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An albino variety of Guinea Pig with typical Pink eyes and white fur. But what make the Himalayan Guinea Pig different? And do they come from the Himalayas? Are they good pets? Read on for everything you need to know about the Himalayan Guinea Pig
What are Himalayan Guinea pigs?
If you are thinking about getting a small furry pet, then a Guinea Pig is an excellent choice. They make great pets and are pretty easy to look after, with a little help from this site of course!
But, there are lots of breeds to choose from; breeds that vary in size, shape and above all colour.
The Himalayan Guinea Pig is one of the rarer breeds of Guinea Pig. Whilst their name suggests they originate from Asia, the general consensus is split, with some believing they are from South East Asia, whilst others believe their share their origins with their Cavy cousins in South America. It’s more than likely that they do in-fact originate from South America, and get their name from their resemblance to the Siamese cat, which does come from South East Asia.
Himalayan Guinea Pigs are an Albino variety of the pet, meaning they have white fur and pink eyes. But what sets this breed apart is that they have brown or black ears feet and nose. This breed is born white, with the darker areas developing over time. The Himalayan Guinea Pig is a recognised breed of the British and American Cavy clubs.
Himalayan Guinea Pig History
These adorable little cavy’s share a striking resemblance to the Siamese cat, which they are often compared to. Of course, they are not related.
Like their cavy cousins the Abysinnian or Peruvian Guinea PIg, the Himalayan most probably originates from the Andes mountain area of South America.
Guinea Pigs are often referred to as ‘Cavys’ which derives from the rodent genus ‘Cavia‘ and includes the familiar guinea pig. When reading about Guinea Pigs you’ll often see them called Cavys
Himalayan Guinea Pig Appearance
Himalayan Guinea Pig Size
Adult Himalayan Guinea Pigs are between 8 and 12 inches in length, which is average for most guinea pig breeds. They are a stocky thick set breed, which thick bodies and broad shoulders.
Himalayan Guinea Pig Colors
As we have already discussed, Himalayan Guinea Pigs are white with pink eye and either brown or black noses, ears and feet. They are considered an albino breed with white fur and pink eyes, and are born this color. The ‘points’ as they are known, the colored patches, develop a few months after birth.
And, these points are known to darken or lighten when the animal is stressed or exposed to a lot of sunlight.
Himalayan Guinea Pig Personality and Habits
Himalayans are typical guinea pigs when it comes to temperament and personality. Given lots of love and attention, they are easily tamed and will be happy around humans, especially children.
However they are still a bit skittish and easily frightened, so make sure there are plenty of hide outs and tubes to provide shelter and a chance to chill out. Check out our guide to Guinea Pig cage accessories and toys for more information and inspiration.
The pets are also happy to be part of a group, and do enjoy the company of other guinea pigs
If you do plan on keeping a number of Guinea Pigs as pets, then its best to buy them at the same time, as adding another later on down the line can be tricky. If there are already a number in the group then its a little easier
And, of course, unless you want lots of furry little friends, then its best to keep same sex groups of guineas pigs.
Himalayan Guinea Pig lifespan
How long does the Himalayan Guinea Pig Live? Given the right care, food and environment, your Himalayan Guinea Pig should live to be between 5-7 years.
Himalayan Guinea Pig care Tips
Being short haired, the Himalayan Guinea pig doesn’t require much grooming, and certainly not as much as its longer haired cousins the Peruvian.
A gentle brush once of twice a week is perfect. Is keeps the coat clean and free from any debris, but is also a great chance to bond with your pet.
And, handling and grooming your pet is also a good time to check for skin conditions or parasites. If you notice anything untoward, then please do take you pet to see your local veterinarian.
Guinea pigs nails continuously grow. In the wild, nail lengths are usually managed naturally with high levels of scurrying and foraging across abrasive surfaces. So, when in captivity its important that we as responsible pet owners keep their nails in check.
More information on nail and foot care can be found in our guide here
Himalayan Guinea Pig Diet
The dietary requirements of the Himalayan Guinea pig is simlar to all other cavy breeds. Being herbivores their diets should consisit of a variety of vegetables, with the occasional piece of fruit as a treat . Hay and vegetable based pellets should be made readily available , and are esay to obtain, as should fresh clean water.
Its important to keep a healthy balanced diet as Guinea pigs are prone to a number of health issues which arise from a poor diet.
Guinea pigs love eating hay, and there are a number of hays that are perfect for your pet, including Timothy and Meadow hays. For more information, please do check out our guide to the best hays for your guinea pig.
There is also a list of vegetables that are great for your pet. Some should be feed less often, as too many can cause stomach issues.
Vegetables that can be feed regularly include…
- Lettuces (excluding iceberg lettuce which has no nutritional value)
- Carrot Tops
And, as the occasional treat…
- Apples (remove the seeds as they are toxic)
More information on the best food for Guinea Pigs can be found here
Himalayan Guinea Pig Health
In general, the Himalayan Guide pig is a hardy little chap. The number one health issue with Guinea Pigs, and the Himalayan is no exception, is vitamin C deficiency . Guinea Pigs are unable to produce their own vitamin C and it needs to be sourced from their diet.
Luckily, there are many pellet based food that are fortified with Vitamin C, and these should form the bulk of your pets diet. This will help keep the vitamin C levels in check.
And, fresh vegetable such as lettuce and fruits such as oranges are a great way to add a little extra to their diets.
For the Himalayan, if you notice their colored points are fading, this could be due to them not getting enough vitamin c in their diets.
Skin problems, such as bumble foot, or parasites can be a problem. But, these are all largely avoidable if you care for your pet in the best way. With a clean enclosure and regular grooming, issues like this should be avoidable. Again, if you notice any sores, or see you pet scratching more, then a visit to the vet is recommended.
Himalayan Guinea Pigs as Pets
Like all Guinea Pigs, Himalayan Guinea pigs do make for excellent pets. And now, armed with the knowledge from our guide, you can be confident that you’ll be able to care for and love your pet in the best possible way.