The Ultimate Guide to Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs: Expert Care Tips & Fun Facts

Santa Catarina Guinea Pig

Santa Catarina, a picturesque region in southern Brazil, is home to a unique species of guinea pigs known as Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs.

In this guide, you’ll discover the fascinating history behind these enchanting creatures.

We’ll also explore the endearing characteristics that make them stand out in comparison to other guinea pig breeds.

Additionally, you’ll be provided with detailed and practical tips to ensure your Santa Catarina guinea pig receives the care it deserves.

So, let’s embark on an exciting journey to the world of Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs and uncover the secrets behind these captivating creatures.

Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs Overview

Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs are fascinating creatures that deserve your attention. As you learn more about their history and background, you’ll find yourself discovering a whole new world of these adorable rodents.


Originating from the Santa Catarina region of Brazil, these guinea pigs have been a part of the local culture for centuries. They have been used as pets, for food, and even as currency by the indigenous people of the area.

Over time, they’ve been introduced to other parts of the world, captivating the hearts of animal lovers everywhere. In more recent years, dedicated breeding programs have been established to ensure the preservation of these unique guinea pigs and promote their value as pets.

Physical Characteristics

Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs are quite unique and charming creatures, and knowing their physical characteristics can help you better understand and appreciate these lovable pets.

To begin with, these guinea pigs tend to have compact and sturdy bodies, making them appear well-rounded. Their ears are slightly droopy, and their eyes are expressive and alert.

One striking feature of Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs is their diverse coat types and colors, which can truly make each animal stand out.

Here is a table summarizing the breed’s physical attributes:

Size9-14 inches in length
Weight1.5-2.5 lbs
Coat TypesSmooth, Abyssinian, or Silkie
ColorWhite, cream, brown, or black
Lifespan5-7 years

Color-wise, these guinea pigs come in a wide range of options, from solid hues to appealing combinations. They can be white, cream, brown, or black, with markings that may include spots, stripes, or patches.

Remember that each guinea pig is unique, so it’s fun to see what combination of coat type and color your pet will possess!

In terms of size and weight, Santa Catarina Guinea Pigs usually range between 9-14 inches in length and 1.5-2.5 pounds, making them a comfortable size for handling. With proper care, a healthy diet, and a clean living environment, your furry friend’s lifespan could be anywhere from 5-7 years.

Personality Overview

Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs are known for their delightful personalities and adorable appearances.

These guinea pigs have a moderate energy level, which means they’re not too demanding in terms of playtime.

They enjoy exploring their surroundings and engaging in occasional bouts of activity, like running through tunnels or chasing toys. However, they’re also content to cuddle up with you on the couch for some quiet bonding time.

Here’s a summary of Santa Catarina’s guinea pig breed traits:

HealthGenerally Healthy

Comparison to Other Breeds

Santa Catarina's Guinea Pigs

When exploring the world of guinea pigs, you’ll notice that Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs have some unique characteristics that set them apart from other breeds. Let’s dive into some of these differences to help you understand how they compare.

First, consider the size and weight of Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs in comparison to other breeds.

While most guinea pigs weigh between 700g and 1.2kg, Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs tend to be on the smaller side, with an average weight of around 800g. This makes them slightly more compact and easier to handle for younger or less experienced owners.

The coat of Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs is another distinguishing feature. Unlike some other guinea pig breeds, such as the long-haired Peruvian or the curly-coated Texel, Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs have a short, smooth coat.

This requires less grooming and maintenance on your part, making them a more low-maintenance option.

When it comes to temperament, Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs tend to be more social and friendly than some other breeds like Sheba guinea pigs. They enjoy interacting with their owners and are generally easy to handle.

This makes them an excellent choice for families and first-time guinea pig owners. However, it’s important to note that individual personality traits can vary, so dedicate time to getting to know your specific guinea pig.

Diet and Nutrition

Taking care of your Santa Catarina guinea pig involves providing them with a proper diet and nutritional plan. A balanced diet is essential for the health and well-being of your furry little friend. A good diet includes fresh vegetables, fruits, hay, and guinea pig pellets.

Start by offering your guinea pig an unlimited supply of hay. Guinea pigs thrive on fresh, high-quality hay which not only provides necessary fiber but also helps maintain their dental health. Timothy hay and orchard grass hay are great options for your pet.

In addition to hay, a daily dose of fresh vegetables is important. Green leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuce, kale, and parsley provide essential vitamins and minerals. However, avoid iceberg lettuce, as it lacks nutrients. Additionally, include bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes occasionally.

For fruits, offer your guinea pig small amounts of apples, strawberries, or blueberries, but not frequently. Fruits should be considered a treat due to their high sugar content. Remember to remove seeds and stems, as they may be toxic.

