Originating from South America, with it’s albino appearance, the Himalayan Guinea Pig is a unique critter, and a popular pet and show animal.
Often described as the Siamese Cats of guinea pigs, they are born with a solid white coat and red eyes. Once they are roughly 3 weeks old, they begin to develop colours on their nose, ears, and feet.
It can take up to 3 months for a Himalayan Guinea Pig to reach it’s final colouring. The colours they develop are closely related to the temperature of their home. They prefer slightly cooler conditions. Ideally, a show Himalayan will have dark brown/black features on their paws, feet and face and dark red (ruby) eyes.
Himalayan Guinea Pigs as Show Animals
As they are relatively easy to care for, Himalayans with darker coloured points on their nose, feet and ears are very popular with breeders as show animals.
These little fellows are often showcased in one of two colour varieties, Rich Milk Chocolate and Jet Black.
Himalayan Guinea Pigs as Pets
As they are easy to care for, these low maintenance creatures make great pets. They love affection and are very sociable. A Guinea Pig is a great pet for an older child, or families with older children who can hold and treat them gently.
Himalayan Guinea Pig Care
A Himalayan Guinea pig makes for a great, low maintenance pet- provided you are able to provide it with a sheltered and shady home.
These little fellows do not like direct sunlight, so it important- especially in Australia, that they are housed in an enclosure that has easy access to shade all day long. If they are exposed to hot conditions their colours will fade.
Their colours also fade with age, illness or if they are stressed and scared. It is a good idea to keep a close eye on their colouring and take note of any changes, as this could be a first indication that something is wrong with your pet.
Before committing to care for a new Guinea Pig, you should carefully consider their needs in regards to their shelter, bedding, water, food, hygiene, play and want for company. To keep your Guinea Pig safe and healthy, ensure you provide them with:
- A Large Guinea Pig Hutch – The bigger the better. They love to run and play so a larger hutch or a hutch and run package is best. A Guinea Pig Hutch should be at least 60x30x30cm.
- A Sheltered area – When considering where to place your Himalayans home, ensure that their hutch is not exposed to extremes in temperature or high winds etc. Ensure they have access to shade all day long.
- Food – They require a constant source of fresh vegetables, grass and/or Timothy Hay. Make sure you read up on what they should and should not eat- as some types of fruits and vegetables can make your cavie very sick. You may also like to give them pre-made dry food. When selecting dry food, ensure it is specially made for Guinea Pigs and ideally contains Vitamin C, which is very important for their diet.
- Bedding – Not only do they eat hay, these fellows love to burrow into it to sleep. Timothy Hay is recommended as it has a higher nutritional value than other hay types. Alternatively, you may wish to provide a small, soft pet bed sourced from a pet store.
- Play – a Himalayan Guinea pig loves to hide and chew things. Safe items for them to chew include undyed/untreated wooden chew blocks and certain veggies. You may also wish to add tunnels or boxes for them to hide in.
- Company – Guinea Pigs love company, it is favourable to keep more than one Guinea pig, so that their social needs are met. If a family member is home often and can spend time playing with your pet that is also important.
- Hygiene – A Regular schedule should be kept to ensure that you clean out your guinea pigs hutch and run often. Each day, remove any uneaten food. It is best to remove your Guinea Pigs from their hutch when you need to clean it- you may need a Guinea Pig Crate or Pet Playpen to put them in while you do so.
- At least weekly, Clean out the entire hutch and run by replacing their existing hay with fresh hay. Be mindful that harsh chemicals can harm your pets, so do not use household cleaning products on the hutch.
Timothy Hay – Used as Bedding and Feed for Guinea Pigs
At Somerzby we have designed and developed a great range of Guinea Pig Hutch/Enclosures, Breeding Banks and Runs that will keep your pets safe and healthy. Please click here for more information about our great Guinea Pig home/hutch and Guinea Pig Run packages.
- Image – By Joerim (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons