The latest Disney family film, GForce, opens in the UK this week. It features an elite team of secret agents, charged with saving the world. Only this time, these aren't just secret agents, they're guinea pig secret agents - how cute is that?
So what if your family is so taken with the GForce elite, you're considering adopting one of the real life versions?
We've already looked here at general points to consider when you're choosing a pet, but here are some things to think about, specifically in relation to guinea pigs:
Is a guinea pig the right pet for our family?
Guinea pigs need to be brushed and given fresh food and water every day, fresh bedding once a week and have their nails clipped every month. Make sure you have the time to give them the attention they need.
What should I look for when I buy a guinea pig?
Just like recruiting new operatives for the G-Force: shiny coat, bright eyes, and an alert manner.
How big a cage does a guinea pig need?
They need a cage that's about.5 sq metres [6 sq feet] and has a solid floor (wire floors hurt their feet). Be sure to put the cage in a warm place but out of drafts and direct sunlight and away from noisy televisions or speakers. A wooden box in one corner of the cage is great for when they want to go undercover or just catch up on sleep.
How about letting a guinea pig out of its cage?
They like a run around the house every day, but will need to be supervised and should never be left alone with cats or dogs.
Should a guinea pig be kept on his own or do they need company?
The G-Force are team players and that's true of guinea pigs in general: they're very social animals who love company! So it's best to keep two or more guinea pigs together: females generally get along well with each other but if you're planning on buying two males it's probably best to get youngsters from the same litter.
What do they eat?
Household guinea pigs enjoy good quality guinea pig pellets. They also need clean, fresh water at all times; a continuous supply of hay (it's great for gnawing!); and small amounts of fruit and vegetables: carrots, grapes, cucumbers, pears, apples, spinach, etc. A quarter of an orange a day or a dandelion leaf is great for increasing their intake of vitamin C.
Anything else we need to know?
Look for more information about guinea pigs online, at your local bookshop or library,
In the meantime, remember that the members of G-Force are highly skilled professionals who are at the peak of physical fitness and go through months of FBI training before learning to parasail, use a plasma cutter or detonate explosives. Don't let your guinea pig attempt any of these things at home.
Did You Know?
The Incas of Peru first kept guinea pigs nearly 7,000 years ago, but not as pets. They ate them! Peruvians still keep guinea pigs on their roofs to eat.
Guinea Pigs' teeth never stop growing, which is why they need plenty of branches or a small piece of wood to gnaw on.
Female guinea pigs can weigh up to 450 grams (1lb) when fully grown, males up to 700 grams (1.5lb).
Guinea pigs are highly allergic to penicillin. Consult a vet before you give them any medication!
All guinea pigs have bald patches behind their ears.
Researchers have counted at least eleven different sounds that guinea pigs make in communicating with each other
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