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Guinea pigs are among the easiest pets to handle. They almost never bite, and if they do, it's only when you are making them extremely uncomfortable. They can be easily left alone at home for a day or two, if provided with enough food and water.

Unlike all the other common domestic rodents - rabbits, hamsters, mice, etc. - guinea pigs are daytime animals, which means they are active during the day, and sleep or rest during the night, and that makes them very suitable as pets. Also, guinea pigs can live from five to eight years, or even more, if properly cared for, while the healthiest of hamsters rarely reach two years.

Most guinea pigs (except for certain individuals) love to be cared for and being stroked. Some of them prefer lying down on the human's lap and purring (yes, they purr!) from pleasure, while others wouldn't stand still, and would never miss the chance of climbing into your sleeve, if it's big enough. Some guinea pigs are very shy and are only active in their cage. Anywhere active guinea pigs would want to explore the room and sniff at all the corners.

Guinea pigs are very intelligent. Some of them (usually the active ones) can be trained to do tricks, like coming when called, standing up, and doing other things on command (see the 'guinea pig training' page). Guinea pigs have an almost magical way of improving one's mood, and helping to fight an illness. Although the scientists have recently discovered that a guinea pig can catch a cold from a human, so take care not to have too much contact with a guinea pig if you're ill.

Guinea pigs can breed very quickly. Males become physically mature when they are around 25 days old, females - around two months. Guinea pigs can be pregnant for around two months. They usually have from one to five babies in one litter, though sometimes more. The size and weight of each baby depends on the number of babies in the litter. Therefore, a single baby is usually rather big, while a many person litter would normally have smaller babies. Baby guinea pigs are born with open eyes, a complete set of fur, and adult teeth. Except for the lack in strength and experience, they are just like mature guinea pigs. They start running around the cage within an hour after birth, and can start additionally eating adult food straight away.

Guinea pigs are very loving pets. They show affection towards their master by purring or licking the person, while being stroked. They are considered to be the most suitable pets for adults and children old and responsible enough to hold a guinea pig.





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