Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Himalayan Guinea Pig: Siamese Cats Of The Guinea Pig World

The Himalayan Guinea Pig: Siamese Cats Of The Guinea Pig World


Contrary to their names, the Himalayan Guinea Pigs did not originate from Asia, but South America instead. These Cavies are also known as the Siamese Cats of the Guinea Pig empire due to their unique and distinctive colour markings!



The Himalayan Cavy


Like other breeds of Guinea Pigs, the Himalayan Cavies are descendants of the first Guinea Pigs that were brought to Europe and then North America, centuries ago. The oldest breed being the American Shorthair. They originated from South America as early as 5000 BC, and they are descendants of the Tschudi Guinea Pig.
Himalayan Guinea PIg behaviour
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More and more breeds were created by humans, developing differently textured long-hair and even hairless Guinea Pig breeds through genetic mutation which are usually spontaneous. The Himalayan Guinea Pig is actually an Albino breed! 


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Appearance Of The Himalayan Guinea Pig


Himalayan Cavies are known best for their unique markings, also referred to as "seal-points". Similar to Himalayan Cat and Rabbit, Himalayan Guinea Pigs have bodies that are predominantly white, accompanied with dark Chocolate points on their ears, nose and feet. Their eyes are ruby Red. Interestingly, the pigmentation of these seal-points are said to be determined by the temperature and climate of their living environment!
Guinea Pig breed information
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Fun Fact      All Himalayan Guinea Pigs are born mostly White, and start developing pigmentation on their ears, nose and feet within a month. The true density of these points can be seen as they grow up to 3 months old.



Grooming And Care Requirements


When living in a warm or frequent exposure to sunlight, the pigmentation of their seal points may begin to fade— be sure to keep them in a well-shaded space! This phenomenon is said to also be an indication of illness or trauma, so watch their colouration carefully. 
Himalayans have short hair that do not require much cleaning unless they are soiled, so keep their living space clean at all times. Unscented soap may be used sparingly when giving them a quick bath, dry very thoroughly after. Replace their Hay, Water and food supplies with fresh ones while you clean up their area.



Quick Care Tips


Housing — A good and comfy home for the Himalayan or any guinea pig would be soft and quality bedding. Some owners opt for fleece towels or even hay, just ensure cleanliness at all times. Avoid Pine and Cedar wood bedding as it may lead up to respiratory issues. Straw is also not advisable for absorbency purposes.

Ensure the living space/cage is of an appropriate size, large enough for your active Cavy to run and roam about. To prevent them from eating soiled hay, clean their living space regularly and provide fresh food and water!


Feeding — Good quality Hay is an absolute staple in a Guinea Pig's diet. Introduce a plate of hay for food with food pellets mixed in. Guinea Pigs require a ton of Fiber and Vitamin C, inclusion of fresh vegetables and occasional fruits treats are healthy. Recommendations for good quality Hay types are Timothy Hay, to encourage healthy teeth and a good digestive system.

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Himalayan Guinea Pig Personality


Expect a curious, affectionate and friendly Cavy that would be a great companion with proper care and attention. It is advised to have more than one Guinea Pig due to curb loneliness. Spend a little time with them everyday, to play or be hand-fed— this builds trust. Entertain them with lots of toys and tunnels, and provide soft towels or fleece to hide in. The average lifespan of a Himalayan Guinea Pig is 5 to 8 years!


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