Alpacas are amongst the rarest guinea pigs in the world. The name comes from the South American Alpaca Camelid which has a similar thick and curly coat. Equally, they share some characteristics with the Peruvian guinea pig such as the wavy fur ends.
Apart from the striking rosette on the head, some Alpacas have several others along the body. These outstanding traits, an assortment of colors and an affectionate personality contribute to a very high asking price.
As a high maintenance guinea pig, taking care of them is a tall order to most pet owners. Beginners should refrain from keeping an Alpaca before they get accustomed to the high-end requirements. All in all, a healthy Alpaca weighs between 600 to 1200 grams. In maturity, they grow up to 12 inches in length.
Food and Diet
Alpaca Guinea pigs require routine feeding in the morning and evening. Throughout the day, place bundles of hay in the cage for them to munch.
Bear in mind that surplus veggies and fruits may lead to constipation and other complications. Thus, a handful of vegetables and fruits is more than enough. Always, empty out dirty food and water before they spoil to avoid infections.
It is important to note that all guinea pigs bodies do not produce Vitamin C. So, ensure that your little friends consume enough Vitamin C every day.
Similarly, add Vitamin C supplements in their food or water. Nutritious food to give Alpacas includes carrots, leafy green vegetables, cucumbers, parsley, dandelion leaves, etc.
On the other hand avoid giving them potato peelings, raw beans, shelled nuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, dairy products, or meaty products. When it comes to providing treats to your piggies, abstain from chocolate, caffeine-rich products, and alcohol.
Instead, opt for natural products like carrots or seedless apples. To avoid dirt in the drinking water, use an upturned bottle with a sipping tube.
Guinea pigs easily develop matts if the coat is not well taken care of. To prevent that, brush your Alpacas fur to remove twigs, hay, and tangles every day. For a stress-free experience, use soft plastic combs or brushes.
If the fur gets deeply tangled, use scissors to separate it. However, you have to be extremely careful and gentle to avoid injuring your pet.
Trim your pet immediately you notice the coat dragging on the floor. This prevents the animal from dragging dirt and spreading germs. For the pet owners who allow their Alpacas to roam in the house, trimming helps to keep the floor clean.
It is beneficial for your guinea pigs to have short fur, especially during the humid summer season. Since guinea pigs do not secrete sweat, the excess warmth may lead to heatstroke.
In extremely hot temperatures; bath your pets twice or once a month. Avoid dipping them in water during winter to prevent chilling. Nonetheless, a pest eradication dip may require you to bathe them more often.
Given that Alpacas are long fur animals, do not keep them outdoors for long durations. Note that there is a higher chance of guinea pig’s fur getting soiled. In the process, it may become a suitable habitation for mites and other parasites.
If you opt for a cage, get the largest enclosure. This provides ease of movement and a comfortable shelter for your pigs to rest and play. If possible, settle for solid floors to prevent your little friends from getting injured by wire floor covering.
The best suitable cage option is a tug pen with a plastic floor. Although some pet lovers use glass aquariums to house their Alpacas, poor ventilation may result in breathing complications. Keep the pens indoors in a moderately warm area to prevent overheating.
Spread hardwood shavings, shredded paper, hay, or aspen on the cage floor to keep the animals warm. By all means, avoid using pine chips or cedar as the products emit harmful oil.
Remember that guinea pigs are hiding experts. Thus, allow them to explore this natural trait by placing plastic pipes and cardboard tubes in the cage. Add some rocks bricks and safe toys to make it more enjoyable. Do not forget to craft a resting spot together with a sleeping box and warm cotton beddings.
Guinea pigs leading causes of death include heart attack, pneumonia, and stroke. It is important to know that over breeding minimizes the lifetime of female Alpacas. Breeding you guinea pigs later in life pose a risk too. This is because, naturally, the pubic area stiffens with age and becomes almost impossible for a baby to pass.
For that reason, older sows have a higher chance of dying during the delivery process. On that note, ensure that your Alpacas sows are strong and old enough to carry a pregnancy to term. All in all a healthy Alpaca may comfortably live between four to eight years.
Health & Care
It is common for guinea pigs to hide ailment symptoms for a long time. The main indicators you should check include poor appetite, excess hiding, over-grooming, repeat circling, altered bathroom habits, or chewing cage slabs.
Feeding your pets with nutritious and enough foods plays a great role in reducing most sicknesses. Besides, proper grooming helps in keeping pests and parasites away. Note that nails and front teeth grow very fast. Hence, make a routine of trimming nails and monitoring teeth development after every two weeks.
If you notice misaligned teeth, take your Alpaca to a dependable vet for correction. Ensure that you do not miss out on the twice-a-year wellness exams. This is vital in detecting life-threatening conditions on time.
5 Alpaca Guinea Pig Facts
- Alpaca guinea pigs can be found in different colors such as black, white, cream, albino, beige, brown
- Just like other guinea pig varieties, alpacas also need lots of Vitamin C in order to stay healthy
- Their fur is very curly and require regular grooming if you want to have a good looking piggy
- They are very active animals and don’t sleep much – alpaca guinea pigs can be awake 20 hours a day
- Alpaca guinea pigs are very friendly, bond easy to people and can be trained quite easily
An Alpaca is not your ordinary guinea pig breeds. In reality, a lot of people have never heard or seen this breathtaking little animal. Although it might cost you much more to own one, the charming personality is worth all the money spent.