This page last edited on

16 August, 2008

Guinea Pigs

 

Fun Facts           
 

Guinea pigs in the wild are called cavies.  They are strict vegetarians known as grazers. They consume large amounts of grasses and weeds. In captivity they need Vitamin C which can be supplied to them with proper pellets.  They need timothy hay daily. I feed my little chewers greens, carrots, apples and green beans, among other produce as well as hibiscus and petunia leaves and flowers.  They are natives of South America and have been thought to be domesticated for possibly 5,000 years. In Peru they are considered a cultural icon but are also raised for food. They live in groups called herds. Spanish explorers first brought these noisy, fun, constantly hungry creatures to Europe in the 1500s.

 

Updated 08-08-2008

 

Current Clans Names Old Clans Names
Greek Boys Clan: Aristotle "Abby", Nichomachus & Agapetos Giggler Clan Gil, Bob Wiley & Sigmund "Siggy Papa"
Lita Ladies Clan: Cindylita, Lolita & Carmelia Gweeker Clan Dr. Marvin, Betty & Wilma
Old Maids Clan: Betty, Wilma & Raqel Rheeter Clan: All Spice & Ginger Snaps
    Put Puts Clan: Phil & Raquel

  As you can see from the picture on the left I had four swimming pools set up to house ten guinea pigs in the Old Clans.  As of August 2008 I now have three large pools housing the three Current  Clans listed above. The large pools are the ones on the bottom in the photo to the left. I have the pools sitting on a large wooden table to keep them off of the floor. I have three pigs in each of the large pools. I decided to name each pool group a "clan" to keep it easy for this website.

 

  For the old clans I named each one after the sounds they made most of the time. Siggy giggled a lot so I called him "Giggle wiggle little boy." I named his clan the Giggler Clan. The current clans were named more sensibly. The Greek Boys Clan was aptly named to reflect the Greek names of the three males in the clan; the Lita Ladies Clan refers to the fact all three ladies have names ending in "lita"; the Old Maids Clan obviously refers to the old age spinsters that make up the clan. As guinea pigs die and new babies are born or adopted, the clans change. I hope that as the ladies in the Old Maids Clan die off I won't replace them. It will be less work and time and money for me and I look forward to that someday!

 

  These swimming pools for little kids are the cheapest, easiest to use and clean housing units I have ever used for guinea pigs.  I got them all from Walmart.  The big pools were a few dollars more than the smaller pools but still cheap at about $9 a piece. Now try and find a better price than that for the space! The pools are so easy to clean because after you take out the hay and bedding, you can take them outside and hose them down, even clean with a little soap if you want.  They are very durable and completely safe for the guinea pigs.  They don't climb out because they are pretty deep. Because they are relatively big for a guinea pig cage, I can use a lot of hay which they not only need for food but love to burrow in. In nature they burrow in grass so its very natural for them.  Guinea pigs by nature are secretive and shy creatures who love to burrow, tunnel and hide.  Having an abundance of hay in these pools is exactly what THEY LOVE!  I realize not everyone has the space to use such large housing units but if you have the space for them you can't beat the price or ease of use and ability to clean.

 

 

Click on Playlist to hear and the see guinea pigs in Peru and the noisy Dianes Zoo guinea pigs before food, and how quiet they are after being fed!  There are videos of the new and old clans before and after being fed so its a lot of fun to enjoy.

 

I wish to give a huge thanks to my Peruvian friend Margarathe for giving me the video of the Peruvian guinea pigs. Its a very short video but at least you can see real guinea pigs from Peru - and live ones - not cooked ones on plates! ICK!

 

 

 

I love this picture of Siggy riding Miss Ava. Cavy rides yellow foot tortoise is the headline! I LOVE IT!!!

