Home Rodents Guinea Pigs How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live? Factors that’ll Influence the Lifespan

How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live? Factors that’ll Influence the Lifespan

Guinea pigs are furry critters that have an average lifespan of four to eight years. This can be significantly affected by  whether it’s in captivity or not and what breed it is. How long they can live could also be affected by numerous other factors which shall be discussed further in the succeeding sections.

How long does a Guinea Pig Live?

The guinea pigs are said to have a longer lifespan than most dogs, or rather most pets. Their developmental status is much quicker, which makes them age faster than even humans. Besides the average four to eight years, others are also likely to also age at ten years – depending on multiple factors.

cute guinea sow and baby
Picture of mother and baby guinea pig: IMG credit@Guineapigler

There have been notions that a one-year-old Guinea pig is about the same age as a 12-year-old. So you can imagine how old the Guinness world record holder – Snowball who aged at 14 years and ten months old is equivalent to human years. Since the year 1979, over 40 decades now, no such critter has reached such an overripe age.

There have also been claims that if you want to know how your Guinea pig is aging, simple look at its feet – older ones tend to have curlier toes signaling they’re as old as grandma and grandpa. Even so, no conclusive evidence has come to light about that theory.

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of a Guinea Pig

There are numerous reasons why your guinea pig lives a shorter or longer life. Below are some of the most common reasons why. 

1. The Breed Factor

Species and genetics play a vital role in the lifespan of these animals. Their specific making allows for more adaptation to livelihood, hence offering them a longer lifespan. Let’s have a look at some of the most common species.

  • Abyssinian guinea pig –  has an average of five to seven years.
  • American guinea pig – this is the most common species with 19 different color variations and a docile personality. It falls under the average lifespan of four to eight years.
  • Cuy guinea pigs – also fall within the standard years of age of between four and eight.
  • Himalayan guinea pig – five to eight years
  • Peruvian guinea pig – it has a forward growing coat also known as the forelock. Its lifespan is the standard of five to eight years
  • Sheltie guinea pigs – five to eight years
  • Silkie guinea pig – with a silky, softsuffice and long coat, these breee has a span of five to eight years
  • Skinny guinea pig – these rodents have the longest lifespan of seven or eight years.
  • Teddy guinea pig – with the shortest lifespan, the teddy only gets to about four and five years old. This doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t age past that.
  • Texel guinea pig – four to seven years
  • White-crested guinea pig – five to seven years

There isn’t much distinction between these species of guinea pigs as you can see above. Most seem to have the standard years of aging, which could mean that species only plays a small part in their lifespan. Other critical elements could be the determining factors.

Also, as you have seen, the skinny guinea pig has an almost certainly longer lifespan than all the other species. Many also claim that this is the most likely species to even double its age to 14 years because it can better adapt to the environment changes surrounding it.

2. Diet

What the pigs feed on can determine their health status, which then translates to a longer healthier life. For proper dieting, these critters need a lot of water, hay, pellets, and fresh green vegetables.

Additionally, since guinea pigs can’t produce vitamin c essential for strengthening the body’s immune system, it has to be introduced to the body through foods such as carrots and lettuce. They can also be introduced through pills, but consultation with a veterinary doctor is crucial.

Besides that, pregnant guinea pigs may need extra attention; more hydration, calcium-rich foods, and alfalfa-based pellets. The same goes for juvenile pigs as well. Normal adults, however, need simple orchard grass or Timothy hay to keep them fit, otherwise, they might be prone to health issues.

3. Exercise

Staying fit is essential for long life. Hence, the best way to keep your guinea pig regularly exercising is to get toys such as pens where they get to run often. Get an indoor pen so they aren’t constricted by bad weather or winter.

You could also indulge with your pet at least once a day, running outside. It’s not only good for the activity but an excellent binding time for the two of you.

4. Environment

Depending on the species of guinea pig you select as your pet, you’ll have to purchase the right-sized cage for it. You wouldn’t want your pet feeling squeezed and uncomfortable as it may run away.

The best way to keep your pet feeling at home is to choose the right sized hutch that caters for its size – even when it gets pregnant. Standard sizes for a guinea pig is 120cm × 60 cm.

The exterior environment besides the cage can also affect its life expectancy since it needs simulation around it otherwise it gets bored. So invest in boredom breakers that can also be added into the cage such as balls and tunnels. Adding small bites and fruit crackers is also an excellent idea to keep them active and healthy.

5. Love and Attention

Guinea pigs respond better to warm and cozy environments. Unlike other pets, they love to be handled, patted, stroked on their backs, and even fed. That being said, they will absolutely live longer if they have more attention paid to them by their owner, rather than living a wild life.

Furthermore, because of their social acceptability, they also love the company. This is why many pet owners are advised to adopt more than one guinea pig. The extra companionship allows them to lead a happy long life.

6. Regular Health Checkups

Illnesses can really take the life out of a guinea pig. That’s why its health has to be top-notch all the time. Regular checkups with the veterinarian are advised as well as home health checks. Aging, juvenile, and pregnant guinea pigs need extra care.

Further Reading:

Guinea Pigs vs Hamsters

Guinea Pigs vs Pet Rats


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