Guinea pigs and ferrets are both adorable little critters that are a good addition to any family.
Both of them have very different characteristics but do not compare them to cats and dogs because their behavior is unlike any common domesticated animal.
So, should I get a ferret or a guinea pig? The answer to this question comes down to what you want in a pet. Ferrets are playful creatures that need a lot of supervision while guinea pigs are these cute little munchkins that are less active as compared to ferrets.
Learn the difference between the two pets and then feel free to choose the pet that you want to keep at home! Let’s dive in…
Considerations For A Guinea Pig
It all depends on the amount of time you have to invest in your pet. If you have a busy schedule, getting a guinea pig would be better for all parties involved… but if you want to spend a lot of time playing with your pet, then ferrets are the way to go.
They Need A Large Cage
These little creatures require a lot of floor space and the ones you find at your local pet stores are way too small for them, especially if you are thinking about getting two guinea pigs.
You would actually have to prepare a cage before you bring the guinea pig home. Guinea pigs do not require a fully enclosed cage like other pets.
Contrary to popular belief, you really do not need to bother with turrets, exercise balls, elaborate tunnels, or wheels, as these things do more harm than good and most guinea pigs cannot even fit into them anyway.
They should have at least 7.5 sq. feet of space. The size of the cage should also increase if you plan to adopt more guinea pigs.
Do not adopt a guinea pig if you won’t be able to spend time with it. They love interacting with their human friends, even if it means just watching TV.
Guinea pigs also need time outside their living quarters in order to exercise daily. If you take proper care of your pet and provide it with lots and love and attention, it can actually live up to six or seven years.
Supervise Interactions With Children
These little creatures are naturally timid and fragile. Instead of just gifting your child a guinea pig, adopt it as part of your family and also teach your kids about the responsibility that comes with caring for animals.
Infants and toddlers can harm the guinea pig as they see it as a toy. Always supervise the interaction between your child and the guinea pig to make sure that no one gets hurt.
They Require Vitamin C
Guinea pigs apart from humans are unable to manufacture vitamin C themselves. Hence, they need a diet that contains vitamin C.
Selecting high-quality food and providing guinea pigs with a variety of fresh foods is vital for their health. The best way to give your guinea pig the vitamin C it needs is by adding vitamin supplements to its water.
Guinea Pigs Are Social
Guinea pigs enjoy living with other guinea pigs because they are very social creatures.
If you do not want any unwanted litter, then you can keep same-sex guinea pigs. Unlike most animals, you can easily keep two females or males together without any major issues. There are rarely any personality differences among guinea pigs and they end up not getting along.
The best way to create a bond between guinea pigs is to introduce them when they are babies, although introducing them as adults is fine too.
Considerations For A Ferret
Consider the following before you choose to adopt a ferret.
Ferret-Proofing Your Home
Before bringing a ferret into your home, ferret-proofing your house is very important as ferrets are born escape artists and easily get stuck in dangerous situations.
You have to be particularly cautious around cabinets, kitchen appliances, and ventilation and heating ducts. Protect the electrical outlets and plugs. Block all your doorways with wood or Plexiglas pieces slotted into the door frame or specially designed safety gates.
Be sure to always watch your feet and ferrets have a tendency to play underfoot. You have to safeguard your drawers and their contents and also your cabinets to prevent the ferrets from opening them. Keep items such as cleaners, medicines, soaps, deodorants, and shampoos out of the reach of your ferret. To learn more about ferret-proofing your home, read this article.
Ferrets need a diet that is high in protein and fat plus a lot of fresh water. Ferrets are omnivores, but their diet is predominantly carnivorous.
Most owners just end up feeding their ferrets high-quality kibble as there is not much ferret food available. Remember to avoid fish-flavored food or fish itself as it may cause an odor problem in the litter box.
Under any circumstances, do not feed your ferret dog food as it will fill your ferret up but will not provide them the nutrition they need. Human food is mostly indigestible and toxic for your ferret. Avoid tobacco products, ice cream, coffee, milk, tea, soda, caffeine, chocolate, and onions.
Ferrets require a diet that has a variety of components and they will do almost anything for a little treat. You can teach them to roll over, beg, walk on their heels, and sit up by making use of treats. Give our detailed guide about the ideal diet for a ferret a read.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can guinea pigs be found at a shelter?
Many shelters have guinea pigs that are looking for a new home. The guinea pigs in shelters are very easygoing and social so it is easier to bond with an older piggy.
What kind of diseases do guinea pigs normally suffer from?
Guinea pigs can suffer from obesity if they do not get enough exercise daily. This could also lead to dental problems, respiratory problems, and even a stroke. You have to make sure that your guinea pig is hygienically sound by taking care of its teeth and its ever-growing nails. Guinea pigs do end up with vitamin C deficiency so be sure to provide them with ample vitamin C supplements.