Guinea Pigs! What, Where, and How

Guinea Pigs! What, Where, and How

Hey guys, welcome back to Animal Wonders!
I’ve been getting a lot of questions asking about how to take care of certain animals.
And I’d love to answer all your questions, but I’ll do it one episode at a time. Today let’s talk about how to take care of
guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are so loved by so many that they’ve become a very common pet,
mostly in America, but in other countries, too. So, let’s learn, what are guinea pigs? Where
did they come from? And how are we going to give them the best possible care? This is Pickles! Well, what are guinea pigs?
Let’s classify them using Taxonomy. So, they are a small animal in the class: Mammalia,
and in the order: Rodentia, and the family: Caviidae. So, when you classify an animal being a mammal,
it means they are covered in fur, they have live young, and they nurse their young. When you put them in the class: Rodentia,
it means that they have two large ever-growing incisors on the top and the bottom. And when you put them in the family: Caviidae,
it means they have four toes in the front and three toes in the back. So, where did these guys come from, and how
did they end up in houses across the world? When the discussion of the origins of the
domestic guinea pig come up between phylogeneticists the situation can quickly become heated. The controversy among Taxonomists of what
genus to place these guys in goes down to the mitochondrial genome level! But they can
mostly agree that they came from the grasslands and plains of the Altiplano region in South
America. The most popular theory is that these guys
originated from the Peruvian cavy. These small animals were referred to by Incan people as
Cuy, which is still used today. But they weren’t what we see today. They a
were smaller, thinner animal with more neutrally colored fur so they could blend in with their
environment. So, their move from wild animal to domesticated
animal…ehh… that’s still some what fuzzy. It’s, um, thought to happen around 5000 BCE
and they’re being kept and bred in backyard enclosures. And they were used in celebratory
meals in Incan culture. So, what were guinea pigs to this ancient
culture? Well, they were mostly food, but they were also woven into their culture. It was common for a boy coming of age to be
gifted with their own guinea pig. And newlyweds were often given a pair so they could start
breeding a herd for their new family. Some households, they liked having the Cuy
inside, and so they would keep them in by putting little walls along the entrance ways
and exits of their house. Guinea pigs are pretty terrible climbers, so just a small
wall is needed. The keeping and captive breeding of these
guys specifically for their meat lead to artificial selection for a fatter, larger Cuy, just like
cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys. So, how did they go from the dinner plate
to being a pet? I imagine there are quite a few times when a small child took a liking
to one of their little guinea pigs and begged their mom to keep them as a pet instead of
eating them. Now, there’s no documentation of the first
time a guinea pig was specifically, strictly a pet. But I’m comfortable imagining that
scene. So, what are guinea pigs to us today? Well,
they’re mostly sold, kept, and rescued to be solely companions for humans. They have
been bred in captivity for some 7,000 years. And since humans are naturally curious, they
started experimenting with their coat texture and their color. Today we have three mains types of fur: silkie,
short-haired, and Abyssinian; the patterns and colors seems endless. I know, I know! You just want to learn how
to take care of one! OK, the first thing you need to do is choose where you’re going to
get your guinea pig. There are so many guinea pigs that are surrendered
by their owners for a multitude of reasons. So, please consider adopting one from your
local shelter. So, before you bring your little friend home,
get prepared. Get all the supplies that he or she is going to need. Get an enclosure,
the larger, the better. You can see that we have quite the large enclosure
for Pickles here, but… you know…. not everyone’s going to have this for them. Uhm,
just get as large as you can for them, ’cause they do like to run around and play. All right, so, the supplies you’re going to
need is… you’re going to need food, but you’re also going to need bedding. And I like
bedding from a paper product. Uhm, that can be Carefresh or it can be shredding paper
like this. Um, you’re also going to need… (Pickles
squeaking) I know, buddy…. a water bottle, and a food dish, and some nail clippers. And
you’re going to need some non-chewable and chewable toys for them. And remember to get
them some hiding places as well. So, food. Really, really important for your
