Guinea Pig vs Chinchilla

Discussion in 'Pet Place' started by brittneyleahc, Dec 13, 2007.


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  1. brittneyleahc

    brittneyleahc Senior Member Plus

    I am considering getting a small, furry creature for the boys (so I can learn responsibility :rolleyes). Anyhow, we were told of someone that has both a chinchilla and two guinea pigs that need a new home. I looked up what a chinchilla is and it seems like it would be kind of fragile, maybe too fragile in our environment...but I didn't really do any research on the guinea pigs. So, thought I'd start here! Any advice on which would be a better option in our family (of three boys!). Thanks!


  2. nane

    nane Senior Member Plus

    chinchillas are more expensive and YOU CANNOT GET THEM WET. IT WILL KILL THEM. in their natural, desert habitat, they never bathe and are not ever submerged in water. if they get wet and stay that way for even a few hours, they do not dry off. they die. just a heads up.
  3. TeriMomOf4

    TeriMomOf4 Senior Member Plus

    I am SOOOOOOOOOO allergic to guinea pigs. I have no idea WHY guinea pigs and not ANY other rodent, but it is BAD. My face will swell to an unrecognizable state of puffy and stay that way for weeks. I can't even go into a store that has them without getting an itchy throat.
    So, if you have any kind of allergies in your house, you might want to rub their faces on the Guinea Pig and see if they develop massive amounts of hives and swelling. :p
  4. DallasMommies

    DallasMommies Senior Member Plus

    I'd definitely go with a guinea pig - they are much less delicate than chinchilla's.
  5. brittneyleahc

    brittneyleahc Senior Member Plus

    So, how do you clean them? Do they just not get stinky? What about allergies...I'm highly allergic to rabbits, but I know guinea pigs don't seem to bother me.
  6. Tracey

    Tracey Senior Member Plus

    Go with a GP. Much cheaper and durable. :)
  7. RyliesMomma

    RyliesMomma Senior Member Plus

    Okay, I didn't know what the heck a Chinchilla looked like, but that tail just totally creeps me out :lol Just for creeped out purposes I would do a Guinea Pig.
  8. TeriMomOf4

    TeriMomOf4 Senior Member Plus

    Jennifer, do you not EVER watch Go, Diego, Go? :giggle
  9. mothragirl

    mothragirl Senior Member Plus

    guinea pigs aren't rodents, they are in the same family as squirrels.
    i LOVE them, i bred them when i was a kid and showed them at shows :) they're super social and pretty sturdy.
    chinchillas are the softest thing ever, but very breakable and i haven't met any that are very friendly.
  10. RyliesMomma

    RyliesMomma Senior Member Plus

    :lol No I have been punished to watch Dora and Dora only
  11. brittneyleahc

    brittneyleahc Senior Member Plus

    :bag This was the ONLY reason I was considering the chinchilla over the guinea pigs!!! ;)
  12. TeriMomOf4

    TeriMomOf4 Senior Member Plus

    I think that squirrels and guinea pigs are BOTH rodents.

    Scientific classification of Guinea Pig:
    <TABLE style="BACKGROUND: none transparent scroll repeat 0% 0%; MARGIN: 0px auto; TEXT-ALIGN: left" cellPadding=2><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD>Kingdom:</TD><TD>Animal
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Phylum:</TD><TD>Chordata
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Class:</TD><TD>Mammal
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Order:</TD><TD>Rodent
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Suborder:</TD><TD>Hystricomorpha
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Family:</TD><TD>Caviidae
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Subfamily:</TD><TD>Caviinae
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Genus:</TD><TD>Cavia
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Species:</TD><TD>C. porcellus
    scientific classification of squirrel:
    <TABLE style="BACKGROUND: none transparent scroll repeat 0% 0%; MARGIN: 0px auto; TEXT-ALIGN: left" cellPadding=2><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD>Kingdom:</TD><TD>Animalia
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Phylum:</TD><TD>Chordata
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Class:</TD><TD>Mammalia
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Order:</TD><TD>Rodentia
    </TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Family:</TD><TD>Sciuridae</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2007
  13. RyliesMomma

    RyliesMomma Senior Member Plus

    Anything that can hide under the bed and jump out and scare the **** out of me is a rodent in my eyes :lol
  14. Nikki

