Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Guinea pigs: they're cute, social, and you can eat 'em if you have to!

My wife isn't a big fan of rodents. Neither am I, really. We've always been dog owners (and occasionally fish and tortoise owners). So when my 10-year-old son starting talking about guinea pigs last year, we were a little unsure of what to do. He'd had a tortoise for a number of years. But frankly, the tortoise--though very clean and easy to care for--was just about as exciting as a stick.

Now my son gets good grades, doesn't get into trouble, and is really an all around great kid. Based on that, my wife began to cave in (since I chickened out and left it all on her). She finally agreed, though I insisted that the tortoise had to go (we gave it away to another family). And she insisted that my son had to keep the cage clean (which turned out to be relatively easy). He agreed and last year we added a new member to the family. 'Twas a boy and my son named him Caramel.

Caramel is very friendly. He lets you hold him--most of the time--and has no problem telling you when he wants something. He's very cute and clearly knows my son (and me) on sight, often whistling when one of us comes near. And he'll sit on my son's lap or cling to his chest for as long as he's allowed to do so. He loves to eat, but especially treats, like strawberries, grapes, and--get this--kale (yuck).

When we travel, a good friendof my son's babysits him. Well really, the friend and his entire family. They have a blast playing with him. My wife has even warmed up to Caramel a little bit.

And this year, guess what my son wanted for his birthday? Yep, another guinea pig. Given how social these animals are, this actually seemed like a good and fair thing to do, so we did it. The new one--another boy--is named Milky Way (Milky, for short). My son selected him because he was cute and because the pet store person said he'd been bitten by another guinea pig, so my son wanted to rescue him.

Milky has been a bit skittish with people, so far, but he's getting better. And Caramel seems to have taught him how to call for his dinner or for a treat. When I walk into the room in the evening--if they haven't eaten--they both go nuts.

And it's true that they can be eaten. But I'd never do that...I don't think.

Some pics (Caramel is caramel-colored, Milky is dark brown, caramel, and white):

 You see how much bigger Caramel is than Milky.

 Their little claws look sharp, but they're not that bad.

 Apparently, butt-sniffing is not limited to canines...

Guinea pig kiss!

Cheers, all.


  1. Cute! I never saw a "calico" GP before. Always been a bunny person myself. There is something strange about you posting pictures of cute rodents, Rob! ;)

  2. No stranger than talking to strange rodents at AW, though. (no offense Cray, if you see this)


  3. My kid had a series of guinea pigs through high school and college. They were great pets. Everyone of hers outlived folks' expectations. They even got along with the cats. (This might have been more due to the understanding of the implied threat from the humans in the house.)