The World’s Oldest Guinea Pig

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: November 12, 2021
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If you own guinea pigs or even if you simply have fun watching them in the pet store, you probably know a lot of things about them. Some guinea pigs have a short, smooth coat while others have curly, long hair. They all like to jump, run and chatter. Of course, if you own guinea pigs you want them to live as long as possible. Maybe even set a world record.

Keep reading to learn some facts about the pet that holds the world record for the oldest guinea pig. Furthermore, find out about another guinea pig that tried to beat the world record. Also, study some practical steps you can take to maintain the good health of your guinea pig and possibly even extend its life.

Oldest Guinea Pig
An old guinea pig with grey long hair sitting on a table, reaching for the food.

Chertamchu/Shutterstock.com

Introducing the World’s Oldest Guinea Pig

According to Guinness World Records, a guinea pig named Snowball holds the record as the oldest guinea pig. Snowball lived to the age of 14 years and ten and a half months. He died in 1979.

This guinea pig belonged to a woman named M.A. Wall and made his home in Nottinghamshire in the United Kingdom.

The Second Oldest Guinea Pig in the World

The second oldest guinea pig in pursuit of the world record was a pet named Bear. Bear lived with his owner Edith Rotherham in Grimsby a town in Lincolnshire, England. Unfortunately, Bear died in 2021 at the age of 14. Since Snowball was almost 15 years old when he died, Bear didn’t surpass his world record. But Bear was still very appreciated and loved by his owner. In fact, Bear’s owner now has another guinea pig that she is caring for just as well in the hopes of pursuing the world record!

What Did the World Record Holder Eat?

Certainly, Snowball must’ve enjoyed an excellent level of care to have lived 14 years, ten and a half months. This likely included plenty of hay along with kale, lettuce, and other leafy vegetables. Fresh water every day, lots of exercise, and checkups at the veterinarian were likely a part of Snowball’s care.

Typical Life Expectancy of a Guinea Pig

The typical life expectancy of a guinea pig ranges from five to seven years. Snowball lived twice as long as guinea pigs are expected to survive. So, as you see, a world record of 14 years, ten and a half months is truly a big deal!

Of course, many issues factor into the lifespan of a guinea pig. These include health issues, diet, the amount of exercise it receives, and healthcare.

What Steps Can an Owner Take to Extend the Life of Their Guinea Pig?

Oldest Guinea Pig
Two guinea pigs are eating cabbage leaves. Giving your guinea pig the right type of diet can contribute to a long life for your pet.

yurilily/Shutterstock.com

Giving your guinea pig the right type of diet can contribute to a long life for your pet.

Not only do leafy greens like kale and romaine lettuce give your guinea pig nutrients, but they also help to keep its teeth filed. Keeping their teeth filed helps to head off some serious health issues. Hay is another essential in a guinea pig’s diet. Fresh water and some guinea pig food known as pellets are other must-haves in the diet of this furry critter.

Giving a guinea pig a regular routine of exercise is another way to potentially extend its life. These small pets like to play, run, hide, and jump. They even perform a fun trick called popcorning! Exercise keeps them from gaining excess weight and provides gives them plenty of mental stimulation.

Guinea pigs are social animals. So, it can certainly help them maintain good health when they have a partner to play with. This is why so many guinea pig experts advise owning at least two guinea pigs. The more social they are, the happier they are!

Cleaning a guinea pig’s cage at least once per week is another step in keeping this animal in good health. Some guinea pigs need their cage cleaned more than once per week. Like all pets, some guinea pigs are messier than others!

Whether you keep it in a glass aquarium or a wire cage with a plastic base, it’s best to use hot, soapy water to scrub it. This removes bacteria that can grow in the moist shavings covering the floor.

Be sure to thoroughly rinse the floor of the cage and its walls so no soap is left behind. The wires of a cage should be cleaned with mild soap and rinsed. If you’ve ever had a guinea pig in a wire cage, you know they have a tendency to put their mouth and teeth on the wires.

Don’t forget to clean the water bottle and bowl with hot water and mild soap. These two items can take on a lot of germs.

The final task is to put fresh shavings in the cage. Dust-free shavings made with aspen wood or kiln-dried pine are ideal choices. Using dust-free shavings cuts down on the risk of allergy flareups and various other respiratory issues of this pet.

Guinea pigs need to visit the veterinarian just as dogs, cats, and other animals do. A veterinarian specializing in small animals can advise an owner on changes in diet and provide care when the guinea pig is feeling sick.

Having a veterinarian that gives a guinea pig a checkup once each year can help an owner to address any of the pet’s health issues right away. In addition, if the guinea pig ever has an injury or a serious illness, the owner will have a vet to visit who is already familiar with the medical history of the pet.

Finally, taking these steps may help your guinea pig reach a ripe old age or even set a new world record!

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.