Rex Guinea Pigs make exciting and unique pets for those who love the charming personalities of guinea pigs and desire a distinctive appearance.
These adorable creatures, known for their curly, dense, and plush coats, are a pleasure to care for and interact with. By learning about their specific needs and how to cater to them, you will ensure a happy and healthy life for your Rex Guinea Pig.
As a Rex Guinea Pig enthusiast, it’s essential to understand their specific characteristics and needs. Like any other guinea pig breed, they require a comfortable living environment, proper nutrition, social interaction, and routine health care.
This guide discusses the care and husbandry for this guinea pig species.
Rex Guinea Pigs Overview
History and Background
The Rex Guinea Pig originated in France in the 1970s, where a genetic mutation caused their short and curly coat.
Due to their charming appearance, Rex Guinea Pigs quickly gained popularity as pets. They are incredibly sociable and gentle, so they make excellent companions for people of all ages. Rex Guinea Pigs are not only loved for their looks but also for their lively and curious nature.
Rex Guinea Pigs typically have a life expectancy of 5-7 years with proper care, which includes a balanced diet of hay, pellets, and fresh vegetables.
Let us now study this cavy’s physical characteristics.
Rex Guinea Pigs have some distinct physical characteristics that make them stand out from other guinea pig varieties.
They have a relatively small size, typically ranging from 8 to 12 inches in length. Their weight can vary, but adult Rex Guinea Pigs usually weigh between 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. This makes them a manageable size for kids and adults alike who want a cuddly and friendly pet.
One of the most noticeable features of a Rex Guinea Pig is its curly, plush coat. This frizzy fur gives them a distinct appearance, and they come in various colors, including white, cream, gray, brown, black, and multicolored patterns. Their coat is densely textured, and the curls are evenly distributed across their bodies. They also have whiskers.
Another striking feature of the Rex Guinea Pig is their whiskers, which are also curly, giving their faces an adorable and expressive appearance. Their bodies are compact and well-rounded, and they have short legs that are perfect for scurrying around and exploring their surroundings.
Rex Guinea Pigs are known for their fun-loving and gentle nature. They have the ability to form strong bonds with their humans and are considered an excellent choice as a family pet.
Rex Guinea Pigs are usually very social, so it’s essential to provide them with companionship, either from another guinea pig or through regular interaction with you.
They enjoy being handled and cuddled and will thrive in a loving environment where they receive plenty of attention.
One of the best aspects of Rex Guinea Pigs is their curiosity and intelligence. They can be quite playful, so you should consider providing them with an array of toys and stimulating activities to keep their minds active and entertained.
Here’s a brief summary of the Rex Guinea Pig breed characteristics:
Comparison to Other Breeds
When it comes to hair types, Rex Guinea Pigs have short, frizzy, and curly hair that distinguishes them from other breeds.
The unique texture of their coats is easy to maintain and can often result in a low-allergenic pet. In contrast, the Peruvian Guinea Pig has long, silky hair that requires more grooming and care.
Not only do Rex Guinea Pigs differ in hair type, but also in temperament. Rex Guinea Pigs are known for their friendly and social nature, making them ideal pets for families and those looking to bond with their furry friends. They also do well in pairs or small groups, as they thrive in social settings.
When considering size, Rex Guinea Pigs tend to be slightly larger than some other breeds, such as the American Guinea Pig, weighing up to 2.5 pounds. They typically have a more muscular and sturdy build, which makes them easier to handle and can be a great choice for first-time guinea pig owners.
Diet and Nutrition
Rex Guinea Pigs, like any other guinea pigs, require a balanced diet for their overall health and vitality. Your guinea pig’s diet must include a variety of fresh vegetables, high-quality hay, and a moderate amount of guinea pig pellets to meet their nutritional needs.
First and foremost, hay is essential for your guinea pig’s digestive health. Provide your pet with unlimited access to fresh, quality hay, like Timothy or Orchard grass. This fibrous food not only helps in maintaining their dental health but also supports their digestive system.
Incorporate a wide array of fresh vegetables into your guinea pig’s daily meal plan. Vegetables that are safe to include are bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and zucchini. Remember to wash the vegetables thoroughly and remove any seeds or hard parts before serving them to your pet.
Limit your guinea pig’s pellet intake to about 1/8 cup per day. Choose pellets that are specifically designed for guinea pigs, containing essential vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin C. Opt for ones with no added sugars or colorful bits to avoid unhealthy ingredients.
Here’s an example of a Weekly Meal Plan for your Rex Guinea Pig:
|Bell pepper, carrot, romaine lettuce
|Broccoli, zucchini, cucumber
|Bell pepper, carrot, romaine lettuce
|Broccoli, zucchini, cucumber
|Bell pepper, carrot, romaine lettuce
|Broccoli, zucchini, cucumber
|Bell pepper, carrot, romaine lettuce
Ensure fresh water is always available and change it daily to maintain cleanliness and prevent bacterial growth. Offer a small portion of fruits as occasional treats, but not more than twice a week, as guinea pigs have a sweet tooth which may lead to overconsumption and health issues.