guinea pig. Uh, you’re gonna wanna start with a high quality guinea pig pellet. This is
going to have the nutrients in it that you need. Do not give your guinea pig rabbit pellets.
I know they look exactly the same, but guinea pig pellets have vitamin C in it that your
guinea pigs really need. If they don’t get enough vitamin C a lot of bad things can happen.
One of those things is a disease called scurvy. So, you wanna give them pellets. And that’s
going to be a big portion of their diet, but you’re also going to want to include some
fresh produce as well. So, I like giving them broccoli. And they
can chew this up, so, you don’t have to make it teeny, teeny tiny for them. They can take
big chunks of it; remember they have ever-growing teeth. Um, so, just give them little bits of produce…
got some sweet potato and some broccoli. Also, give them some lettuce. That’s going to help
with their fluid intake. Give them a little bit of that. And then, occasionally some fresh fruit. That’s
going to keep them happy. All of this is going to keep them healthy, but a little bit of
fruit is going to keep them happy. Next, you’ll need some Timothy hay. Now, Timothy
is the best hay. You can also use meadow hay, but I would really strongly suggest that you
find Timothy hay. Don’t give alfalfa hay unless they’re– you’re
breeding or the mom is nursing. Timothy hay free fed, really, really important for your
guinea pig’s health: for their teeth and for their whole digestive system. Free feed hay. So, you wanna change their bedding at least
once a week. Spot clean when necessary. You’re also gonna wanna fill up their wattle bottle
whenever it gets less than half full. Give them fresh water. Dump the whole thing out,
give them fresh water. And I don’t know if you can see it, but you
can see there’s a little bit of a gap right here at the top. When you fill your water
bottle, you’re going to want to fill the water bottle all the way, all the way to the top,
so, when you tip it back over it’s going to create a pressure seal. Right now, because I didn’t fill it all the
way, you can see it’s just going to drip and drip and drip and drip. And that’s going to
get the bedding wet in your guinea pig’s enclosure, which can cause them to get cold and sick.
So, fill your water bottle all the way full. Since guinea pigs are rodents, they have ever-growing
teeth, and they’re gonna have to have to gnaw and chew on hard things to make sure that
they wear those teeth down. So, give them items to chew. I mean the hay, the hay is going to come in
really handy to help them chew down like that, but give them pieces of wood. Um, you can
see we’ve constructed some wood for them to chew on. Um, here’s another chewing toy. Here’s a chew
toy I made myself. I just used an old bird perch, and I put a lot of blocks of wood and
some cardboard on there and a little calcium chew. They just… they love this thing. Guinea pigs are naturally really nervous animals.
Their instincts, when a predator comes, is to run and hide. That’s their only defense. They don’t have sharp claws or huge fangs
to defend themselves. They can’t climb. The just have to run and hide. So, that’s a really completely normal behavior
for them. The more interaction you have with them, the more you’ll reduce that, but you’re
never going to completely eliminate it. So, you wanna make sure you give them a lot
places for them to hide and snuggle. You can see here, Pickles loves this little cooshy,
soft hiding thing. But you can also give them other hides like
this Timothy hay hut or, I really like these little stumps as well. So, give them lots
of places to run and hide so they can feel safe. If you’ve previously watched our episode on
a few of my friends, you’ll know that animal communicate verbally and nonverbally. So,
guinea pigs have some nonverbal communication, but a lot of it is verbal as well. So, these guys, they will purr when they are
content; they rumble when they are upset or displaying dominance; they “wheek” when they
are excited or contacting members of their group; they scream when they are in pain or
scared; and they will chatter their teeth when they’re trying to threaten something
away. So, pay attention and know these communications
so that you know what your guinea pig is trying to tell you. So, now that you know what they are, where
they came from, and how to take care of them, the only thing left is to make them a promise
that if you take one into your home that you’re going to care for them to the best of your
ability for the rest of their life. And enjoy your little furry companion for all the awesomeness
that he or she contains. Thank you for joining us on this week’s episode
of Animal Wonders! If you have any questions or comments, you can find me at Twitter, Tumblr
and Facebook. If you would like to go on an adventure every week, join our YouTube channel:
Animal Wonders Montana. Links are below.

