Abyssinian Guinea Pigs, belonging to the genera Cavis, are a distinctive pigs native to the Andean regions in South America, namely, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, and Argentina. Scientists agree that Abyssinian Guinea Pigs originated from either Cavia tschudi or Cavia aperea. They are grazing animals that belong to the same family with chinchilla, capybaras, and porcupines. Natural habitats of Abyssinian guinea pigs include grassland, swamps, rocky areas, and edges of forests. Abyssinian guinea pigs, like other dogs are nocturnal animals and range widely in color, including Dalmatian, albinos, agouti, and tortoiseshell. Abyssinian guinea pigs are cute animals with spectacular hair style that includes rosette. They are commonly kept as pets in their native areas although they also live as wild animals. Abyssinian guinea pigs were first kept as pets, who later introduced them to Europe. And from Europe, Abyssinian guinea pigs were imported to North America and other parts of the world.
Peculiarities of Abyssinian Guinea Pigs
Abyssinian guinea pigs are naturally cute. They are big-nosed and prefer being in the company of mates. They have spectacular, luxuriant, exuberant pigs with rosettes. They come in a variety of colors, including agouti, Dalmatian, albinos, and tortoiseshell. Also, Abyssinian guinea pigs are audible animals with definite personality similar to that of humans. Male Abyssinian Pigs have more intense personality and are more outgoing relative to their male counterparts. Abyssinians have straight hairs that may be as long as 3 centimeters, and usually have between 6 and 8 rosette patterns on the average, running over their bodies. Abyssinian pigs are easy to train but are attention-seeking animals.
Feeding Habit of the Abyssinian Guinea Pig
The essential food of the Abyssinian guinea pigs is hay. Hay makes up about 70 per cent of their diet. Supplement this with guinea pig pellets, vegetables, and occasional treats. Leafy vegetables, including romaine, capsicum, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and parsley should be provided for Abyssinian pigs regularly. Also, fruits, including strawberries, apples, oranges, grapes, kiwi, and watermelon should be fed to Abyssinians to provide them with vitamin C which is vital for them to grow shiny, luxuriant coats. There are many brands of hays that the owner of the Abyssinian pig may select from, including Timothy hay, Orchard hay, alfalfa hay, and oat hay. Hay contains essential nutrients that Abyssinians need, including fiber and protein. Fibers help strengthen digestive systems in Abyssinians and also aid digestion of food. The protein in hay contains mineral elements such as phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium. Calcium helps to build strong teeth in Abyssinians especially as it supports continuous growth of the Abyssinian teeth while phosphorus and magnesium help in maintaining and regulating body metabolism as well as normal blood pressure. While Timothy and Orchard hays are the most suitable for Abyssinian pigs because they contain proteins and fibers in the right proportion, other types of hay may be provided in smaller quantities especially in the early period of their lives. Other types of hay may contain higher calcium content which may have adverse health implications for Abyssinians. Pellets provide carbohydrate which is essential for the Abyssinian’s daily energy and activities. It is very vital to exclude spices, such as garlic, onions, ginger, pepper, and potato from Abyssinian’s diet. Lastly, care should be taken to introduce a new food slowly to guinea pigs. And like hamsters, moderation is emphasized in their feeding. See alsoreference
Habitat and Lifestyle of the Abyssinian Guinea Pig
Apart from the diet of the Abyssinian pig, another basic need is its habitat. The habitat of wild Abyssinian guinea has been mentioned briefly in the introduction. For the home Abyssinian, its habitat, usually a pen or cage is basically an enclosure, preferably made of metal bars. The shelter should essentially consist of bedding, food bow, water bottle, toys, and hideouts. And it is where they eat, sleep, and exercise. This is why the shelter of the Abyssinian guinea pig must be spacious enough to accommodate all its necessities. Experts in piggery stipulate at least 8 square feet shelter for the Abyssinian. It is also essential to locate the cage or pen in a conducive place. The pen or cage should not be located so as expose the Abyssinian pig to direct sunlight. In addition, cooling facility should be provided to provide cooling for the pig in hot weather. Also, if the climate of the area is predominantly cold for most part of the year, a heating facility should be provided to warm the Abyssinian. The floor of the bedding should be made of material that will keep the bedding space dry and neat at all times by absorbing pees and urine, and keep the cage odour-free. Examples of good bedding materials include, Carefresh, fleece, hemp, and aspen.
To reproduce, mature male Abyssinian, usually about 3 or 4 months old copulate with a mature female counterpart, usually 3 months old or older. Gestation period of a female Abyssinian lasts for about 10 months. The delivery of a female guinea pig should be planned in advance by providing a nursery. This is because guinea pigs do not provide nests. When a pregnant female begins to show signs that it is ready to deliver babies, it is removed to the nursery. A female Abyssinian delivers between 1 and 10 babies at delivery. In the nursery, the mother Abyssinian takes time to cater for its babies than when it is in the company of its mates, where it may be distracted. Also, removing the mother Abyssinian to nursery is vital to protect babies from being trampled to death. At delivery, mother Abyssinian needs much more vitamin C, about 3 times than it usually takes. And this can normally be provided by offering green vegetables, including dandelions, broccoli leaves, brussel sprouts, parsley, and cauliflower; and fruits such as strawberries, oranges, and apples. Apart from sucking from their mother, babies can eat solid foods a few hours after delivery.
Abyssinian guinea pigs are intelligent, easy-to-train animals. And interestingly, they enjoy keeping company with humans. However, guinea pigs need extra training to get quite familiar with their owners. Also, substantial amount of time should be committed to taking them of Abyssinians to make them feel at home.