Finally, provide a small portion of guinea pig pellets daily as a source of essential nutrients. Opt for high-quality pellets fortified with vitamin C, as guinea pigs cannot produce this vital nutrient on their own.

Here is an example of a weekly meal plan for your Santa Catarina guinea pig:

MondayRomaine LettuceApple1/8 Cup
TuesdayBell Pepper1/8 Cup
WednesdayKaleStrawberry1/8 Cup
ThursdayCarrot1/8 Cup
FridayParsleyBlueberry1/8 Cup
SaturdayCucumber1/8 Cup
SundayTomato1/8 Cup

Remember to always provide your guinea pig with constant access to fresh water in a sipper bottle to prevent dehydration.

Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig Care

Grooming – Brushing and Haircuts

To keep your Santa Catarina’s guinea pig healthy and happy, it’s important to groom them regularly. Use a soft-bristle brush to gently brush their fur and remove any loose hair or debris. For long-haired guinea pigs, trim their hair to prevent it from becoming tangled or matted.


Guinea pigs don’t need frequent baths, but occasionally you may need to clean your pet, especially if they get dirty or smelly.

Use a small container and lukewarm water to bathe them gently. Keep their head and ears above water to avoid water getting into their ears or mouth. Use a special guinea pig shampoo, rinse thoroughly, and towel-dry them before returning them to their cage.

Nail Clipping

Regular nail clipping is essential for your guinea pig’s overall health. Use guinea pig-specific nail clippers and carefully trim their nails every 4-6 weeks. Steady their paws with one hand while trimming with the other to ensure their safety.

Tip: If you accidentally cut the quick (the blood supply in the nail), use styptic powder or cornstarch to stop any bleeding.

Dental Care

Guinea pigs have continuously growing teeth, so providing them with plenty of hay and chew toys will help wear down their teeth naturally. Occasionally, inspect their teeth to ensure they aren’t overgrown or misaligned. If you notice any issues, consult your vet for guidance.


Regularly check your guinea pig’s ears for wax buildup, debris, or signs of infection. Use a cotton ball or swab dampened with warm water to gently clean the outer part of their ears. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal, as this can cause damage or infection.

Handling and Socialization

Handling and socializing with your Santa Catarina’s guinea pig is important for building a bond and making them comfortable with human interaction. Start by offering treats and gently petting them.

Once they seem relaxed, carefully pick them up using two hands – one to support their chest and the other to cradle their hindquarters. Hold them securely but gently, and keep interaction sessions brief at first, gradually increasing the duration as they become more comfortable.

Remember to be patient and gentle, and with time, your guinea pig will grow confident and trusting in your care.

Common Health Issues in Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs

Vitamin C Deficiency (Scurvy)

As a Santa Catarina’s guinea pig owner, it’s crucial for you to know that they cannot produce their own Vitamin C, making them susceptible to scurvy.

To avoid this issue, include fresh vegetables high in Vitamin C like bell peppers and broccoli in their diet. Keep an eye out for symptoms like lethargy, joint swelling, and rough hair.

Urinary Problems

Urinary problems, such as bladder stones, can be common in your guinea pig. Ensure they have constant access to fresh water, and consider feeding them a diet low in calcium to reduce the risk of stone formation.

Signs of urinary problems include blood in the urine, straining, and frequent urination.

Pododermatitis (Bumblefoot)

Bumblefoot is a bacterial infection in your guinea pig’s foot. To prevent this painful condition, maintain a clean and dry habitat, and avoid using hard or wire flooring. Look out for redness, swelling, or pus in their feet, which indicates infection.

Respiratory Infections

Protecting your guinea pig from dust and drafts is essential to prevent respiratory infections. Keep their cage clean and dry, and provide clean bedding and proper ventilation. Symptoms of respiratory infections include sneezing, wheezing, and discharge from the eyes or nose.


Diarrhea can be caused by various factors, including a sudden change in your guinea pig’s diet or bacterial infections.

To prevent diarrhea, slowly introduce new foods, and maintain a balanced diet. If your guinea pig is experiencing diarrhea, keep them hydrated and consult your veterinarian immediately.

Mites Infestation

Mites can cause intense itching and skin irritation for your guinea pig. Keep their living space clean and ensure they are in good health to avoid mite infestations.

If your guinea pig is scratching excessively, losing hair, or developing red, irritated skin, consult your veterinarian for appropriate treatment.

Also Read: Lunkarya Guinea Pigs Guide

Breeding Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs

Considerations and Preparation

Before you start breeding your Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs, make sure to consider the responsibility and commitment this process will entail.

Research the proper diet, environment, and genetics to ensure the healthiest offspring. Prep your breeding area by providing an adequate amount of space, ventilation, and hiding spots for the guinea pigs to feel comfortable and secure.