    Nikki Senior Member Plus

    When we were looking for a small critter to buy for our kids we were told something about guinea pigs having a fragile back, that cannot bend in certain ways. For instance they arent supposed to go in those little excercise balls that roll around on the floor. That could injure their spines. Then we tried to handle some and they were so dang freaked out that I just said no way.
    I dont want a pet that just tolerates us.
    We ended up with rats. I know 95% of the population is sceeved about them but they enjoy humans, can be trained, are clean and are hardy little creatures.
    Our rats love the kids and fight over our attention. They also know thier names.
  15. brittneyleahc

    brittneyleahc Senior Member Plus

    Well, the reason we are considering one of the two is because they are free...if we could find a rat with a free cage we would consider that instead. We probably don't NEED a new animal in the house, but the boys do enjoy caring for their animals so if there is a free one then we will consider it, but have a hard time spending money just to acquire it...I know money will be spent for care. ;)
  16. Nikki

    Nikki Senior Member Plus

    I totally understand. I dont even know if the back/spine thing is even true. Im not at all familiar with gp's but anytime I hear the word fragile and kids I cringe, lol.
    I just thought I would mention it, it kind of freaked me out.
  17. brittneyleahc

    brittneyleahc Senior Member Plus

    Yeah, that is why I initially inquired about the chinchilla...fragile just doesn't sound like it will fly in our house! In fact...there is no glass in any of the photo frames in my house because fragile just doesn't happen here!
  18. KristinRDHMS

    KristinRDHMS Senior Member Plus

    I'd go guinea pig.......but you DO have to bathe them, or else they can stink from their urine/litter that they trample on. I also wanted to mention that they pee/poop whilst out and about in the house or being held/played with, so be forewarned that they don't hold their bowels.
  19. angelica

    angelica Senior Member Plus

    Guinea Pigs ARE somewhat fragile as are rabbits, chinchillas, and most small mammals. Think of how easy it is for a dog or cat to break a small animals neck or spine. Now think of how rough little kids can's not a good thing. If you have older children that can reliably handle small mammals properly then I would choose the guinea pigs over the chinchilla. Chinchillas are extremely active and require very specialized care. They are wonderful pets though. I have to second the idea that rats are a much better idea for kids. They require less specialized care and are really friendly, trainable, and smart.

    Here are some other things you might want to consider.

    *Guinea pigs only live about 5-7 years. This is often great for parents, but if you have young children you have to be ready to deal with the death of their pet pretty quickly. Rats only live a year or three though.

    *Guinea pigs should not be housed in a cage with a wire bottom (it will cut their feet), or in a glass aquarium (no ventilation).

    *I would recommend staying away from pine or cedar bedding for any small mammal. Both can cause severe respiratory problems due to the natural oils found in the products. A pelleted paper bedding is probably the best for keeping down the smell anyway.

    *They need lots of room and time to exercise outside of their cage every day. They aren't potty trainable and will leave small pellets around the room when they are out of the cage. You also have to make sure to GP proof the room so that there aren't any cords or things that they can chew on.

    *GPs need to be kept in relatively large cages-7 sq feet or more for the first GP and more space for a second.

    *GPs have to receive a Vitamin C source or else they will die of scurvy. We had this happen at our pet store and then we learned a little more about the care of our animals. They can eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in order to satisfy this need though. Just do an online search for poisonous treats. I know that apple seeds are toxic to all small mammals as are potatoes.

    *You will have to keep your GP's teeth and nails trimmed. Their teeth are usually pretty easy if you just keep enough chewable wood in there for them to chew on. Their nails will have to be carefully trimmed by a parent or a vet.

    *GPs need a hay source and a good quality pelletted food. They should not be fed alfalfa hay because it is too high in protein and calcium. Don't feed them one of those fancy foods that are full of nuts and seeds. Those are really too high in fat for any small mammal. They are our equivalent of junk food. They also should never be fed rabbit pellets because the pellets do not contain enough Vitamin C.

    *GPs are social animals and like to be in pairs. It is best to keep a pair of females.

    *GPs are very sensitive to temperature. They need to be out of drafts and direct heat.

    * I am not sure if it is the same for GPs, but pet rabbits should always be spayed or neutered. It improves their personalities tremendously, and greatly reduces the chances of cancer in females.

    Let me know if you have more questions. I worked in pet stores for years, and have done rabbit and other animal rescue for longer than that.

    ETA: I posted all of this and then found this link. It has some really great info for owning guinea pigs. Here is another good one for ordering hay and other fun treats if you do decide to get these GPs. They also have a section of pet care of rabbits, chinchillas, and guinea pigs.

    ETA again: I just saw the ages of your boys. Unless you are planning on being around every time they are handling or playing with the GPs I would just wait a few years to try a small animal. At 4 and younger it will be really hard to teach them to handle them gently. Of course, you know your boys and maybe they can learn to be gentle even now.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2007
  20. nane

    nane Senior Member Plus

    great post, angelica!


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