Sunday, January 12, 2014

Guinea Pig Myths Debunked!

I know I did a post like this a year ago....but after getting my own piggie, I wanted to be more thorough. I will include the pasted myths I had in the past, but also some new ones, as well.

Myth: Male guinea pigs can't live together.
Fact: Not true. While it is a bit more difficult to bond two or more males than it is females, they can live together fine. If the cage is big enough, that is. The minimum cage size for two male guinea pigs is 3 feet by two feet, but it could be bigger. Sleeping huts should be bought in pairs, as well as food bowls to avoid pig fights.

Myth: Guinea pigs only live three years.

Fact: The average life span of a guinea pig is between six and eight years, but guinea pigs have lived longer.

Myth: Guinea Pigs can live in aquariums.

Fact: Guinea pigs can get sick easily, so this is not an option, because ammonia can build up in the tank, and it does not have good ventilation. Guinea pigs also have a lot of stress, and clear glass surrounding them can frighten them. A better choice would be a wire cage. Not only is it safe for them, it also has a protective feel to it, since most piggies do not like the feel of open-ness all around them.

Myth: Guinea Pigs are great for Easter or birthday gifts.

Fact: Live animals like guinea pigs should never be a gift for anyone. Pet owners should do research on the animal, and then the family will go out and choose the pet together. In the "Easter Situation," the adult will likely buy a guinea pig and put it in an Easter basket. Although it will be exciting for the child the first few hours, he will soon lose interest, leaving the pet in a bad living situation like a cardboard box. Also, the age of the child could determine whether the guinea pig is or isn't treated fairly. The adult will probably leave the child on his own with the guinea pig, and not teach him the proper way to hold him or take care of his needs. This also follows the "Easter Bunny" problem. Thousands of "Easter Bunnies" are bought every Easter-time, only to have them be neglected the rest of their lives in a hutch or other place not acceptable as a living area. If you are going to get a guinea pig or rabbit for a birthday or Easter, go out and buy the pet as a family, and do plenty of research.

Myth: Guinea Pigs and Rabbits can live together in harmony.

Fact: Although a brief playtime session is fine for a guinea pig and rabbit, you should never leave them together in a cage. Why?

  • Rabbits can be "bullies" to other smaller pets, and they will most likely try to hog the food, water and hay. Some rabbits have thumped a guinea pig with its back feet, causing paralysis in the guinea pig. Other have starved to death from the rabbits eating all the food.
  • Guinea pigs have different needs like food and nesting boxes. Rabbits could get sick from the guinea pig food, and vice versa.

Myth: Small Guinea Pig, small cage...

Fact: Guinea pigs, like rabbits, need a lot of area for different things. Food, water, hay, sleeping, potty area...... A big cage is better for a guinea pig! This myth has a lot of facts I have to offer, but it would be too much to put here. Here are some links instead about big cages for guinea pigs. 

Links about C&C cages:
(Psst! This is a really good link!!)

And here is a link to my own blog about proper housing for guinea pigs. Click!

So, if you bothered to read those links, you probably understand the importance of a BIG cage for a pig! 

Myth: Guinea Pigs can be held by the scruff of the neck.

Fact: Wrong! You may have seen vets or professionals say to hold animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and rats by their scruff, but this is so not right. Although mother guinea pigs do hold their babies this way, this is because they cannot grab the bodies in their teeth because they would get hurt. In many books they say that it doesn't hurt animals to hold them in this way, because they have hardly any nerves there, and this part is true. The pinching of the neck doesn't hurt the guinea pig, but the feeling of being suspended in the air can hurt a guinea pig from wiggling so much. Animals should be held close to your body, with your one hand supporting the bulk of its weight, and the other wrapped gently around his chest. Back injuries could occur from the guinea pig trying to get down by wiggling his body, and he could be dropped. Also teach children the right way to hold them. Tell them that instead of squeezing and cuddling, you have to let them be treated with care. Always supervise children under 6 when holding and playing with a guinea pig. A good idea is to sit on the floor and let the guinea pig crawl on his or her lap versus picking him up since he could be dropped easily.

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