pig food, according to our vet, really isn't all that helpful because vitamin C dissipates so easily. He advised getting the chewable vitamin C tablets and either dissolving them in the piggies' water or feeding them as treats. All of our piggies like their vitamin C and eat them without complaint. As long as you're making sure they get enough vitamin C, pellets aren't really necessary, although they are more convenient. Piggies can be fed nothing but fresh fruits and vegetables, including many things like dandelion and plantain that most likely grow in your yard.

Piggies are definitely easier for a small child to hold than a hamster or gerbil. They are fragile little creatures, though, and can be severely injured if dropped. A small child should be seated with the pig in his or her lap rather than walking around carrying it. They enjoy being held, although a new pig will probably be a little squirmy until he gets used to being handled.

Edited to add that the average life span of a guinea pig is 5-6 years.

wombat
06-06-2008, 05:45 PM
As for life span, I knew someone who had one that lived into its teens. While a short-lived animal can be tough on kids, a really long-lived one can be tough on the mom who has to take care of it once the kids have left for college... so better make sure you think it's cute too.

Also, please look for a rescue instead of buying. Their longer lifespan is part of the reason so many end up in rescue - they don't die before the kids get tired of them.

Willowmound
06-06-2008, 08:45 PM
No one should ever get a pet for the kids. They should get a pet for the family. For the reasons outlined above by wombat.

jennifer75
06-06-2008, 09:44 PM
No one I talked to suggested that small rodents get more mites than guinea pigs. Where did you get your information?

Actually I based that on my own experience with mice. BUT, and it's a big but...I wasn't on top of cleaning the cage regularly. So they had mites, little creepy white bugs all over the sides of the cage.



But for a six year old, a guinea pig is probably easier and more fun to hold than a smaller animal.And actually guinea pigs are not nocturnal, which is another advantage. I would suggest checking out some of the guinea pig rescue sites on the web for care information.

Already have, and they've already contacted me. Just waiting for the final ok and to find out where and when, etc.



Aside from the information from experts - I have kept guinea pigs, dwarf hamsters, and chinchillas, and have worked with mice. Out of all of these I thought guinea pigs were the most pleasant.

But have you considered rats? People who keep rats are absolutely crazy about them. They are extremely intelligent and trainable.


A coworker told me this also, "get a rat". To me, rats are gross. But of course that is based on every disgusting rat in cartoons, mainly I think Templeton gave rats a bad rap.

They creep me out also. The tail is really too much for me to handle. I don't know. Guineas are cute. Rats are beaty, sniffy, fast, and have creepy feet. I can't see holding a rat.

jennifer75
06-06-2008, 09:51 PM
As for life span, I knew someone who had one that lived into its teens. While a short-lived animal can be tough on kids, a really long-lived one can be tough on the mom who has to take care of it once the kids have left for college... so better make sure you think it's cute too.

Also, please look for a rescue instead of buying. Their longer lifespan is part of the reason so many end up in rescue - they don't die before the kids get tired of them.

Yes, I am in contact with a rescue now. I will be looking for two females, I'd prefer them to be younger than older.

I'm so excited! I think it will be a great pet for me, I mean my son. hehe.

auntybug
06-06-2008, 09:54 PM
Jen - Rats rock! I've had a few. Used to take one roller blading w/ me all the time. I'd have them again - hubby said no.

I've had 5 over the course of several years. They all died of some sort of cancer at about 6 years old. I never believed things really caused cancer in people because of the test results on rats...I think the poor bastids just croak....

jennifer75
06-06-2008, 10:00 PM
Jen - Rats rock! I've had a few. Used to take one roller blading w/ me all the time. I'd have them again - hubby said no.

I've had 5 over the course of several years. They all died of some sort of cancer at about 6 years old. I never believed things really caused cancer in people because of the test results on rats...I think the poor bastids just croak....