Following this diet plan and incorporating variety in the veggies you offer will help to keep your Rex Guinea Pig healthy and happy.
Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to Montane Guinea Pigs
Rex Guinea Pig Care
Rex Guinea Pigs require special care to ensure they are happy and healthy. In this guide, you’ll learn how to properly groom, bathe, trim nails, provide dental care, maintain their ears, and socialize your Rex Guinea Pig.
Grooming – Brushing and Haircuts
To maintain their unique coat, gently brush them with a soft-bristle brush once a week. If you notice any matted fur, carefully trim it away with round-tipped scissors.
Your Rex Guinea Pig doesn’t need frequent bathing, as they usually keep themselves clean. However, if they get dirty, you can give them a gentle bath.
Use a shallow pool of warm water and a small amount of guinea pig-specific or gentle soap. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and dry your guinea pig with a soft, clean towel, avoiding direct heat or drafts.
Regular nail trims are essential for your Rex Guinea Pig’s well-being. You should trim their nails every 3 to 4 weeks.
Use a small pair of nail clippers designed for pets, and be cautious not to cut the quick, which is the blood vessel inside the nail. Holding a flashlight behind the nail can help you locate the quick more easily.
Guinea Pigs’ teeth continuously grow throughout their lives, so it’s crucial to provide proper dental care.
Ensure they have access to unlimited hay to help wear down their teeth naturally. Check their teeth regularly for proper alignment and length, and consult your vet if you notice any issues.
Rex Guinea Pigs can accumulate dirt and wax in their ears. Clean their ears every couple of weeks using a cotton swab dampened with warm water, being careful to avoid the inner ear canal. Monitor for redness, swelling, or discharge, which could indicate an infection or mite infestation.
Handling and Socialization
Regular interaction with your Rex Guinea Pig helps them become comfortable and confident. Hold your guinea pig gently but firmly, supporting their entire body, and refrain from grabbing them by their scruff.
Introduce them to new people and experiences slowly, ensuring they always feel safe. Create a stimulating environment with toys, hiding spots, and other enrichment activities to keep your guinea pig engaged and entertained.
Common Health Issues in Rex Guinea Pigs
Vitamin C Deficiency (Scurvy)
Rex Guinea Pigs, like all guinea pigs, cannot produce Vitamin C on their own, so it’s crucial for you to provide enough Vitamin C through their diet.
A deficiency can lead to scurvy, which causes lethargy, joint pain, and bleeding gums. Ensure your Rex Guinea Pig gets enough Vitamin C by feeding them a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as vitamin C-fortified guinea pig pellets.
Urinary problems, such as urolithiasis, are common in older guinea pigs, especially females. Some common signs of urinary problems include blood in the urine, difficulty urinating, and frequent urination.
If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Pododermatitis, also known as bumblefoot, is an infection of the footpad that can cause swelling, redness, and pain.
This condition can affect Rex Guinea Pigs due to their sensitive skin and susceptibility to injury. Keep their cage clean and provide soft bedding to reduce the risk of bumblefoot. If you notice any signs of infection, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Respiratory infections are common in guinea pigs, and Rex Guinea Pigs are no exception. Pneumonia and other respiratory infections typically occur due to poor ventilation, elevated humidity, or exposure to drafts.
If you notice symptoms like wheezing, nasal discharge, and rapid breathing, contact your veterinarian for prompt treatment.
Diarrhea can be a sign of various health issues in Rex Guinea Pigs, including bacterial infections, parasites, or dietary changes.
Make sure to monitor your guinea pig’s stool consistency and consult your veterinarian if diarrhea persists. Ensuring a balanced diet, maintaining a clean cage, and regular check-ups can help prevent diarrhea-related issues.
Mites are tiny parasites that can infest Rex Guinea Pigs, causing intense itching and hair loss.
Regular grooming, maintaining a clean living environment, and using approved anti-parasite treatments can help prevent mite infestations. If you suspect your guinea pig is suffering from mites, consult your veterinarian for an appropriate treatment.
Remember to keep an eye on your Rex Guinea Pig’s health and consult your veterinarian at the first sign of any issues. Proper care and timely intervention can help ensure a happy, healthy life for your furry friend.
Breeding Rex Guinea Pigs
Considerations and Preparation
Before breeding your Rex Guinea Pigs, ensure you have enough space and resources to care for the offspring.
Also, determine the sex of your guinea pigs. Males should be at least four months old, while females should be at least five months old before breeding.
