Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus) are among the cutest pets that people own. They are members of the rodent family and originate in South America. Guinea pigs are born fully haired: eyes open and ready to run. Adult pigs often weigh over 2 pounds and obesity is a common problem. The life expectancy ranges up to 9 years with 4-7 being the average. Guinea pigs become sexually mature at 4 weeks of age so it is important to separate the sexes unless you are planning to breed them. Guinea pigs are very active and should have the largest cage possible. There are cages specifically made for guinea pigs that do not have wire on the cage bottom. This is very important because they can get their feet stuck in the wire and lacerate their skin or even worse, break their leg. Fresh bedding such as newspaper, paper based products, Carefresh should be provided on a daily basis. Cedar and pine shavings should be avoided because these products can cause eye, nose, and respiratory irritations. Guinea pigs prefer using a water bottle rather than a bowl of water if given the choice. Their diet should consist of unlimited amounts of hay (timothy, oat, brome, or meadow grass), commercially made pellets for guinea pigs, dark leafy green vegetables such as turnip greens, dandelion greens, Brussels sprouts, kale, romaine lettuce, carrots,sweet potatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, peppers and lastly, a few fruits. Guinea pigs have a unique dietary need for vitamin C. Because they cannot synthesize vitamin C, their diet must be supplemented with this vitamin. There are commercial vitamin C extracts that can be added to the water, feeding dark leafy greens will add vitamin C, and of course oranges can be added to the diet. Overall, guinea pigs enjoy playtime and run and jump with much enthusiasm. They like hiding in boxes, and enjoy chewing on toys. Daily interaction is a must with these guys, but it’s not hard to provide for such cute little critters. Yearly check-ups are advised to help keep your guinea pigs safe and strong.