Animals / Rodents

The Skinny Guinea Pig

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Классификация

Order: rodentia

Family: cavidae

Genus: cavia

Species: cavia porcellus

Ареал

Skinnies are not recognized as a breed in the USA yet, but they have their fans. They are very calm and low-maintenance pets that are friendly towards all family members.

It is a decorative breed that occurred as a result of experiments and selective breeding.

Внешний вид

The Skinny is one of the most exotic looking breed of guinea pigs. They are very popular as pets and are suitable for families with children because they don’t require some special care. Normally they are brown-gray with lighter belly. Skinnies have thin layer of fuzzy hair only on their head, legs and feet. They are muscular and compact with oval heads.

The nose is big and rounded, the eyes are big and round. The ears are slightly bent forward. Skinnies have short necks, wide chest, even back. Skinnies are very nice to the touch. The body of the Skinny reaches about 25 cm in length. 

Характер

Guinea pigs are sociable animals who feel best in company of their specimens. If you have several of these small cute rodents, you will be able to watch their behavior in a group which can only be seen when a cavy feels safe in a circle of mates. If a guinea pig lives alone, it can only communicate with people, so the owner will have to give it a lot of time and attention.

Содержание и уход

Skinny guinea pigs are almost bare, so it is very important to set for them a comfortable and cozy home. Their skin feels almost hot to the touch since their normal body temperature is around 28 degrees. Nevertheless, they are extremely sensitive to temperature swings, so it is best to keep them in a tank and not in an open cage. From time to time you should let your pet for a walk outside the cage.

Skinny cavies eat a lot since they need to maintain their body temperature but you should be careful and not overfeed them: they are prone to obesity. Guinea pigs make excellent pets both for children and adults since it doesn’t require complicated care.

When you set an enclosure for your pet, remember that it should have a solid tray on the bottom and transparent plastic walls. You can cover the tank with a metal bar. You can use for bedding a thick layer of fresh wood cuttings that have to be changed weekly.  The cuttings shoudn’t be too small, or else they can cause small wounds on your rodent’s body. It is recommended to disinfect the tank every second month. Your guinea pig needs to have fresh water and well-balanced food at all times.

Be careful with your cavy and never let it climb high: if it falls even from a small height, it can die because of intestines’ abruption. Your cavy should never starve: even after two days without food irreversible processes will start in your pet’s body. You should cut the guinea pig’s claws regularly and clean its ears from dust and dirt. Cavies are neat animals so you won’t need to bathe them often. 

Кормление

The ideal ratio of a guinea pig menu is 60% of hay, 20% of juicy food and 20% of grain or commercial dry mixes. Hay is a must, it has to be fresh. Grain is a source of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, fiber and amino acids. You can feed your pet with grain mixes or with instant-made cereals. Cavies should eat wheat, oats, corn, sunflower, peas, barley. As a treat you can use crackers, biscuits, nuts, dried apples or rose hips. Common juicy food is dandelions, clover, plantain, lettuce, celery, spinach, cabbage, beetroot and corn leaves. It is recommended to give your guinea pig fruit tree branches so that they can grind their teeth. You can also give the, small pieces of melon, pumpkin, tomato, bell pepper, carrots, apples and beetroot. 

Особенности

Guinea pigs, like all rodents, tend to gnaw on furniture and other objects. Males usually fight with each other. They get very stressed because of temperature swings.

Болезни

Average life span of Skinny guinea pigs is 8-10 years. They are not prone to infections and rarely get ill. However if you notice something unusual about your pet, call your vet as soon as possible. The specialist will be able to detect a possible disease. Most diseases fall under one of the following categories: genetic illnesses; diseases due to improper feeding or husbandry; infections caused by bacteria or virus; parasite inflicted diseases; mechanical injuries. 

Разведение
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