Sunday, August 18, 2013

Facts About Silkie Guinea Pigs and Abyssinian Guinea Pigs

Intro
Silkie and Abyssinian guinea pigs are friendly, active little fellows, which greet you with excited squeaks when you visit them. The main difference between a Silkie and Abyssinian guinea pig is their hairstyles. The Silkie and Abyssinian diet, behavior and communication methods are the same as the other 11 breeds of guinea pigs recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association.
Silkie Guinea Pig by Christine Majul

Silkie Guinea Pig
The unique characteristic of the Silkie guinea pig (Caviidae porcellus) is his soft, silky, floor length hair. It you enjoy brushing hair, then the Silkie would be a good match for you. Silkie guinea pigs need their hair brushed daily to keep it free of mats, bedding pieces and food remnants. In England, Sheltie is another name for a Silkie guinea pig.  

Abyssinian Guinea Pig by Just Chaos
Abyssinian Guinea Pig
One of the most popular guinea pig breeds, the Abyssinian has whorls of hair on both shoulders, across the back, on both hips and on his rump. The thick, rough hair grows to 1.5 inches. You can keep your Abyssinian’s short coat healthy with weekly brushing to remove dander, bedding particles and food. 

General Facts
There’s a color for everyone when it comes to guinea pigs. You can choose white, red, black, chocolate and sandy in striped patterns, tricolors or bicolor . A guinea pig lives from five to seven year but can live one or two years longer with good nutrition and veterinarian visits. A healthy guinea pig should weigh from 1.5 to 2.5 pounds and grow to 8 or 9 inches.Guinea pigs are small, inquisitive pets with big personalities.

Diet
When feeding your guinea pig, keep in mind that he needs to eat constantly. Don’t let his small size fool you. Unlike dogs or cats that you feed once or twice per day, a guinea pig’s speedy metabolism keeps him munching all day. Providing a nutritious, vitamin rich diet of high-fiber plant food, such as hay, leafy greens, vegetables and guinea pig pellets will keep your guinea pig happy and healthy . One unknown fact to many new guinea pig owners is that these little guys eat about 40 percent of their own poop, according to veterinarian, Anne Fawcett . This is normal and provides your guinea pig with healthy bacteria for digestion, although many guinea pig owners are squeamish about this habit.

Communication

Guinea pigs are very vocal. You will hear your guinea pig chirp, purr, rumble, squeak, chatter, whistle and whine  When your guinea pig squeals or squeaks, he is hurt or afraid. When you feed him, he may whistle and chirp, indicating that food is available. Sometimes guinea pigs chase each other and may whine when the chase is over. 

References:

Animal Diversity Web: Cavia Porcellus Guinea Pig 


2013 Annual Critters USA: Eating Well the Guinea Pig Way: Anne Fawcett, BA, BSC, BVSC, CMVA


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