Some important factors to consider include:

  • Age: Wait until your guinea pigs are at least 5 months old before breeding them, ensuring they are mature enough to handle the process.
  • Health: Maintain regular veterinary checkups to confirm both animals are in good health prior to mating.
  • Genetics: Avoid pairing close relatives to prevent inherited health issues in the offspring.

Mating Process

Once you have considered the above factors, the mating process can commence. Introduce the male and female guinea pigs into a neutral space to encourage a successful pairing.

Observe their interaction to ensure that they are compatible and that no aggressive behavior occurs.

During mating, the male will approach the female and perform a series of courtship behaviors, including chasing rumble strutting, and grooming.

The mating itself should be quick and straightforward, typically lasting only a few minutes.

Post-Birth Care

After the female guinea pig has given birth to a litter, which can consist of 1-6 pups, ensure that you provide the best possible post-birth care. This includes:

  • Diet: Offer the nursing mother increased amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and protein to support her health and milk production for the pups.
  • Sanitation: Maintain a clean and dry environment for the mother and her pups to keep their surroundings free from infection and potential health risks.
  • Monitoring: Keep an eye on the pups as they grow, checking for any signs of illness or developmental abnormalities.

Be aware that new mothers may become fertile again soon after birth, so it is important to separate the male guinea pig from the female and her young to prevent another pregnancy too soon. This will ensure the health and well-being of both mother and offspring in your Santa Catarina guinea pig breeding journey.

Housing and Cage Size

When it comes to providing a comfortable home for your Santa Catarina guinea pig, choosing the right cage size is crucial. Guinea pigs need ample space to move around, play, and exercise. A cage that is too small can cause stress and health issues for your furry friend.

For a single Santa Catarina guinea pig, you should aim for a cage that is at least 7.5 square feet or 30 inches x 36 inches in size.

If you plan on housing two guinea pigs together, increase the cage size to at least 10.5 square feet or 30 inches x 50 inches. This ensures that your pets have enough room to explore, play, and establish separate sleeping and eating areas.

When selecting a cage, pay attention to the material and construction. Look for sturdy wire cages with a solid, easy-to-clean plastic or metal base.

Avoid cages with mesh or wire bottoms, as these can be uncomfortable for guinea pigs and potentially cause injuries to their delicate feet. A well-designed cage will also have secure latches and doors to prevent escapes and keep your pets safe.

Inside the cage, provide your guinea pigs with ample bedding to keep them comfortable and warm. Popular bedding options include paper-based products, aspen shavings, or fleece liners. Whichever material you choose, make sure to change it frequently to maintain a clean and healthy environment.

Don’t forget to give your Santa Catarina guinea pigs the opportunity to exercise and play outside their cage. Setting up a secure play area with tunnels, ramps, and toys will not only provide mental stimulation but also help them maintain a healthy weight.

Essential Supply List

In addition to the cage, your pet will need the following supplies:

Water bottle: Your guinea pig needs access to fresh water at all times. A drip-style water bottle is an excellent choice, as it prevents spilling and keeps the water clean.

Food dish: A sturdy and easy-to-clean food dish is essential for holding your guinea pig’s pellets or fresh vegetables.

Hay feeder: Guinea pigs require a constant supply of hay for their digestive health. A hay feeder keeps the hay clean and organized, making it easily accessible for your pet.

Guinea pig pellets: Specially formulated guinea pig pellets are an important part of their diet. Look for a high-quality pellet that meets your guinea pig’s nutritional needs.

Vegetables: Provide your guinea pig with a daily supply of fresh vegetables, such as leafy greens, bell peppers, and carrots. These contribute to their overall well-being and help prevent health issues.

Toys and hideouts: Guinea pigs are curious and playful creatures. Toys and hideouts help keep them entertained and provide a sense of security in their cage.

Grooming supplies: A soft brush is necessary for grooming your guinea pig, especially if it has long hair. Nail clippers and a gentle shampoo are also useful for keeping your pet clean and cared for.

Cleaning supplies: A clean cage is essential for your guinea pig’s health. Prepare a set of cleaning supplies, such as pet-safe disinfectants, gloves, and a small brush or sponge.

A playpen is a great addition for your guinea pig. While it’s important to have a secure and comfortable cage, providing them with additional space to explore and exercise can greatly enrich their lives.

There are various types of playpens available, ranging from collapsible wire pens to more elaborate, themed options.

Consider purchasing some toys to keep your guinea pig occupied and stimulated. Common options include tunnels, hideouts, and chewable toys made from safe materials like untreated wood or cardboard. Providing your guinea pig with toys can help prevent boredom and encourage natural behaviors such as burrowing and chewing.

Finally, you might want to invest in a few grooming tools to keep your guinea pig looking and feeling its best. Soft bristle brushes, small animal-safe nail clippers, and hair scissors (for long-haired breeds) can help you maintain your pet’s appearance and prevent uncomfortable matting or overgrown nails.