- The gene pool: Only breed healthy animals with good temperaments, avoiding close relatives.
- Proper vet care: Regular check-ups are essential to keep the breeding pair healthy.
- Adequate housing: Each guinea pig should have a clean, spacious, and safe environment.
Introduce the male and female Rex Guinea Pigs in a neutral environment to prevent territorial disputes. Monitor their behavior; if they show aggression, separate them and try again later. When the male mounts the female without conflict, it indicates a successful mating process.
Some important tips:
- Limit breeding: Allow your female guinea pig to rest for at least two months between pregnancies to ensure her health.
- Signs of pregnancy: A pregnant female will gain weight and show a pear-shaped body.
- Gestation period: Rex Guinea Pigs are pregnant for about 63-72 days. Please consult with a vet to determine the due date.
When your Rex Guinea Pigs give birth, you will need to be prepared to care for the newborn pups. Here are some steps to follow:
- Inspect the pups: Ensure the newborns are clean, warm, and free from injury.
- Mother’s diet: Provide a nutrient-rich diet for the mother as she will be nursing her pups regularly.
- Monitoring: Keep a close eye on the pups during their first few weeks, watching for any signs of illness or distress.
- Housing: Separate the pups by gender at 3 weeks old to prevent early pregnancies.
- Socialization: Introduce the pups to human handling gently and gradually to ensure they become well-adjusted pets.
Remember to consult with a vet on any concerns related to your Rex Guinea Pigs’ health or breeding. Breeding can be a rewarding experience, but ensure you are fully prepared and committed to providing the best care for your guinea pigs and their offspring.
Housing and Cage Size
When choosing a suitable cage for your Rex Guinea Pig, it’s important to consider the space it needs to thrive. A comfortable and happy guinea pig can live up to 8 years, so it’s essential to choose a spacious and well-designed cage from the start.
The minimum cage size for a single Rex Guinea Pig is 7.5 square feet (30 inches x 36 inches), but if you can provide more space, that’s even better. Guinea pigs are social animals, so if you’re planning to introduce a companion to your Rex, a 10.5 square feet (30 inches x 50 inches) cage is recommended.
A properly designed cage should have a solid floor; wire mesh, which may be found in some cages, can lead to foot injuries. Your guinea pig will appreciate having a hideout or a small house within the cage. This provides a safe and cozy space for them to rest and hide in, as they appreciate some privacy.
For bedding, choose a soft and absorbent material like paper-based bedding or aspen wood shavings. Cedar and pine shavings can cause respiratory issues, so they should be avoided. Also, make sure you clean the cage regularly, as guinea pigs are sensitive to ammonia build-up from urine.
In addition, your Rex Guinea Pig will need some essential items within its cage:
- A water bottle to provide fresh water at all times
- A food dish for pellets, fruits, and vegetables
- Hay rack or dispenser for their primary source of fiber
- Toys and chewable items to keep them entertained and maintain dental health
Finally, guinea pigs are sensitive to temperature changes and drafts. So, ensure that their housing is positioned in a stable temperature environment with low humidity, away from direct sunlight and drafts. Following these tips will help you create a comfortable and spacious home for your Rex Guinea Pig, ensuring they are healthy, happy, and live a long life.
Hideouts: Guinea pigs are prey animals and need hiding spots to feel safe and secure. Provide your Rex with at least one hideout where they can retreat for some privacy and rest. These can be store-bought hidey houses or simple as a cardboard box with an entrance cut out.
Toys and Enrichment: Boredom can lead to health issues, so it’s important to keep your Rex Guinea Pig entertained. Offer a variety of toys and chew items, such as wooden blocks, cardboard tubes, or fruit tree branches. Encourage exploration and exercise by adding tunnels, ramps, or platforms in their cage.
Hay rack: A hay rack helps keep your guinea pig’s hay supply clean and off the floor. It attaches to the side of the cage and reduces waste and mess.
Grooming supplies: Though Rex Guinea Pigs have a unique, low-maintenance coat, occasional grooming is needed. A soft bristle brush, nail clippers, and pet-safe grooming wipes can help keep them clean and tidy.
Travel Carrier: When traveling with your Rex Guinea Pig, it’s essential to have a secure and comfortable carrier. Look for carriers with proper ventilation, sturdy construction, and easily accessible doors.
Remember, these are optional, but they can make a positive difference in not only your Rex Guinea Pig’s life but yours as well.
Where to Get Rex Guinea Pigs
Buying In Online and Offline Stores
When looking for Rex Guinea Pigs, you have the option of buying them both online and offline stores.
Online stores usually have updated information about available guinea pigs, prices, and breeder information. This makes it easy for you to compare prices and find the perfect Rex Guinea Pig for your home.
Offline stores, including pet stores and local breeders, are another option when searching for your perfect Rex Guinea Pig.
