Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are small, sociable and 'chatty' rodents. They're traditionally thought of as great first pets for children.

Guinea pig fact file

two guinea pigs greeting each other nose to nose © RSPCAGuinea pigs, also known as 'cavies', are social animals with a compact, rounded body shape, short legs and no tail. They originate from the grasslands and lower slopes of the Andes Mountains in South America. There are different breeds and varieties of guinea pig, with a wide range of colour and coat lengths.

Here are some more top guinea pig facts:

  • Typically guinea pigs live for 5-6 years, but some may live longer.
  • Guinea pigs are active up to 20 hours per day, and only sleep for short periods.
  • Guinea pigs are highly social - in the wild they live in close family groups of 5-10 guinea pigs, though several groups may live in close proximity to form a colony.
  • Guinea pigs get lonely and shouldn't be kept alone - they're happiest in pairs.
  • Guinea pigs need a high fibre diet supplemented with vitamin C, as they lack the enzyme needed to synthesise vitamin C and can only store it for short periods.

Want to learn more about these adorable animals? View our full guinea pig fact file!

Understanding guinea pigs' needs

Read our expert pet care information to find out more about the needs of guinea pigs, including their environment, diet, behaviour, company and health and welfare. You can also download our booklet on how to take care of your guinea pigs.

Adopt rescued guinea pigs from the RSPCA

We rescue and rehome all kinds of animals, including guinea pigs! If you're considering buying guinea pigs for your family, why not rehome instead?

Start your search today: find guinea pigs available for rehoming and adoption.

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