Where to Get Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs

Buying In Online and Offline Stores

When looking for Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs, you have options for both online and offline stores. Online stores usually have a wider selection and can provide helpful information about the breed. You might find reputable breeders or trusted pet stores through websites like GuineaPigFinder or PetSmart.

Meanwhile, offline stores or local pet shops can offer you the advantage of seeing and interacting with guinea pigs before purchasing. This way, you can assess their health and temperament. Don’t forget to inquire about the origin and breeding practices behind the guinea pigs you’re interested in.


Adopting Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs is another great option. Many guinea pigs end up in shelters or rescue centers, waiting for a loving home. By adopting one, you provide a caring environment and help reduce the number of unwanted animals in shelters.

You can check local animal shelters, rescue organizations, or dedicated guinea pig adoption centers.

These organizations often socialize and treat health issues for their guinea pigs, so you’ll be sure to find a healthy and friendly companion. Remember to ask about the guinea pig’s background and health history when adopting.

Throughout the adoption process, don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek advice from shelter staff or volunteers. They’re often knowledgeable and can guide you through the process of finding your perfect Santa Catarina’s guinea pig.

Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to Ridegback Guinea Pigs

Quick Care Reference Table

Caring for Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs can be a fun and rewarding experience. They are social, gentle pets, and with proper care, they can live a healthy and happy life. To make this process easier for you, we’ve created a Quick Care Reference Table that breaks down daily, weekly, and monthly care responsibilities.

Daily Care

  • Food: Provide fresh hay and high-quality guinea pig pellets as their staple diet. Offer a variety of fresh vegetables such as bell peppers, leafy greens, and small amounts of fruits like apples and strawberries.
  • Water: Make sure your guinea pig has access to clean water in a water bottle daily. Check and refill it as needed.
  • Spot cleaning: Scan and clean any soiled or damp areas in their cage every day.

Weekly Care

  • Thorough cage cleaning: Once a week, completely clean your guinea pig’s cage by removing all bedding, scrubbing the pan, and replacing it with fresh bedding.
  • Grooming: Regular grooming is essential for your guinea pig’s health and well-being. Long-haired breeds may need more frequent grooming.
Spot cleaning✔️  
Thorough cage cleaning ✔️ 
Grooming ✔️ 
Veterinary check-up  ✔️

Monthly Care

  • Veterinary check-up: Schedule a visit to the vet at least once a year to make sure your Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig stays healthy. Preventative care makes a difference.


Do Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs Get Along With Other Guinea Pigs Breeds?

Yes, Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs generally get along well with other guinea pig breeds. Ensure that you introduce them slowly and provide a spacious living area for them to interact. It’s essential to monitor their interactions to prevent any potential problems.

Do Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs Get Along With Other Pets?

Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs can get along with other pets, but you must ensure that the other pets are guinea pig-friendly.

Keep in mind that some animals, such as dogs and cats, may see guinea pigs as prey. Always supervise their interactions and provide a safe environment for your guinea pigs.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig?

The price of a Santa Catarina’s guinea pig can vary depending on factors such as age, where you buy it, and its unique traits.

Expect to spend between $25-$75 when purchasing one. Don’t forget to budget for additional costs such as housing, food, and vet visits.

How Long Do Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs Live?

Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs typically live between 5 to 7 years, although with proper care, they can live up to around 8 years.

Regular veterinary check-ups, a healthy diet, and a clean living environment can help increase their lifespan.

Are Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs Easy Pets?

Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs are relatively easy pets to care for as they are low-maintenance and friendly.

They require a clean living environment, fresh water, and nutritious food daily for their health. Additionally, they enjoy social interaction and playtime to keep them happy and mentally stimulated.

Are Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs Better for Indoor or Outdoor?

Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs can live both indoors and outdoors. Indoor living provides a more controlled environment, protecting your guinea pigs from predators and inclement weather.

If housed outdoors, place their enclosure in a safe, shaded area and provide extra protection during extreme weather conditions.

Are Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs Carnivores, Herbivores, or Omnivores?

Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs are herbivores, meaning they exclusively eat plant material. Their diet should consist of a variety of nutritious vegetables, fruits, and high-quality hay. Supplement their diets with vitamin C-rich foods as they cannot produce their own vitamin C.

Are Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs Rare?

Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs are not considered extremely rare, but they are less common than some other breeds. If you are interested in owning one, check with local breeders or guinea pig rescue organizations to find a Santa Catarina guinea pig.

Do Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pigs Bite?

While Santa Catarina’s guinea pigs are generally gentle, like any animal, they might bite if they feel threatened or scared. Handling them with care, getting them used to your presence, and respecting their boundaries will reduce the likelihood of them biting.

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