Show me a cute cuddly rat.

auntybug
06-06-2008, 10:03 PM
Show me a cute cuddly rat.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb169/auntybug/rat.jpg

wombat
06-06-2008, 10:07 PM
I wouldn't normally do this but... you have to read my rat story!
http://www.lindalombardi.com/clips/Rats_Nashuatelegraph.pdf

But I think you'll love the pigs, I think they are great animals.

jennifer75
06-06-2008, 10:58 PM
I wouldn't normally do this but... you have to read my rat story!
http://www.lindalombardi.com/clips/Rats_Nashuatelegraph.pdf

But I think you'll love the pigs, I think they are great animals.

See, the two in the picture on this article, are actually cute. Cause they look fat and furry. I think size would be a huge factor if I decide to get a rat. I want plump. Not skinny. Skinny is icky.

Soccer Mom
06-08-2008, 11:07 PM
Rats make great pets. I had a Hooded Rat named Templeton and he was terrific. Piggies are also great pets and much more loveable than hamsters. Rabbits also make great apartment pets. I have two house rabbits and they are litter box trained.

smallthunder
06-09-2008, 02:43 AM
Rats make great pets. I had a Hooded Rat named Templeton and he was terrific. Piggies are also great pets and much more loveable than hamsters. Rabbits also make great apartment pets. I have two house rabbits and they are litter box trained.

I was wondering if anybody would mention rabbits ...

Not me, though. Rats all the way!

I used to work "running rats" (in mazes) in the psych labs at Johns Hopkins when I was an undergraduate. Right before I graduated, there was going to be a large-scale euthanasia -- so the brains of the subject rats could be sliced and diced and examined. But the "control" rats were also going to be killed off ... so, before I left campus, I "liberated" a rat. As well as "liberating" a cage and some food.

That rat -- "Ratticus" by name -- was THE greatest pet. Sociable, inquisitive, clever (hey, he was a Johns Hopkins "graduate", after all). He'd have the run of the house ... ah, the pitter-patter of little rat feet on hardwood floors ... nothing like it.

My sister freaked, at first, because of the tail-thing -- but she, and her boyfriend, warmed up to Ratticus, too. So much so that that her boyfriend was watching TV and eating leftover pizza with Ratticus -- per usual -- when it turned out that the pizza was a little TOO leftover. The boyfriend got very sick with food poisoning -- Ratticus, alas, died. Rats can't vomit, you know.

ideagirl
06-17-2008, 11:58 PM
My brother and I had guinea pigs probably from the time we were 6 and 8 to when we were about 13. This required several guinea pigs, since their life span is typically only about 3 years. We loved them. They're super-cute and can be held, and they're a good size for kids--better than something much smaller. I think I was bitten maybe twice in all the years we had them (and we had lots of them--we put a boy and girl in a cage together, and voila).

If you want to show your kid the Magic of Childbirth, get a boy and girl guinea pig; baby guinea pigs are very low-maintenance--they're up and running around and eating solid food within 24 hours after birth. And you may be able to sell them to your local pet store (don't count on this, though--ask and make sure).

If you don't want to deal with babies, two girls can share a cage and keep each other company. Two boys don't deal well with sharing a cage, and often with any kind of rodent, the males have very... um... PUNGENT urine. (This is more of a problem with mice and rats, but could be an issue with guinea pigs too.)

At certain periods in childhood I also had single guinea pigs in cages. That works too. You don't have to get two.

veinglory
06-18-2008, 12:07 AM
Guinea pigs are nice but dim. The make cute sounds and need company (get at least 2). Rats are better.

jennifer75
06-18-2008, 12:23 AM
Guinea Pigs are on hold for the moment. It took my fishy needing medical attention for me to realize I am not prepared for the vet bills that can accompany a pair of guineas. I'll hold off until I am better suited, and have a little more room for the cage that would be needed to comfortably house 2 guineas.

Thank you all for your advice and tips!

Polenth
06-19-2008, 01:58 AM
See, the two in the picture on this article, are actually cute. Cause they look fat and furry. I think size would be a huge factor if I decide to get a rat. I want plump. Not skinny. Skinny is icky.

Healthy rats are naturally fat and fluffy. On television, they slick down their fur with gel to de-cute them. It's not what they really look like.