The crested guinea pigs are one of the recently discovered guinea pig breeds. They usually have a crest at the top of their head. ‘Crested’ refers to the tuft or rosette of fur on the top of their head, almost like a crown.
Crested guinea pigs are short-haired guinea pig breed which is easy to take care of and are quite lovely to gaze. Anyone can fall in love with those charming personality and look they carry.
There are usually two species type in this breed namely The American crested guinea pig and the Self crested guinea pig. Let us have a brief difference between two of them.
Physical Appearance Of Crested Guinea Pig
Distinguishing a Crested guinea pig is quite easy. Anyone can do it by looking at the crest or rosette at the top of their head.
Depending upon the breed mixes these guinea pigs have either the same color crest as their body or a different colored crest.
Crested guinea pigs are short-haired guinea pigs known for their smooth, soft fur coat. Apart from the crest, they do not have any other marking in their body.
They also have a short, stocky body and broad shoulders just like American guinea pigs. It is quite common for beginners to mistake them as American guinea pigs due to their similar appearance.
Crested guinea pig Size
Crested guinea pigs can grow up to 12 inches upon maturity. Guinea pigs grow at a swift pace, so you need to keep that in mind while you are buying a cage for your little pet.
Crested guinea pig weight
The bodyweight of a healthy crested guinea pig can be anywhere in between 1000 grams to 1200 grams. The male guinea pigs weight slightly more than a female guinea pig.
The most common color you will see is brown, black, cream, etc. While you can find a lot more color variation in self crested guinea pigs, you will only find a few options in American crested guinea pig.
In general, American crested guinea pigs are brown with a white crest on top of their head while the self crested guinea pigs are available in a lot more color variation.
Behavior Of Crested Guinea Pig
The crested guinea pigs share the temperament of American guinea pigs. They have a calm and sweet personality, which can impress any guinea pig owner.
Apart from character, they are also easy to take care of, which makes them a perfect choice for beginners. Crested guinea pigs have a shy and docile personality, which makes them easier to handle and train.
These pigs can be shy and may not interact with you when you first get them. But over time, they will get used to your presence and voice and will make a fantastic family pet.
Just like all other guinea pigs, they also enjoy being in a group of two or more. Being a social animal, they enjoy playing and living with different companions. It is highly advisable to get at least a pair of them when you first buy them.
Crested guinea pigs highly appreciate having a guinea pig as a companion. Although many people believe they can replace a companion, that doesn’t hold true. As we cannot speak and understand their language, they may not get enough social interaction, and thus, we can never substitute a guinea pig companion.
They will remain active, happy, and healthy when kept in a group of two or more. The more, the merrier is something which holds entirely true with guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are active pets.
You will find them eating playing or making different sounds all the time. They need plenty of space to run and play, so it is a good idea to have a large enclosure for them, which is guinea pig safe.
Lifespan Of Crested Guinea Pig
An average lifespan of a crested guinea pig is anywhere in between 5-7 years, although it may depend on a lot of factors like the diet, care, living environment, etc.
If we take good care of our guinea pigs, they will live a long and healthy life. Providing them with high-quality hay, fresh vegetables, pellets, etc. is a must.
Crested guinea pigs are also prone to several health issues like all other breeds. Some of the most common health issues among them are: Mites, vitamin c deficiency, Pneumonia, etc.
These diseases can be prevented by providing them a proper diet and a healthy living environment. However, if your guinea pigs remain ill for an extended period, then it might have a shorter lifespan than usual.
Studies also claim that males have a longer lifespan as compared to female guinea pigs.
Diet Of Crested Guinea Pig
Crested guinea pigs live a happy and long life provided we give them a proper well-balanced diet. A good diet for a crested guinea pig should contain lots of timothy hay, approximately one of the fresh vegetables daily and occasional treats and Vitamin C fortified pellets.
Hay: The staple part of the crested guinea pig’s diet consists of Timothy hay. Timothy hay contains the right amount of fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients required for maintaining a good digestive as well as the dental health of your guinea pigs.
Fresh Vegetables: Fresh vegetables are a must addition in everyday diet. Guinea pigs cannot synthesize their own Vitamin C. Thus; they need food rich in Vitamin C for maintaining their health. Green leafy vegetables, including kale, Lettuce, Spinach, etc. are among some of the excellent choices.
Pellets: Some guinea pigs are picky in their food. So, if you have a guinea pig that doesn’t love to eat lots of Vitamin-rich vegetables, then adding pellets fortified with Vitamin C to their daily diet is helpful. Pellets do provide guinea pigs with essential Fiber, Vitamins, and Minerals which are necessary for guinea pigs on a regular basis.
