Among rodents, guinea pigs are recognized long-livers. Under natural conditions, they can live up to 10 years, but this happens extremely rarely.
We will find out how you can increase the life expectancy of a guinea pig and how to determine its age when buying.
How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live?
These funny rodents were brought to the European continent from faraway South America. The fluffy animals were so cute that they immediately won the sympathy of Europeans and settled in their homes.
People were attracted not only by their appearance but also by their lifespan. Compared to the usual hamsters, which live only 2-3 years, guinea pigs delight their owners 3 times longer.
In the wild, guinea pigs live up to 5 years. The time allowed by nature is interrupted by predators who like to feast on a well-fed rodent. In captivity, the average life span is 5–8 years. But the age limit directly depends on the variety. Some decorative breeds barely live up to 5 years.
Interesting! The habitat of long-lived rodents is foggy England. World records for age were set by a hamster (19 years old), a guinea pig (14 years 10 months) and a domestic mouse (7 years 7 months).
Guinea Pigs Longevity Factors
The lifespan of guinea pigs at home depends on care and nutrition. But the owners should remember that pets at any age need communication and attention. Loneliness leads to prolonged stress and shortens the life of the animal.
Conditions of detention
Guinea pigs love to eat tasty and satisfying food, lie on a soft bedding. The owners will have to stimulate the physical activity of the animals:
- pick up a spacious cage or build an aviary;
- arrange a play area (tunnels, balls with bells);
- organize a walk around the apartment.
There should be no drafts in the room where the pet lives. The air temperature should be kept at the level of 64-71 ºF, for bald gilts a comfortable mode – 71-75 ºF.
Compliance with good hygiene practices prolongs the life of guinea pigs. The pet’s ears and eyes should be examined once a week. If the pup cannot clean them itself, then it’s gently helped. The coat of a guinea pig, especially a long-haired one, is combed out with a special comb.
They bathe the animals as the fur gets dirty. Guinea pigs of all ages love to soak up in warm water. Bath procedures are carried out in a draft-free room. After the bath, the guinea pig is wrapped in a towel to absorb excess moisture. Finally, the fur is dried with a warm jet of air from a hairdryer.
Guinea pigs cannot cope with claw grooming on their own. Long claws twist into spirals, prevent the pet from moving, and can lead to deformation of the fingers. Trim the excess with nail clippers, which are sold in pet stores.
Rodents cannot go without food for a long time. Digested foods are not removed from the intestines until a new portion of food enters them. Pieces of food are constantly pushing each other through the digestive tract.
But to go to the other extreme and overfeed the pet is also not worth it. The amount of food should correspond to the following proportions:
- grain feed – 60%;
- dry hay – 20%;
- juicy vegetables, fruits, herbs – 20%.
Guinea pigs are unable to synthesize vitamin C. Owners will have to use vitamin C supplements. It is convenient to add a few drops of ascorbic acid to drinking water.
Proper care and diet will not be able to increase the life span of the animal if the genetic code is violated. Pups who are born from old or sick parents live a short life.
When buying a pig, it is almost impossible to visually determine the presence of the disease. You can protect yourself from a surprise at the pet store, where experienced breeders deliver pups. They present a document that contains information about the parents.
The immune system of rodents is able to cope with many problems, but it can also fail. The following symptoms should be an alarming signal for the owners:
- coughing, sneezing;
- lethargy, drowsiness;
- hair loss;
- refusal of food.
Seeing your veterinarian early will increase your pet’s chances of recovery. The specialist will not only prescribe medications but also help organize the space in which the guinea pig lives.
Important! A veterinary check-up will help keep your pet healthy. Some diseases do not make themselves felt for a long time, and only a specialist can identify them.
Influence of the breed
Breeders have bred fifty varieties of guinea pigs. But the lifespan of decorative animals, in comparison with their wild counterparts, has significantly decreased:
- Shorthaired breeds live the longest. The average life expectancy is 8 years.
- Long-haired pigs, with proper care, live up to 7 years.
- Hairless animals are most susceptible to diseases, so they manage to live for about 5 years.
Important! Breeders are trying to improve hairless breeds to give pets a longer life. The first representatives of bald rodents had weak immunity. But over time, their health improved, and how many years guinea pigs live without coat is quite comparable with other breeds.
How To Determine The Age Of A Guinea Pig
Experienced owners know that it is better to acquire individuals under 2 years old. Young people get used to new living conditions more easily, and they have much fewer health problems. You can find out the age of a guinea pig by visual inspection. This method will not give an exact date of birth, but it will help to distinguish a young individual from an old one.
- Dimensions. Monthly animals weigh only 500 g, adults by one and a half years reach a mass of 2-5 pounds for males and 1.75-2.5 pounds for females.
- Coat. Young rodents boast a silky and shiny coat. Over the years, places are formed on the surface of the body where the wool stops growing. The more bald patches the pet has, the older it is.
- Teeth. Young people easily chew on solid food with even and snow-white teeth. With age, teeth acquire a yellowish tint and grind unevenly.
- The claws of juveniles are even and sharp. Over the years, the claws turn into keratinized plates that twist into spirals.
Important! You can determine the age of a pet by its behavior. Young rodents are distinguished by their stupid curiosity, they fuss and play noisily. Activity diminishes over the years because older animals prefer to lie on soft bedding.
Table Of Correspondence Between The Age Of A Pet And A Human
|Human||The guinea pig|
Comparison of the age of humans and other animals is rather arbitrary. It is believed that 1 year of life of a guinea pig accounts for 10-11 human years.
How To Extend The Life Of A Guinea Pig
The age of the rodent directly depends on the conditions of its habitat. At home, the owners are responsible for the quality of life of the pet. Older guinea pigs require more attention because health problems arise with age.
A balanced diet and a warm cage are only half the battle. It’s important to make sure your guinea pig doesn’t feel lonely. If you do not have enough time to play, then it is better to have a pair of your pet.
Important! You cannot settle two males on the same territory. They will constantly conflict, arrange fights. Two females will make great friends and will co-host in the cage until old age.
The longevity of the guinea pig directly depends on the care of the owner. A properly composed diet, hygiene, physical activity will help the fluffy pet live to a venerable age. Do not forget about the rodent’s leisure time, because love and communication often work wonders.