Hairless Guinea Pigs: Basic Facts

Guinea pigs can be great pets and are quite social. If cared for properly, they can live up to 10 years but the average is 7 to 8 years. Recently, hairless guinea pigs have become popular choices as pets but they do require some extra care due to their lack of fur. Their environment needs to be kept warm and should never drop below 68 degrees or be above 85 degrees. They also should never be in direct sunlight or near drafts.

Basic Facts:

History: two varieties of hairless guinea pigs: Skinny pig, which does actually have a bit of hair and the Baldwin guinea pig

Size: 8 to 11 inches long

Life Span: Average 7 to 8 years

Grooming: Do not need to brushed but need extra bedding to prevent injury and can get sunburned and are extremely sensitive to temperature changes

Personality: Easy to handle and prefer routines.

Guinea pigs are social creatures who are curious, playful, and mischievous. They may hide inside of an object and will poke their heads out when they see you coming to their cage. They may also grunt, gurgle, or squeak to let you know they are happy. When they are super happy they may “popcorn” or bounce up and squeal for attention.

They have almost no hair on their body but you will find small tufts on their feet and not and some will have some fur on their shoulders. The skin is wrinkled and can come in a variety of patterns and colors. To maintain good health, make sure their diet is balanced and contains Vitamin C. Hairless guinea pigs eat more than their fur covered cousins because their body burns more calories to keep warm. They also need exercise and love to explore so make sure you can give you guinea pig a few hours a day of playtime.

The cage you provide for your guinea pig needs to be big enough to accommodate them, their food and water, bedding, toys, and still have enough room to move around. You should let your pig out to play and these periods of freedom are important to them as it stimulates their mind, body, and keeps them feeling content. Their cage should be at least 7 ft. sq. for one and 12 ft. sq. if you decide on two!

Hairless guinea pigs should never be kept near drafty areas of a house, heaters, radiators, or bright lights. They can have natural light but make sure their cage is not in line of direct sunlight as they can become sunburned or overheated. An overheated guinea pig is an unhappy pig and in extreme cases, they can have a stroke.

If you have allergies to pets, a hairless guinea pig can be your answer to having a buddy without the sniffles!

Guinea Pigs 101: Some Basic Facts

2006 TN State Fair- Guinea PigSo you’ve thought about what pet will work in your house, what pet your kids will enjoy, and it’s come down to getting a guinea pig or two. Before you go and shop the aisles of your local pet store, be aware of a few things about these furry little creatures that make them special and awesome.

1: They are smarter than you think. They know when you’re sleeping, when you’re awake, what type of plastic bag you’re opening, and if you’ve been bad or good… they have a direct line to Santa. Wait, that’s not entirely true. But they can learn what sounds are related to actions and items. Some owners swear that if they open a container that has items for their guinea pigs, that they become excited and look forward to the treat or food. They also can sense the time of day like other pets and know when you’re ready for snuggles, play, and stimulating conversation.

2: Guinea pigs can become bored. They need stimulation, interaction, and to be socialized. Without these things, they may experience depression and become lethargic. This is why many guinea pig enthusiasts and advice columns emphasize that they should be adopted in pairs. They need a buddy to hang out with. Snuggling with their human friends is great too but when you’re not around, at least they have each other.

3: They thrive on routine and having a guinea pig may even help you become more disciplined. They rarely change their habits and if something does change you might see them pacing, scampering, and looking out at you as if to say, “hey, what happened?” If you normally feed them at 8am and then one day don’t, they’ll be wondering what’s going on and will squeak and chatter till breakfast is served. If you change from giving them a carrot to lettuce, they might also protest and squeak at you as if to say, “WHAT? Where’s my carrot?!” Be prepared for long weaning periods when trying to introduce a new food and eliminate an old one.

4: They are sensitive and emotional and need stability. Since they are creatures of habit something as small as changing or moving a toy may throw them into a small tizzy. They can also become easily depressed if they live alone and don’t interact much with their human buddies, their roommate dies or leaves, dirty cage, and bad diet. Once a guinea pig becomes depressed, other problems can start such as health issues. Do what you can to make sure they feel secure, safe, and happy.

5: They need space to run around and it’s recommended that a cage for one be at least 7 sq. ft. and for 2 guinea pigs at least 12 sq. ft. Let those little furballs stretch their legs and move their toys about!

6: Always keep their diet a mix of healthy vegetables and minerals and you’ll have a clean, strong, and happy little guinea pig. No junk food and no booze or wild parties. You don’t need you guinea pig dancing on the table with a lampshade on its head or waking up on the front lawn with a massive hangover. Oh wait, maybe that isn’t your guinea pig so much as your college-aged son.