Fresh Fruits and treats: Add some fresh fruits in small quantities in your guinea pig’s diet. While some fruits like Kiwi, strawberry, oranges, etc. are rich in Vitamin C and other nutrients they are also high in sugar, so adding them in small quantities once a week works great.
You can also add occasional treat in your guinea pig’s diet. They are handy, especially if you are training your guinea pigs. There are lots of commercial treats available for your guinea pig you can choose from.
Water: Guinea pigs require access to fresh and clean water all the time. Guinea pigs can consume anywhere between 50ml to 300ml of water every day. Always use a good quality leak proof water bottle for your guinea pigs. A cheap water bottle can leak and soak the bedding leading to various diseases in your guinea pigs.
Grooming Your Crested Guinea Pig
Crested Guinea Pigs are short-haired guinea pig breed. They have smooth, soft fur with a crest at the top of their head. They are straightforward to take care of and don’t require frequent grooming as compared to other breeds. However, there are a few things you need to take care of if you own one.
Clipping your guinea pigs nail is a regular grooming activity which we need to follow every month. Guinea pigs nails grow pretty fast, and if we don’t trim them properly, their nails may grow inwards, causing pain and even infection in some cases.
We need to get the nails clipped every month. If you are a newbie and have not done anything like this earlier, visit a vet for the first time and try to learn by watching them doing the job.
You will soon discover it and will be able to do it yourself. Getting a good quality nail trimmer is a big help while you are trimming the nails of your guinea pigs.
Brushing your guinea pigs regularly helps in maintaining the good health of their fur and skin.
Short-haired guinea pigs like crested guinea pig need brushing every once a week or so. However, during early summer and spring, they do shed some hair so brushing more frequently during those days do help a lot.
Try to use a soft bristle brush and comb in the direction of their hair. It’s that simple! Unlike other long hair guinea pig breeds, You don’t need hair trimming if you get crested guinea pigs for yourself.
Guinea pigs have an ever-growing pair of teeth which needs regular grinding. Providing them with lots of hay helps in grinding down the teeth so that they maintain their appropriate sizes.
If we don’t serve them enough hay, then their tooth may overgrow and lead to tooth impaction.
Tooth impaction can be painful for your guinea pig. It may also lead to troubled eating, and thus, their health will degrade.
You will need to visit a vet immediately if any such things happen to your guinea pig.
Grease Gland Cleaning:
Grease glands are opening located at the base of their spine just below their tail bone. Guinea pig grease glands secrete an oily substance used by the guinea pigs for marking and scenting purpose.
Usually, you need to clean if you notice there is a grease buildup around it. You can notice the area and see if the hairs are sticky and hard, then you must understand it’s time for a cleanup.
You can learn in-depth about cleaning your guinea pigs grease gland in this article: Cleaning grease gland of your guinea pigs.
Unlike dogs and cats guinea pigs don’t need a bath now and then. You should only bath your guinea pig if you see that their coat is very nasty and smelly.
Short-hair guinea pigs like crested guinea pigs don’t get so dirty, so you don’t need to bath them anytime soon.
However, if you do need to bath them, make sure you are careful while doing so. Guinea pigs don’t like to be in the water. So, it is a good idea to give them a quick bath and dry their coat as soon as possible.
If you want to learn how to bath your guinea pig, you can read our article Do guinea pigs need baths? (How often, How to & More)
Habitat For Your Crested Guinea Pig
Crested Guinea pigs do well if you can offer them a large cage in a well-ventilated area. The cage should be located in an area with some household activity but away from direct sunlight.
You will also need to check if the room temperature is between the tolerable range of 65 and 75 degrees F (18 to 24 degrees C).
Guinea pigs need a reasonably large cage which has enough space for exercise, nesting, and a separate food and water area.
The recommended size for two guinea pigs starts at 7.5 sq feet. However, if you can get more substantial than that it’s even better.
Although most commercial cages don’t meet the requirement, there are a few which works excellent.
Apart from the cage, crested guinea pig also need good quality bedding. Good quality bedding not only helps in odor control but also keeps our guinea pig feet dry, which is very crucial for good health.
Fleece and good quality paper bedding are my go-to choices when it comes to bedding for my guinea pigs. These beddings are super absorbent and odor-free, which makes them value for money.
In addition to this, your guinea pig will also need a shelter or hideout. Guinea pigs are prey animals, so having a place to hide gives them a feeling of security. Try using some fleece Hideouts, Tunnels, or typical hideouts.
Care Of Crested Guinea Pig
Apart from diet and a pleasant living environment, we must also take care of a few other things to ensure our crested guinea pigs live a happy and healthy life. Let us have a look at a few of those factors.
