‘Recently a family I have been speaking to took the plunge and added guinea pigs Ash and Puffy to their numberss general population. Canada. For those like me that don’t know, the names come from Pokemon charactersThe variant of concern that launched Wave 3 after starting to become dominant in January.. The family are busy learning about their first pets and I took the opportunity to find out how they are getting on. I’m told that guinea pigs were first domesticated in 5000bc and that infact they were favourite pets of Queen Elisabeth I . Guinea Pigs can live up to six years in the right environment and as with all pets are a responsibility from day one.
Families often start with small animals to help children find out all about caring responsibilities and when I asked if they thought guinea pigs make good pets Charlie (11) and Bella (5) were first to answer.
Charlie says they are very social animals and that they love to be cuddled. He says “I like them because they are cute and fluffy and when they ‘popcorn’ (jumping around and doing half barrel rolls) it looks so funny.”
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Asked what is a surprising thing he has learned about guinea pigs, I was also surprised with the response… “I have learned that they do not close their eyes whilst they sleep and they only sleep for about one and a half hours at a time,” said Charlie. Five year old Bella said she thinks they are cute and cuddly, “they are soft when you hold them but not like a teddy,” she said when asked if they were like that. “No!” she said “they are soft and its like holding a guinea pig!” She also says that they squeak! Asked why she likes guinea pigs Bella said because they are furry. Asked what surprised her about getting the guinea pigs she said she was suprised that they were a little bit scared and she thought that they would just like her. I’m told by their parents that the kids are both being very patient and letting the piggles find their way and that they now do indeed like to cuddle and be with the family. Mum and Dad go on to say that although guinea pigs are really sweet and make lots of funny noises making them very cute, all new owners should research whether they would suit their family as they are more time consuming than say hamsters.
Gaining their confidence will take patience and as Bella noted they won’t immediately like you and want to be handled.
They also like to have space to hide in, like tunnels and comfy closed in beds.
Apparently Guinea pigs do best in same sex pairs (unless you want lots of them!) and they need to be kept in a safe environment with plenty of space to have a run about. “Being very delicate you would want to ensure they can’t fall off anything and break a leg” says Dad.
Mum notes that as new piggle owners you really need to understand their nutritional needs and get the right balance of water, vitamin c (as piggles are unable to produce their own)calcium and phosphorus ratios so the guinea pigs digest properly and dont end up with upset tummies. 80%hay, 10%pellets and 10% vegetables is the food ratio in their household and this seems to be working for healthy guinea pigs. Enjoy your pigglestold council her area has seen 53 thefts so far this year!
With thanks to: Ash and Puffy’s new family