If you ask a child what their favourite small furry animal is, I bet that most of them will say they prefer rabbits. Rabbits are lovely creatures with their fluffy coats and big floppy ears, but I’ve always felt a bit sorry for guinea pigs because they seem to be a bit forgotten, and there as so many wonderful things about them that people are missing out on.
I’ve kept guinea pigs for many years and I’m completely addicted to their stupid whiskers, furry bottoms and ridiculous little feet. Moreover I just love how chatty and interactive they are. It might sound bizarre, but I get a level of companionship from my guinea pigs only rivaled by my dog. And they don’t leave large smelly presents all over my lawn like my dog does, so that’s got to be a bonus.
Guinea pigs live from around four to eight years, and they are best kept in pairs or groups. They are herbivores and live on a diet of vegetables, hay and grass, some fruits, and special dried guinea pig feed. Male guinea pigs are called “boars”, female guinea pigs are called “sows”, and their offspring are called “pups”. Did you know that guinea pigs purr just like cats when they’re happy? They vibrate from top to bottom and squeak to show their appreciation of a good cuddle. They make the perfect “lap pet” to stroke while sitting down in front of the telly, and there’s nothing quite like helping your guinea pig munch its way through a nice fresh carrot.
I’m sure guinea pigs can tell when meal times are because they whistle at you like an excited boiled kettle at the same times every day. They learn to associate sounds with food, so rustling a bag or opening a drawer can start them off squeaking at you. I once had two guinea pigs who shouted at the postman when the letterbox opened because he arrived at breakfast time! Guinea pigs really are interactive, chatty and chummy creatures, and they make engaging, fun and amazing pets for people of all ages. Give them a go, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!