Apart from diet and good living space guinea pigs also need some good toys in their cage.
Guinea pigs are active animal and toys helps in keeping them engaged and healthy. Some of the best toys which guinea pigs enjoy having are tunnels, hammocks, chew toys, and hides, etc.
These toys help in keeping them active. Some good quality chew toys also help them in maintaining their dental health by wearing down their teeth.
You need to get pet-safe toys as guinea pigs love to chew their toys a lot. If you add some DIY cardboard stuff, expect to get it shredded in few days itself.
Also, ensure you get two sets of toys that you can rotate weekly. The dual collection of toys not only makes weekly cleaning easy but also keeps your guinea pig active as they can get bored with a single toy.
Playing with your guinea pig:
Crested guinea pigs have a shy personality, but that doesn’t mean they will not open up with you.
If you give them enough time and treat them right, they will surely bond with you as well. Playing at least an hour a day helps you to create a strong bond with your guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs love some floor time, so creating a guinea pig safe area somewhere in your home will help. Cuddling your guinea pig also helps in creating that strong bond.
If you are a beginner, you can try to wrap a soft towel around them so that you can hold them firm. Doing so will also help if your guinea pigs have long nails.
The sheet also helps in keeping yourself clean as guinea pigs have a loose bladder, and they pee and poop now and then.
Cleaning their cage:
Cleaning your guinea pig cage is something very crucial for the excellent health of your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are somewhat messy, so a regular cleaning schedule is a must for guinea pigs to stay healthy.
Cleaning a guinea pig cage can be divided into two parts. First is the daily spot cleaning, and next is the weekly deep cleaning. As the name suggests while we are doing a spot clean of our guinea pigs cage, we clean the messy spots and the poop from around the cage.
We can use a wipe or a brush and a dustpan to collect and remove the debris. You can also change the bedding spot which has gone too meshy by replacing that patch.
It is possible if you use bedding material like paper bedding or aspen bedding. The next step would be a weekly deep clean. For this, you need to remove everything from the cage.
Put your guinea pigs somewhere safe and remove all the soiled bedding and replace it with a fresh one, clean the cage with vinegar and water solution, and put everything back new.
You need to do this weekly so that your guinea pig has a clean and odor-free habitat to live in.
Ensure your crested guinea pig is healthy
You need to watch your guinea pig closely to ensure they are healthy and happy. There are a few things you need to keep checking to ensure your guinea pig has good health. Let’s have a look at a few of those things you need to look out for:
Eyes and nose:
Check your guinea pigs eyes and nose. In a healthy guinea pig, you will notice that both their eyes as well as their nose remain clear.
There might be some milky discharge from their eyes, and that is normal. Guinea pig uses that discharge to groom its coat.
Apart from that, there should not be any discharge from them. If you notice any unusual discharge then it might be time to visit a vet.
Guinea pigs coat are the second-best indicator of any illness. A healthy guinea pig will have good skin with no bald spots.
If you notice any bare spots in their coat, then it might be time to reach out to your vet. Apart from the coat, the skin is yet another part you need to look for.
Check if there is any redness, flaking or dryness. Any such concern needs a vet examination asap.
Guinea pigs are prone to mites, which can be very painful for them. So, immediate medical treatment may be necessary for them.
Dental health is yet another crucial factor you cannot ignore. Guinea pigs have a pair of a tooth which grows throughout their lifetime.
If they don’t get wooden chew toys and enough hay to grind their teeth, it may overgrow. That can lead to a painful situation for your guinea pigs.
It may also lead to a loss of diet in them, so it is best to visit a vet if you notice any irregularity.
Guinea pigs dropping is also a good health indicator for us. If you notice that your guinea has regular and hard pelleted droppings then its a sign of good health.
But if they have a loose, watery dropping, it might be an emergency signal. Your guinea pig is undoubtedly suffering from diarrhea, which needs immediate assistance.
Guinea pigs can get dehydrated and weak if they suffer from diarrhea for an extended period.
Guinea Pig’s Bottom:
Checking the bottom of your guinea pig also helps in understanding your guinea pig’s health. If your guinea pig has a wet and smelly base, then it might be a urinary tract infection or severe diarrhea. You should book a vet appointment immediately in such a case.
Are white crested guinea pigs rare?
Yes, White-crested guinea pigs are a rare breed. It is not available easily in pet stores and pet shelters. However, you can definitely get one from the breeders.
The price range of Crested Guinea Pigs?
The usual price range of a crested guinea pig can be anywhere between 20-40$. However, if you get it from a good breeder, then it might be a little bit on the dearer side. You can get one at a cheaper price range if you try local pet stores and shelter homes.