MAKING OUR HOME BEAUTIFUL 241
By DAVID E. LANTZ
F OR four centuries the guinea pig was regarded merely as a pet and bred for show and fancy alone. Being a plastic animal, it was considerably changed during this period, and several strains and modifications of the original were developed. Thus, besides the smooth-haired forms, we have the Peruvian, which is a very long-haired type, and the Abyssinian, a type with rather long hair standing out in curious rosettes all over the body. The long-haired cavies are not recommended for ordinary pets, as their coats need much care. The smooth-haired require less attention and make equally attractive pets. They have the advantages of being easily kept and of never biting when handled. However, it is not advisable to subject pet animals of any sort to much handling or fondling. Even dogs and cats are always the worst for such treatment, and pet rabbits or guinea pigs soon show the results of much handling in their roughened coats and lack of sprightliness. Long-haired guinea pigs, especially if intended for show, require some handling, since the hair has to be brushed frequently. This is best done while the animal rests on a high shelf where it need not be held during the brushing.
Few animals are as easily raised as guinea pigs. They are much less subject to diseases than rabbits.
Selection of Stock
For all purposes, except show, the only kinds of guinea pigs that should be grown are the smooth-haired varieties. These are of several colors. Those with pink eyes are albinos, usually pure white, but sometimes more or less marked with obscure spots. Occasionally an individual guinea pig is of a single color other than white. Thus they may be red, gray,
* Used by permission of the United States Biological Survey.