Randy Schultz

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100 thoughts on “Guinea Pigs! What, Where, and How

  1. PabloLXIX says:

    My third guinea pigs name is Cuy 🙂

  2. Elyssa Zambrano says:

    can you do a video on how to take care of sun conures?

  3. Toni Winston says:

    I have one

  4. Amsah Chaudary says:

    hi so i'm thinking of getting a guinea pig do u need to feed them a certain amount of food or can u just fill the whole bowl they'll eat as much as the need?

  5. Amsah Chaudary says:

    also can you teach a guinea pig how to use a litter box cuz i thought it would be easier to clean but im not sure

  6. Guitar Vader says:

    I not have one guinea pig is that bad

  7. candy11401 says:

    this video is really good and says alot about the basic needs of a Guinea Pig.
    I would just like to say that Guinea Pigs love company so they should be with at least 1 other Piggie;
    males tend to be better in just pairs and sometimes threes. Females can live in pairs or in groups. You can also have a group of 1 neutered male and a female or females.
    The water bottle should be refilled at least once a day.

  8. Your friendly neighborhood Ratchet says:

    Pickles looks like my guinea pig, Spice! They're so cute! (≧∀≦)

  9. sky montey says:

    wow you know alot abaut the piggys.

  10. b slimp says:

    are guinea pigs endangered

  11. keybladewizard49 says:

    another note for those reading comments, do not give guinea pigs hamster wheels. They can hurt their backs because they don't have the same range of motion that hamsters do

  12. TrapkaBapka says:

    file:///C:/Users/KM/Desktop/guy6cuidy.jpg file:///C:/Users/KM/Desktop/Guinea.jpg

  13. Iane Cunningham says:

    You should have a hamster video

  14. Samuel Burr says:

    i love guinea pigs I have 11

  15. Pathetic says:

    what happens is I give my Guinea pigs rabbit and guinea pig mash and he only eats Guinea pig part

  16. KaRin Sneed says:

    I have a guinea pig that is about 6yrs old and he has never had another guinea pig friend and I was thinking about getting him a friend because I realized how wrong it was to not give him a companion of his own, should I get him a friend or will he not like one because of how long it's been since he's had one?

  17. Atomy y says:

    Translated back from my language a Guinea Pig is a sea pigglet 🙂

  18. mechadrake says:

    Amazing firefly tshirt!

  19. J C says:

    And remember to get two Guinea pigs

  20. Janet N. says:

    My best friend in elementary school had seven guinea pigs. They were kept in cages in an area adjacent to her kitchen. The guinea pigs learned that the sound of the refrigerator door opening meant yummy things might be coming, so everytime they heard that noise, they'd all start "weeking!" Every time. It was hilarious and quite the cacophony!

  21. The Piggies A&D says:

    Your handling him too harsh(1:31) you should be more gentle (3:09) 😰

  22. Graid says:

    Good information on the whole, but I feel it's worth pointing out this is not how you should handle a docile guinea pig. The handling is more appropriate to an animal far more squirmy and active, such as a hamster or rat- guinea pigs need to have gentle full support. Holding one up in one hand is never appropriate, they need to have both back end and middle supported. Your poor pig squeals in fright at 4.25 from falling down into the hidey and not knowing whats happening. Grabbing it out of there roughly is not an appropriate response. Clearly it is a brave and very cute guinea pig, but I feel new owners should realise that handling should be more gentle and slow.

  23. Alfred Dean says:

    Your hot

  24. Clara Feldbrugge says:

    only give them one eighth of a cup for pellets it's only 5% of there diet

  25. cat fla says:

    When my guinea hears food he screams
    Like really really loud
    He popcorns and screams and it's adorable

  26. the queen of you tube cc says:


  27. the queen of you tube cc says:

    I have TOW guinea pigs

  28. TomatoManPan YT says:

    this also will help with reaserch

  29. Marry Kurie says:

    Guinea pigs can live quite longer than 7 years ans they don't need pellets as their main food. If they get enough hay, grass and vegetables pellets can merely be given as treats. Also guinea pigs shouldn't be hold solaly. They should have at least one other guinea pig to communicate with. Humans or other animals have a different form of language, so guinea pigs aren't able to "talk" to them.

  30. John Doe says:

    Wow, it's so cute when you just hold him in one hand like a ball of fluff 😀

  31. foufou puppies says:

    can someone tell me what breed is the guinea pig from the video?

  32. maggieedna says:

    me and my sister are about to get a pair of two year old bonded male guinea pigs and Im so excited!

  33. Jazmula Baby says:

    Okay correct me if I'm wrong but aren't you not suppose to give them potatoes

  34. Ted Hoeborn says:

    Good video. Very articulate.  I'm a 62 year old guy and gpigs are among my favorite animals. And yes, it is better to have two. Personally, I prefer fleece instead of bedding.

