Book Chapter

Guinea pigs, chinchillas, and degus (Caviomorphs)

A McBride, A Meredith

Companion Animal Care and Welfare: The UFAW Companion Animal Handbook | John Wiley & Sons, Ltd | Published : 2018

Abstract

Guinea pigs, chinchillas, and degus are rodent members of the class Mammalia, order Rodentia, suborder of hystricomorphs, and parvorder of caviomorpha. All three species were originally kept for reasons other than as companions: the guinea pig for food, the chinchilla for fur, and the degu for laboratory use as a model for diabetes. These species all need the company of their own species. Living in social groups can provide better vigilance for predators and opportunities for play and mutual grooming. Caviomorphs may find handling stressful, especially if they have had limited or negative experiences. Gastrointestinal disease is common in all three species, often linked to an inadequate diet..

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University of Melbourne Researchers