Peruvian Guinea Pig Info: Pictures, Personality & Traits

Last Updated: October 11, 2020

Weight: 900-1,400 grams
Lifespan: 6-8 years
Colors: Agouti, marked, tricolor, bicolor, solid
Temperament: Curious, alert, playful

Peruvian guinea pigs are the best known of the long-haired breeds of guineas, and upon seeing them, it can be difficult to tell which side the head is on! Due to their long hair, these guineas require a great deal of grooming, bathing, and brushing in order to keep their fur from matting. This makes them more suitable for experienced guinea owners, as they are a big responsibility. If they are bored and under-stimulated, they tend to chew on the fur of their companions, so they need to be played with regularly. They are bred mostly as show animals and are beautiful and eye-catching guinea pigs.

3 Little-Known Facts About Peruvian Guinea Pigs

1. Bathing

While most guinea pig enthusiasts will agree that most guineas don’t need regular baths, Peruvian guineas are different. Regular baths are essential for Peruvian Guineas to keep their long fur clean and knot-free.

2. Chin hair scratch

Some Peruvian Guineas love to have the fur underneath their chin gently tugged. They will lift their head and stretch out if they enjoy it, similar to a cat.

3. Breeding

Peruvian guinea pigs were one of the first breeds to be selectively bred, due to their long hair. In show guineas, this fur can sometimes be as long as 12-14 inches.

peruvian guinea pig
Image: Pixabay

Things to Know When Owning a Peruvian Guinea Pig

Food & Diet Requirements🥕

The food that you give your Peruvian guinea will greatly affect its hair and skin health. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for all guineas, but Peruvian guineas in particular will greatly benefit from them due to their long coats. Guineas, like humans, cannot make their own vitamin C, so will need it as a daily requirement in their diet. Good quality pellets are ideal, but vitamin C in pellets can break down easily, so you’ll need to make sure that they are fresh. Occasional vegetables and leafy greens are also a great addition to a guinea’s diet, but too much fresh fruit can be detrimental, as they have high sugar content.

Exercise

As with any breed of guineas, regular exercise is important, and a spacious cage for them to run around in is essential. Peruvian guineas in particular need a great deal of play and stimulation, as boredom can cause them to chew on their own or their companion’s fur incessantly.

Bear in mind that while other small pets and rodents may love wheels and benefit greatly from them, exercise wheels are not safe for guineas as they can damage their back.

Grooming ✂️

Due to their long hair, Peruvian guineas will need regular grooming and brushing, preferably on a daily basis. Neglecting to groom your guinea will swiftly result in matting and knotting. This matting can cause the skin underneath to become sore and possibly infected if left too long. A mat left unchecking can quickly cause problems, prevent your guinea from grooming and feeding itself, and restrict its movement. It’s important to give your Peruvian guinea a haircut occasionally to prevent matting, and regularly examine its hindquarters for hardened droppings or matted fur, which can cause excretory issues.

Your Peruvian should be brushed regularly, and unless you are planning on having your guinea for show use, a regular haircut or trim is recommended. Alternatively, you can clip your Peruvian’s hair back or tie it with elastic bands to keep it neat and out of the way.

peruvian guinea pig
Image: Pixabay

Health and Conditions 🏥

Serious Conditions: Fly Strike

If your Peruvian guinea is not groomed regularly or kept in dirty or unsanitary conditions, they will run the risk of fly strike. The dirty or matted hair of your guinea can become saturated with urine and feces, which will attract flies. The flies will lay eggs, and the maggots will spread quickly and feed on the tissues of your guinea. This is a serious condition, as a Peruvian guinea can die within days of getting this disease.

Minor Conditions:

If left ungroomed, your Peruvian guinea’s fur can quickly become matted, causing skin irritation and limited movement, and eventually lead to Fly Strike.

A guinea that does not have sufficient vitamin C in its diet can get a form of scurvy and have an unhealthy coat that could eventually result in hair loss.

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Final Thoughts

Peruvian guinea pigs make great pets. They are highly playful, social, and curious. They are beautiful and eye-catching guineas, and their long hair and variable coloring make them highly sought-after by breeders as show guineas.

That said, Peruvians are not ideal for a first-time guinea pig owner. They are high maintenance and require a daily regime of inspection, brushing, bathing, and grooming. If left unchecked and un-groomed, their long hair can quickly become matted and cause a wide array of health issues.

With all that in mind, they are an adorable addition to your pet family. If you have the time and dedication and the attention to give, they make a unique and beautiful pet.

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Featured Image: Piqsels