Department of Education

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics

Guinea pigs

Varietal range difference

The most common varieties are:

  • English and American – smooth, short hair (30-40 mm in length),which lies close to the body
  • Abyssinian – short hair which forms whorls and rough, curly rosettes over the body
  • Long-haired – Angora (smooth) and Peruvian (rough). These have hair that can grow to over 120 mm in length.

Physical characteristics

Size mature animals have a stout build and are about 150mm in length
Weight male: 900g - 1200g; female: 700g - 900g
Age at adult size male: 10 weeks; female: 6-8 weeks
Average life span 4-6 years
Weight at birth 70g - 80g
Gestation period 59 - 72 days (average 65 days)
Number of offspring usually 2-5
Litter frequency 3-5 per year
Description at birth completely covered with fur, eyes open, full set of teeth and fully mobile within 1 hour of birth
Desirable weaning age 21 days (180g); females may come into oestrus at less than 4 weeks of age so weaning/separation of females from males should occur before this
Breeding age males 650g (3-4 months); females 400g (3-4 months) - sows not bred before 6 months of age may experience dystocia (difficult labour)
Feet 3 digits on hind limb; 4 digits on forelimb
Tail none but has barely visible tail bone
Body temperature 37.2°C - 39.5°C
Heart rate 230-380 beats/minute
Respiration rate 42-104 breaths/minute
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Guinea pigs

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