Visiting local pet stores allows you to interact with the guinea pigs in person before making a decision. On the other hand, local breeders may have more specialized knowledge and breed-specific experience, ensuring the proper care of the animals.
Adopting a Rex Guinea Pig is another wonderful option to consider. Many guinea pigs in shelters and rescue organizations are in need of loving homes, and you could provide one for a Rex Guinea Pig. Adopting from a shelter or rescue organization often comes with several benefits, such as:
- Health Check: Guinea Pigs are typically examined by a veterinarian before adoption
- Spay/Neuter: Most shelters and rescue organizations will spay/neuter guinea pigs prior to adoption
- Support: Adoption organizations often provide ongoing support and advice for new pet owners
To find a Rex Guinea Pig available for adoption, start by searching local shelters and rescue organizations.
They often have up-to-date listings on their websites, or you can call to inquire about any Rex Guinea Pigs in their care. Remember that adopting a pet is a lifelong commitment, so make sure you are prepared for the responsibility of caring for your new furry friend.
Quick Care Reference Table
Caring for your Rex Guinea Pig can be a rewarding experience, as long as you stay organized and attentive to your pet’s needs. To help you provide the best care possible for your furry friend, we’ve put together a quick care reference table that breaks down daily, weekly, and monthly responsibilities.
|Check food & water
|Full cage deep-cleaning
|Provide fresh veggies
|Weigh your guinea pig
Daily care includes ensuring that your Rex Guinea Pig has enough food and water, with a balanced diet of high-quality guinea pig pellets and a variety of fresh vegetables. Spot-cleaning the cage helps to keep it tidy and avoids unpleasant odors.
Weekly care involves a more thorough cage cleaning, during which you should replace the bedding and remove any debris.
It’s also essential to groom your Rex Guinea Pig’s coat, which can be done gently with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. Weekly weigh-ins can help you monitor your pet’s health, ensuring that they stay within the appropriate weight range.
Monthly care requires a full deep cleaning of the cage, during which you disassemble and wash all components.
This is also the time to trim your Rex Guinea Pig’s nails, ensuring that they don’t overgrow and cause discomfort. Finally, conduct a thorough health check-up, inspecting your pet’s eyes, ears, teeth, and skin for signs of illness or injury.
Do Rex Guinea Pigs Get Along With Other Guinea Pig Breeds?
Yes, Rex Guinea Pigs generally get along well with other guinea pig breeds. It’s essential for their social well-being to have a companion.
When introducing a new guinea pig, do it gradually, ensuring both guinea pigs have enough space to establish their territories.
Do Rex Guinea Pigs Get Along With Other Pets?
Rex Guinea Pigs can coexist with other small pets, like rabbits or gentle birds, under supervision. However, it’s crucial to be cautious with larger pets, like dogs and cats, as guinea pigs are fragile and can be injured if not properly introduced and monitored.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Rex Guinea Pig?
The price of a Rex Guinea Pig varies depending on the breeder, availability, and location. Generally, Rex Guinea Pigs can cost anywhere from $25 to $75. It’s essential to buy from reputable breeders or consider adopting from rescues or shelters.
How Long Do Rex Guinea Pigs Live?
Rex Guinea Pigs typically live for 5 to 7 years. Providing a healthy diet, proper housing, regular veterinary care, and companionship can help ensure your Rex Guinea Pig lives a long and happy life.
Are Rex Guinea Pigs Easy Pets?
Rex Guinea Pigs are relatively low-maintenance pets, making them suitable for first-time pet owners and families. They require a clean environment, a balanced diet, and regular interaction for social health. However, they do need grooming due to their unique curly fur, which may require more attention compared to other guinea pig breeds.
Are Rex Guinea Pigs Better for Indoor or Outdoor?
Rex Guinea Pigs can thrive in both indoor and outdoor environments, provided they have a secure and comfortable space. Generally, keeping them indoors offers better temperature control and protection from predators. If you choose to house them outdoors, ensure they have a weatherproof and predator-proof enclosure.
Are Rex Guinea Pigs Carnivores, Herbivores, or Omnivores?
Rex Guinea Pigs are herbivores, meaning they eat plant-based diets. Provide them with a variety of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and high-quality Timothy hay for balanced nutrition.
Are Rex Guinea Pigs Rare?
Rex Guinea Pigs are not entirely rare, but they’re less common than other guinea pig breeds. Their unique curly fur makes them special and sought-after among guinea pig enthusiasts.
Do Rex Guinea Pigs Bite?
Rex Guinea Pigs, like other small pets, may bite if scared, stressed, or cornered. However, they’re generally friendly and docile animals, and proper handling will minimize the chance of biting. Always approach your guinea pig calmly, speak softly, and avoid sudden movements when interacting with them.