  35. Mia and Valerie says:

    I'm from Peru and Guatemala and my family members from Peru are always like "when are you cooking it 😂"

  36. Mia and Valerie says:

    I like to put carpet in my piggy's cage

  37. ZakPlayz says:

    I have 2 piggies

  38. ZakPlayz says:

    guinea pigs that is

  39. Paulyn archibong. says:

    what is the difference between cavia eperea (the e is supposed to be a
    A)and cavia prosellus (I spelled that wrong )

  40. Lacy Monteleone says:

    Geez you're really inspiring me

  41. Lacy Monteleone says:

    I'm really trying to get a guinea pig for my birthday but I want to happen I'm just wondering how you are inspiring us how to make a guinea pig happier where it lives I just want to know where to get it so if if it's too much for you you don't have to do it

  42. BROCK OHLSON says:

    I feel bad I didn't know that petco was a bad place to get guinea pigs and I got him there :C

  43. Lady Nebulae says:

    Being a mammal doesn't mean you're covered in fur. Whales and dolphins for instance.

  44. Stella Joy says:

    Can you do a hamster video???

  45. ʜᴀғɪʏᴀ uwu says:

    Are they made with pork because there guinea (pigs) SOMEONE PLEASE ANSWER I CANT HAVE PORK ANIMALS

  46. Snootsnoot Hoodledoot says:

    This is lovely news.

    When I get married, I am going to make sure all the gifts are guinea pigs. I am going to show everyone this video and tell them to get a pair each. I want an army of floof. I am going to run the world and my commanders will be floof. Execution will be drowning in floofs. Hurting the floofs will get you burned alive. No one fucks with my floofs.

    Be ready. The floofpacolypse is coming.

  47. MadAce48 says:

    With that deffinition of mammal what about the egg laying mammals

  48. Kenneth Reyes says:

    Where is the kale?

  49. mahshad Hamzavy says:

    she deserves 1 million subs

  50. mahshad Hamzavy says:

    can you do more videos with zoe the red lord amazon parrot.

  51. Emma Gordon says:


  52. Emma Gordon says:

    My first pet was a Guinea Pig. I got him when I was 6 exactly on my birthday. He was a tough one, but very gentle. He knew right away when the carrot drawer was being opened! Sadly, Easter morning 2014, he died, R.I.P Smores… Then I got fluffy, the cutest piggy on earth, shy, Very shy, likes to hide a lot. I still have her today, she has 3 more years of her average lifespan I hope she will survive. When smores died he was 4 years old.

  53. Emma Gordon says:

    Fluffy, my Abyssinian Guinea Pig absolutely loves Timothy Hay.

  54. Emma Gordon says:

    I know my guinea pig's favorite spot to be rubbed, she pure then runs away every tim!

  55. Edgewalker001 says:

    These little guys also have an amazing blood chemistry, including but not limited to an additional kind of secretory blood cell, which looks kind of like a granulocyte on steroids, and they have an innate resistance to cancer.

  56. Big_ Daddy69 says:

    I had a guinea pig for 4 years her name was skittles . She was my best friend she likes to sit on my shoulder and nibble on my shirt god I miss her I’m getting a hedgehog and can’t wait but whenever I would walk into the room she would do this thing called pop Corning

  57. Young Olek says:

    So cute

  58. R.Instro says:

    Serenity is a beautiful phoenix.

    You've been getting t-shirt tips from Todd, haven't you, Jessie? ^_^

  59. Nishka Khandelwal says:

    they only need 1/8 of a cup of pellets or none

  60. TVhead55 says:

    My piggie's name is Pickles too! But you shouldn't hold her like that 🙁

  61. Nat says:

    They’re just too cute 😭

  62. Bbv Bhf says:

    I ate my guinea pig in Peru

  63. Aimee Swiftie says:

    I have 8

  64. Small Big World says:

    My guinea pig Midnight is fat, very fat, I don’t give her alot of food, she just got fat overnight. My other piggies eat more than her, but not her size? What’s wrong p with Midnight?

  65. Everything GuineaPigs says:

    I give my Guinea pigs two vegetable plus fruit meals each day. Sometimes just vegetables though.

  66. Madeline Gutierrez says:

    Thanks for passing out this great information!
    Especially the idea of getting one from,like, "the pound."

    Shouldn't people try to have more than one because they are social amongst themselves?

