Terminology (Guinea Pigs)
Female - Sow
Male - Boar
Young - Piglets
Terminology (Gerbils, Hamsters, Mice, Rats)
Female - Sire
Male - Dam
Young - Pups
Basic Animal Care Practices
- Should have access to fresh, clean water at all times, preferably from water bottle hanging from side of cage.
- Should have a good quality food as appropriate for the species, usually a seed/pellet mixture. Guinea pigs require a pelleted food fortified with Vitamin C. Rabbit food should not be used for any of these small animals. Fresh vegetables are important in a guinea pig diet, but should be given in very small amounts to others.
- Should have an odor free, dry, commercially prepared absorbent bedding or shavings. If guinea pigs are housed on wire mesh, it should not be larger than 1/2" x 1/2" mesh.
- Should have something to gnaw on, such as a piece of untreated wood or branches from fruit (unsprayed), willow or maple trees.
- Females should be kept separate from males, except for breeding purposes.
Should have a small box to hide in, especially guinea pigs.
Signs of neglect/cruelty - what to look for
Appearance of animal: fur - standing on end, or wet, or matted; runny eyes and nose; thin; wet rump; evidence of fighting, such as bite marks around eyes, ears or rump; diarrhea.
Housing Conditions: filthy cage; wet bedding and strong odor; lack of water and food (look under bedding, as all but guinea pigs may take food from dish and hoard it); overcrowded quarters; too hot a location. NOTE: After they are 3 months old, hamsters should be housed alone.
Behavior: unresponsive; animals fighting with each other.
If any of the elements above are present, arrange to have a veterinarian examine animals.