Guinea pigs are rodents, which means that they belong to the same family as mice, rats and rabbits. The word ‘rodent’ comes from a Latin word which means ‘to gnaw’. Guinea pigs have to continually gnaw because their front teeth never stop growing! That’s why we make sure they have sticks and logs to gnaw on, as well as crunchy fresh food such as carrots and cabbage stalks.
Guinea pigs have no tail and are particularly popular pets. They are awake during the day and are really sociable. In fact, they can become very tame and cuddly if handled frequently from birth. If not, they will be rather shy and tricky to catch! They make a distinctive squeak sound, which can mean they are hungry, scared or excited. When they are cuddled and stroked, they make a quiet chatter or purring noise. They need to eat hay, and fresh fruit and vegetables every day, as well as the mixes and pellets which you see in their feed-bowl.
Guinea pigs can live for 4 to 8 years and are easy to breed from. They usually have multiple births and the babies are perfectly formed when they are born and just look like miniature versions of the adult.