Himalayan Guinea Pig - Feeding, Care and Characteristics

Himalayan guinea pig: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The Himalayan guinea pig is native to South America,...

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The Himalayan guinea pig is native to South America, the Andes Mountains, not the Himalayas. Over time, it entered our lives and today it is one of the best known guinea pigs in the world. The peculiarity by which it differs from other guinea pigs is that it is albino, which is why it is born totally white and with red eyes, although over the months certain areas of the body, such as the nose, the ears and legs, become pigmented. The final appearance of this guinea pig is very similar to that of the Himalayan cat.

Keep reading this article from PlanèteAnimal to know all the characteristics of the Himalayan guinea pig, its origin, character, care and he alth.


  • America
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

Origin of the Himalayan guinea pig

The Himalayan guinea pig, despite what its name may indicate, is native to South America, more precisely the Andes mountain range. It is suspected that it originated from a wild guinea pig called the mountain guinea pig (Cavia tschudii), which is believed to be its ancestor as they are closely genetically related.

The Himalayan guinea pig is one of the most popular guinea pigs and today it can be found all over the world with more and more people taking an interest in these rodents as they have a noble, docile and friendly character as well as their characteristic and so particular appearance.

" The name Himalayan guinea pig comes from its resemblance to the Himalayan cat breed, as both change color depending on temperature, as happens with Siamese cats."

Characteristics of the Himalayan Guinea Pig

He's one of the biggest guinea pigs out there, with broad shoulders, a big head, a long thick body and short legs. The Himalayan guinea pig can weigh up to 1.6 kg.

The Himalayan guinea pig is characterized by the fact that it is an albino breed, which only has pigments in the legs, nose and ears due to a genetic mutation spontaneous that occurred. Thus, at birth, it is completely white and these areas take on color over time. The coloration develops in the first months of the guinea pig's life and the intensity varies depending on the disease, temperature and environment. For example, if the guinea pig is in a cold place, the color intensifies, while if it lives in a warm place, the hue becomes lighter.

Himalayan Guinea Pig Colors

In general, he has short, soft and completely white hair, except for the legs, nose and ears which are chocolate or black in color. The eyes are red, a characteristic given by albinism, and the pads may be pink or black.

Himalayan Guinea Pig Character

The Himalayan guinea pig is an ideal rodent as a lifelong companion, as it is very noble, calm, friendly and playful. He loves to get out of his enclosure and explore and play with his human companions, including children. Toys intended for guinea pigs can be used, which manages to unleash their playfulness and exercise, the best prevention of overweight.

He is very sociable and will not hesitate to seek the company of his human companions by using his cries to attract their attention. These squeaks can also be used during play, but this shouldn't be a cause for concern as it's something natural with these animals and a sign that they are happy to play with you.

Caring for a Himalayan Guinea Pig

The Himalayan guinea pig must have a cage placed in a quiet place in the house and which must be large enough for him to feel good and happy there. The minimum dimensions for a guinea pig cage are 40cm wide x 80cm long and they should not be too high. It is important that it is smooth and that it does not have grids, because they can hurt the guinea pig.

As with all guinea pigs, if we want to provide the best care for the Himalayan guinea pig, we must keep in mind that they need to spend time outside the house. cage, he must not stay locked up there for more than a whole day without going out because that will cause him to develop serious problems. This breed especially likes to go outside to explore and play. Likewise, it is more than advisable to offer it a variety of toys and, of course, to dedicate part of our day to playing with it, since we have already seen that it is a guinea pig that needs food. attention of his humans.

Basic care for Himalayan guinea pigs and the rest of the breeds is cage and guinea pig cleaning as well as periodic checks of the teeth and ears for early detection and prevention of dental abnormalities such as malocclusion or ear infections. The claws should be cut when they are long, which usually happens after a month or a month and a half. Hair should be combed once or twice a week and washed with a special rodent shampoo when dirty. Being an albino, the coat gets dirty quickly and it's a good idea, especially in the colder months of the year, to pass damp cloths instead of bathing them.

Routine checks at the vet are important to maintain the he alth of our guinea pig.

Food for Himalayan Guinea Pigs

Digestive problems are one of the biggest concerns of these animals and the best way to prevent them is to eat the correct diet. The diet of a Himalayan guinea pig should be based on the following:

  • Hay: it should represent 65 to 70% of the total diet. It is the main and indispensable food.
  • Fruits and vegetables: 20-25% of the total diet. They are a good source of vitamins and micronutrients, some that are safe to eat are celery, peppers, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, chard, cherries and strawberries. Check out the full list of fruits and vegetables for guinea pigs in this other article.
  • Croquettes for guinea pig: 5 to 10% of the total diet. To achieve a totally balanced diet that does not lack any essential nutrient, you must give it kibble. They must be made for guinea pigs and they will usually be supplemented with vitamin C, a very important vitamin because they cannot synthesize it and need to get it from fruits, vegetables and animal foods.

Water should always be available for guinea pigs and it is best to put it in a bottle.

Himalayan Guinea Pig He alth

The life expectancy of Himalayan guinea pigs is between 5 and 7 years if you offer them a good quality of life. Some common illnesses in Himalayan guinea pigs are:

  • Scurvy: this disease consists of a vitamin C deficiency. These animals are at risk of developing this disease because they cannot synthesize it themselves, so they must ingest it daily with their food. In case of unbalanced or inadequate diets, this disease can develop and our guinea pig will start to develop symptoms such as immunosuppression, internal bleeding, respiratory diseases, hypersalivation, pododermatitis, anorexia, hair and skin problems, weakness or lameness.
  • External parasites (fleas, lice, mites, ticks). In addition to physical damage to our guinea pig's skin, they can be disease transmitters, so proper guinea pig deworming should be done.
  • Digestive problems such as cecal dysbiosis: this is the change in the flora (commensal bacteria) of the colon by another or by pathogenic microorganisms. Factors that may predispose this pathology by decreasing colonic motility are excessive intake of highly fermentable carbohydrates, low fiber diet, or Clostridium piriformis infections.
  • Respiratory problems: frequent in cold weather, after a bath, poor location of the cage or in the event of exposure to drafts. Symptoms such as runny nose, cough, fever, shortness of breath, sneezing and breath sounds appear.
  • Dental Malocclusion: Occurs when teeth don't fit well because they don't grow properly and are misaligned. This affects adequate food intake and can cause injury and infection.

The vast majority of guinea pig diseases can be prevented with good management, which is why it is very important to seek information from professionals in this field.

Pictures of Himalayan Guinea Pig

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