These domesticated sea rodents are called gilts by no means related to the same representatives of domestic livestock, but only for the amusing grunting that is sometimes heard from their side. Small, compact, rounded, with beady eyes and completely without a tail, they look more like hamsters. This is a great choice for a city apartment.
But for everyone who once decides to have a given rodent, the question immediately arises - how long does a guinea pig live? Would it not be necessary, just by becoming attached to a new family member, to grieve over his loss?
What determines the lifespan of guinea pigs?
Talking about the maximum possible age for this animal without taking into account certain factors is impossible, and the main one, of course, refers to the rodent's place of stay: there is a big difference between how much the sea lives at home and how much lives in nature. What can affect the quality and longevity?
- Accommodations. The main point is directly dependent only on the owners of the domestic animal, which includes the choice of the cage, the preparation of the day regimen, the maintenance of climatic conditions, and the nutrition nuances.
- Care. An equally important question implies constant hygiene and generates another fundamental point - the state of health.
- Genetic features. This is primarily a breed that causes the maximum lifespan. To a lesser extent (much less often) - congenital diseases and disorders that reduce this period. The breeder should be informed about the latter at the time of the decision on the purchase of a rodent.
The total life expectancy (averaged) for all guinea pigs is 8 years in natural conditions and 7 years in captivity. No matter how hard the rodent owner is, he will not be able to create an absolutely identical natural environment, which leads to a reduction in the period. However, there are extremely rare and recorded in the Guinness Book of Records cases of achieving incredible values - for example, known Guinea pig, who lived 15 years.
How many years do guinea pigs of different breeds live?
To date, 50 species have been recorded that visually differ mainly in the type of wool (length, structure, color), and, for some, it is completely absent: for example, in Skinny, more like a hippopotamus rather than a pig because of the shape of its skull and muzzles.
If you want to keep a rodent in an apartment, professionals advise you to consider the Abyssinian or smooth-haired breed, or Rex, Sheltie, Teddy, Self, Skinny, Ridgeback. The latter are among the extremely rare, bred by breeding and long-term laboratory experiments, as a result of which the cost of such a guinea pig is much higher than in more common breeds.
As for how much the guinea pig of each of these species lives, the general “corridor” is 5-10 years, and, representatives of breeding breeds today are even stronger than those that have not been numerously crossed.
- Abyssinian guinea pigs - the most common species, the most accessible to the acquisition, but rather capricious in relation to their care. Otherwise they are called "rosettes", since the wool of such rodents grows in a kind of bunches, and the more of them, the more valuable the animal. The maximum lifespan is 6 years.
- Smooth-haired are also quite popular and famous. The hair length is barely 3 cm, the rodents themselves are very large, they can weigh up to 1.1 kg, they have a heavy head and long ears, and black large eyes. The coat color is not always monotonous - the spots of Dalmatians, tiger stripes and even the contrast of dark and milky, inherent to Siamese cats - all this is observed among the representatives of the smooth-haired breed. Life expectancy is 7.5 years.
- Rex is a royal guinea pig, belongs to the category of hard-haired, has a very thick curly hair, reaching a length of 1.7 cm, not adjacent to the body. The distinctive feature is a raw lower eyelid; also has a soft character, care is not too demanding. The term of life is 7 years.
At the same time, professionals note that an animal that you acquire should not be older than 2 years: it is more difficult for more adult individuals to adapt to new conditions, which will not allow them to live to the maximum possible limit.
How to ensure a guinea pig long life in an apartment?
Now it is worth paying attention to those factors that determine the life span of a rodent in captivity, having considered each of them in more detail. If you want a new pet to please you as long as possible, do not neglect the recommendations of experts.
- First of all, decide on the "house" for the guinea pig. Usually this is a plastic terrarium, the bottom of which is not less than 40 * 30 cm, and the height is not less than 50 cm. It is not necessary to look after something higher, since the rodent will run only on a horizontal surface, but the area is extremely important. For 2 pets, you need 40 * 50 cm, and when targeting breeding (ie, 2 adults and children), it is advisable to take a "house" of 50 * 60 cm or more.
- With regard to the choice between the terrarium and the cage, the latter does not have protection from drafts, which is extremely destructive for the guinea pig, but it is constantly ventilated, which prevents stale air, odors and dampness from inevitably haunting these animals. In addition, there will always be debris around, but still the cell is more hygienic, and the terrarium requires constant and thorough cleaning so that it does not become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
Speaking of filling the "house", it is worth noting that a variety of simulators, wheels, which allegedly contribute to the physical development of the rodent, do not interest the guinea pig at all, so there is no point in acquiring them. But she will definitely like the flat roof of the “house” itself, on which you can let out a pet for a walk and a review of what is happening around. Inside, it is necessary to drink, in which water will constantly change (volume - from 150 ml per individual), and filler-bedding.
- Most often the bottom of the terrarium or the cells are covered with sawdust. Natural material is the best fit for a rodent, but only if the chips are between 4 and 10 mm in size and the layer itself is at least 1.5-2 cm thick. The distribution should be uniform so as not to complicate the process of movement. The lack of sawdust is dampening them, which leads to the appearance of smell.
- There are wood fillers in the form of granules, which "lock" the smell inside, and also not so actively scatter around the cell. This option is good for everyone, except for its value.
The filling over the entire bottom surface is obligatory, especially if there is a lattice with which the paw pads of the rodent should not touch: this will spoil both the coat and the shape of the extremities.
- Special attention is given to the food of the guinea pig, which has an impact on its growth and development, and therefore on the health of the whole organism. These rodents are well perceive specialized feed, but their share should not exceed 60% of the entire diet. Experts advise to take 50%, and the remaining half to fill with hay and fresh vegetable food equally. Animal food (including the dairy group) should not be on the menu.
- Both fruits and vegetables should be served to the animal in the form of large identical pieces that have preserved the skin. However, care must be taken here, since today manufacturers to preserve an attractive type of product process its surface with chemicals that are undesirable even to humans and catastrophically harmful for the guinea pig. If you doubt the quality of the product, scald it with boiling water several times.
- The proportion of dry food per day - at least 1 tbsp. on the individual. Perhaps an increase in portions according to the needs of the pet. Remember that food should always be freely available to the rodent.
- Sweet fruits and berries are best given occasionally, as a treat, and among fresh fruits and vegetables, preference is given to crispy and sour: cabbage, apple, carrots, beets, etc.
Each product that you include in the diet of your pet, for the first time is given in small quantities, as for a child, just switching from her mother's milk to regular food.
In conclusion, it is worth noting again that how much a guinea pig will live depends on its breed and conditions of detention. If you follow the advice of professionals and take care of maintaining the health of the rodent, he will live a long and happy life.