  67. Isis Lee says:

    i love this video but as some others have commented, you should have mentioned how they need to be kept in pairs 🙂

  68. Stronghold Kids says:

    My guinea pig zebra hates other guinea pigs

  69. Chris Frankum says:


  70. LF Salute says:

    They dont really run around so they sleep so why need to give so much space

  71. I Rico says:

    Guinie pigs are the Most precious tinny critters there is!!!! Mine developed a bladder stone, we have it removed, but it was to much for her, the next day she died! We still miss her so much, she was a very vocal little girl and she lived with my 2 bunnies. They have no cages so they get the whole room for themselves, but she knew the bunnies just got to the room door and she didn't care to go farter then that door!

  72. Cordy AndYeh says:


  73. Danielle Wilson says:

    Platypus and echidna are mammals. They are monotremes and they lay eggs, not give live birth

  74. the game master says:

    plz do a Hamster where, how, what

  75. busymike says:

    aww It's so mini.

  76. Jane Blumenshine says:

    Thank you so much. It's an absolutely lovely and informative video

  77. Kaye Draper says:

    Can you give them citrus frut acasanaly? Beacaus oranges for example they have vidimin C

  78. pale blue dot says:

    Me at 3:14 oh nice she's petting a puppy……. Holy … thats not a puppy

  79. Jordan X says:

    great video but r u collecting their shits

  80. Bri says:

    I had Guinea pigs when i was younger and our eldest lived for 13 years!

  81. Ursa Daisy WR says:

    My guinea pigs name is Pickles! I love vids like these

  82. Hubes // says:

    You keep a guinea pig with a capybara?

  83. TammyL says:

    heres my piggies

  84. cavy herd says:

    "four toes in front, three in the back" You forgot to mention: they have no tails!

  85. April Richards says:

    My one guinea pig, Buttons, laughed, especially when Mom or I screwed up on the computer. He'd laugh and when we'd look at him. He turned away. It was like a comedy bit.

  86. Finno Minno says:

    Salt licks? uhhhhh no…

  87. jp ztyles says:

    Im from Perú ..and we only give them alfalfa. Also we only bring up them for food.

  88. Joseph Jackson says:

    Hi I have 5 pigies indoor the run around freely & toilet trained thay have eco heaters with thermostats underfloor heating & tiny radio the oldest is 9 years thay have pellets & hay & 12 other bowls with different giunipig food breakfast ever morning is spinich , gem lettuce with stork removed, cucumber, grape green& red , corn on the cob , apple, kail, brussel, carot, water mellon, ,purple letuce .its been the same all every day and in the afternoon for there every day life there spoilt there bungalows have bedding which has me putting the washing machine on 4 times a day and the dryer there experience to keep but I love them. around 38 dollars £31 uk pounds on salad a week .

  89. SilentAssassin X9 says:

    Why was this video reuploaded?

  90. Pixy Flutters says:

    What is one of your favorite animals and what do you think would be a good hide43 guinea pigs? And do you know how to make certain guinea pig and Hides out of or materials that people might have laying around?🐹

  91. Chiller 88884 says:

    I just wanna say, be careful with the veggies you give them. Do not give iceburg lettuce, and be careful with high calcium veggies and fruits, and broccoli, as it can cause bloating, which can be deadly. They are supposed to be pooping constantly. WATCH OUT FOR ALFALFA ALSO. Excess calcium can cause painful bladder stones! Male guinea pigs may need to have their anal sack cleaned on occasion as well, you can find tutorials on that on youtube! I hope I was able to help!

  92. Anisa Abduhalim says:

    my guinea pigs started squeaking after pickles did.

  93. Paul's Pets says:

    Hay, hay, hay… Hay and water; and a guinea friend or two.

  94. Aisling Hennigan says:

    Sweet potato is not very good for guinea pigs or any potato isn't ok

  95. IDrawHorseChamp says:

    Their move from wild to domesticated animal was FUZZY. That's good.

  96. He’s- Tøxic says:

    “They’re bad climbers, so you only need tiny walls”.
    yeah, buT they aren’t bAd at juMPing or groWing, now are they?

  97. brey lynn says:

    She’s so cute awe

  98. CandyyLishh says:

    Is that a freaking kangaroo!!!

  99. Flamerectification says:

    I just clicked on this video because I like redheads

  100. Fabricio sensi says:

    I Wana eat one

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