The wiry coated Rex Guinea Pig is prized both for its low-maintenance coat and for an easy-going personality. The Rex makes a great starter guinea pig or a guinea pig for children– they’re social, friendly, and they enjoy being held and stroked.
The Rex Guinea Pig is often mistaken for the Teddy Guinea Pig. While they may be similar in look, the Rex’s coat has a rougher feel, and the Teddy has straight whiskers. While you may not always be able to find the Rex Guinea Pig in stores, they’re a popular pet and breeders are generally easy to find.
Appearance / health:
The Rex Guinea Pig is one of the largest breeds, distinctive for their short, wiry coat. Somewhat crimped or curly, this stiff coat stands away from the body and returns rigidly to its positon when brushed forward or back. The coat is thick, springy, and course to the touch. The Rex Guinea Pig comes in most color varieties including solid, agouti, bi-color, tri-color, Himalayan, and dalmation.
As one of the largest guinea pigs, the Rex Guinea Pig has a short, compact body with broad shoulders and a fleshy build. The head is broad with a short face and a gently curved profile. The whiskers may be curly. They have large, dark eyes and extra-large, drooping ears.
The Rex Guinea Pig is a healthy and robust breed. Their nails are fast growing and thicker than most guinea pigs, so care will have to be taken to keep them short. All guinea pigs are susceptible to certain health problem, including in-grown nails (which become painful and infected), diarrhea (often from too much fruit or vegetables), pneumonia (from changes in temperature), mites (causing hair loss and itching), and vitamin C deficiency (from diets lacking in vitamin C). Guinea pigs live an average of 5 – 7 years.
Behavior / temperament:
Cuddly and docile, the Rex Guinea Pig is an ideal choice for someone looking for a “lap guinea pig” or for households with children. They are easy to handle and enjoy being held and stroked. They have a very mild disposition and are friendly and outgoing.
They are gentle and curious and active in the daytime. They make all sorts of purrs, squeals, chirps, whistles, whines, and rumbles. Because of their active nature, they require plenty of room to run and play. They may be allowed to run around the house as long as they are supervised and restricted from areas that could potentially be harmful to them, like the garage.
Guinea pigs are herd animals, very social by nature, and should almost always be kept in pairs. People rarely have enough time to satisfy a guinea pig’s need for social interaction, and they will never be able to substitute for the companionship guinea pigs give one another. Guinea pigs kept in pairs or trios tend to be happier, healthier, more confident, and more active.
The best housing for the Rex Guinea Pig is a well-ventilated, secure cage that allows plenty of room to exercise, nest, and a separate place for food and water away from a bathroom area. Many commercial cages are too small to meet these requirements and The Humane Society of the United States recommends 7.5 square feet minimum for 1 – 2 guinea pigs. In most circumstances a cage with a solid bottom is preferred, and wire floors should never be used.
Bedding can be made from a variety of materials, including aspen shavings, commercial paper bedding, wood pellets, and even towels and fleece. Cedar and raw pine shavings should not be used because of health problems associated with the volatile aromatic plant oils. Corn cob bedding and straw both have a tendency to mold and should also be avoided.
In addition, your guinea pig should be provided with at least one shelter. Many different types of houses are commercially available, but you can also use something as simple as a cardboard box. Your guinea pig will also enjoy having tunnels, log caves, low ramps, and even some toys that are safe to chew on. Rodent wheels are unsuitable for the Rex Guinea Pig. Plastic exercise balls are often frightening to guinea pigs and can cause spinal injury if sized wrong.
Your Rex Guinea Pig’s cage should be located somewhere draft-free, out of direct sunlight, and close to household activities. Room temperature should range from 65 and 75 degrees F (18 to 24 degrees C). The cage should be cleaned at least once a week, but may need more frequent cleaning depending on the size of the cage, the number of guinea pigs, and the type of bedding used.
Your Rex Guinea Pig will thrive on a varied diet of pellets, timothy hay, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid commercial foods with seeds, nuts, and dried fruit – these can be used as treats, but should not be a daily staple. Timothy hay helps with digestion and dental health and should be provided at all times.
Dark, leafy greens like romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, and even grass can be provided daily and should make up the majority of the vegetable serving. Vegetables like carrots, green pepper, and tomato can also be offered frequently. Fruit makes a tasty treat but because it’s high in sugar, smaller portions should be offered: an orange slice or thin apple wedge, a few blueberries, or a thin slice of banana, or a strawberry will be much appreciated! If your guinea pig develops diarrhea, reduce the amount of fresh produce being offered. Uneaten produce should be removed after a couple of hours.
Unlike most animals, guinea pigs don’t make their own vitamin C and must get it from their diets. Most high-quality pellets are fortified with vitamin C, and many fruits and veggies are also high in vitamin C. A guinea pig with a well-balanced, varied diet is unlikely to experience vitamin C deficiency, but supplements are available.
Water should always be available, preferably in gravity-flow water bottles. Stable earthenware food dishes are recommended.
precious little ball, amazingly clean animal
little chirping noises
Timothy hay is terrific for guinea pigs and should make up the bulk of their diet. It is low in calories and sugar, and provides a lot of roughage. A PSA: hay sold in bags at pet stores is wildly overpriced. I only know this because I have horses, and a 50 lb. bale of good quality hay goes for about $6 around where I live. So, if you have the opportunity, look around for cheaper options for hay-- stores like Tractor Supply sometimes sell individual bales. When evaluating hay, look for long, leafy, slightly green stems. You don't want your hay to be brittle and yellow and look like straw. If hay is especially dusty, it could be moldy. .
From abirose 593 days ago
Guinea pigs should have enough to gnaw on, so dental problems, teeth overgrowth, and stress may be prevented. They also need a lot of space to run and play. They are vulnerable to a lot of noise, extreme weather, and predators. Depriving your guinea pig of the necessary conditions of space, shelter, tranquility, nutrition, and general care will certainly bring about problems related to stress and discomfort.
Long-term stress produces biochemical changes in the animals' body including increased steroids production which suppresses the immune system. Having the correct habitat and diet conditions is the best prevention for stress and disease. Measures you can take to prevent stress in your Guinea pigs are:
- keeping their environment with adequate levels of temperature and humidity,
- maintaining a level of hygiene and cleanliness to minimize the likelihood of contamination,
- providing high-quality diets to cover nutritional requirements and reduce the likelihood of metabolic imbalances,
- guaranteeing enough space to move and exercise. To provide your guinea pigs with some exercise and stimulus, you can set up tunnels to play and hide, ramps for them to run, multiple levels in the cage, a separate play area, etc. Avoid wheels or exercise balls can actually harm guinea pigs.
- endowing the cage with elements to run and play, a separate sleeping area, tunnels and hiding places (shelter) where they can go when needing safety and quiet.
From L Perez 748 days ago