Guinea pigs can live up to 7 years in captivity. They are social animals who prefer to live with other guinea pigs. Some of the most common breeds of guinea pigs include Abyssinian, smooth-coated and Peruvian varieties. Female guinea pigs are known as sows, while male guinea pigs are called boars.
Some guinea pigs squeak when they are happy or excited, such as when they see their owner nearby. Guinea pigs do not eat meat, but they enjoy apples, carrots and other fruits. Like cats, guinea pigs enjoy being petted and will sleep in a pet owner's lap. The animals are known to stretch out when relaxed and startle when they hear loud noises. Like other rodents, guinea pigs have teeth that continuously grow. Gnawing on wood chews helps keep tooth growth down.
Since they are not climbers or escape artists like mice, guinea pigs can be safely kept in open enclosures, such as plastic pools. They are shy animals who need spaces to hide, though, so they should also be given a small shelter for security. They also require some sort of bedding, such as sawdust or hay. In addition to pellets and small amounts of fruit, guinea pigs need hay daily to help them digest their food properly.