 

  Ever since I can remember we had guinea pigs. I was probably three or four and remember seeing guinea pigs in the basement where we kept them. As I got older I began taking care of them myself  and as a teenager had at least a dozen of them all of the time. My favorite thing was to either wake up in the morning or come from school and find little babies. Not that I didn't expect them mind you, I was totally into monitoring the pregnancies!  I even had a stethoscope that I used to listen to the babies heartbeats. I usually correctly knew how many babies were going to come out just by feeling the swollen abdomen of the mom and listening to the different heartbeats.  A few times I was lucky enough to witness the births.  There really is nothing like watching the babies being delivered and then watching the mom tear open the sac and cut the umbilical cord.  Baby guinea pigs are a rarity among rodents as they are born with all of their fur and their teeth.  Because of this, the gestation period is about 60 days or two months. Most rodents have a short gestation and the babies are quite naked and vulnerable.  Baby guinea pigs can walk within minutes of birth and although they nurse for a few weeks, do begin eating solid food within hours of birth.  I can't say it enough - baby guinea pigs are the CUTEST things on the planet!!! However, I do NOT encourage mating your guinea pigs because there are SO many that are living in shelters or fostered in rescue groups that need a good, loving home. However, after adopting so many over the years from shelters I have to say that they are generally not affectionate and do not like to be held. In my view that defeats the purpose of having them since the last thing you want to take care of is an animal that wants nothing to do with you or shows no affection towards you and doesn't seem to enjoy being held. Siggy, Gil and Bob Wiley are in the picture above. They have all passed away unfortunately.

 

  After my dearly beloved Siggy Papa died I caved in on my rule of not allowing my guinea pigs to breed. Since Siggy died so young and suddenly and he was the most affectionate guinea pig I'd ever had - I got him from a pet store when he was a baby which was why he was so affectionate - I truly regretted never having mated him so that I could have more guinea pigs with his wonderful qualities. So when I got Aristotle a few days after Siggy died, and at the same pet store that I got Siggy, I realized that not only did they look quite similar, that based on their affectionate personalities they must be related. Then when Aristotle began jumping on me like Siggy did I really was convinced that I had another gem - another soul mate - and I really wanted to breed him just in case he too died suddenly on me. I had my opportunity when three months later I got Cindylita with her two, two day old baby girls Carmelita and Lolita. After a couple of months I allowed Aristotle to visit with the ladies in the hopes of getting Cindylita pregnant and she did! On Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008, Nichomachus was born (pictured above with his mom and dad on the day he was born). He was definitely my "Easter surprise!"  I knew she was due any time but not that quickly. I had just examined her the night before and listened to the baby's heartbeat with the stethoscope and within hours he was delivered but I didn't spot him in the pool until Sunday afternoon, obviously hours after he had been born. He didn't show up at the food bowl so I had no idea he'd been born until I saw a fast blur of fur run through the pool. I quickly looked for more babies but realized he was the only one which was just fine with me. I really didn't want to start having a lot of babies, I just wanted one or two more Aristotle's to have in case my new soul mate died on me. Then two months later on May 17, 2008 Agapetos was born to Lolita. Although she was young, having been born on October 8, 2007, I knew that they had to have their first litter by 8 months before the pelvic bone fused and caused problems with the birthing process. Unfortunately little Agapetos was not born healthy and Lolita basically rejected him and refused to nurse him. Thank God that baby guinea pigs can eat within hours of their birth and that is what saved him. He was so small and thin and seemed so sickly that I didn't think he was going to make it, especially without his mother's milk but by the grace of God he pulled through with my help and as of today he's thriving and growing at a rapid rate. Agapetos, Lolita and Aristotle are pictured below when Agapetos was one day old.

 

  I realize that many will criticize my decision to breed when I am generally adamant about not breeding and I certainly understand that and I can even agree with it to a perspective, however, I can justify it since I was traumatized after Siggy Papa's death and just wanted to ensure that if Aristotle died I would have at least one more like him in the family. Besides, I've done MORE than my share of adopting unwanted animals - dogs, cats, guinea pigs and reptiles, most of which were older, and as a result often had many psychological problems to deal with that were not easily overcome, if at all. I endured many hardships as a result of adopting animals that had lingered in shelters for far too long and that had traumatic pasts which led to irreparable psychological problems. Most often these animals were not affectionate and never bonded well with me. Most would run away and almost give me the finger as they did! So...do I generally think breeding is bad because the planet is overrun with animals? Yes, I do. Do I also think that once in a great while its OK to actually enjoy having your own babies and being able to raise them up from birth so that you can actually have a great relationship with them and the chances of them bonding with you are greatly increased? YOU BET I DO! Anyone who reads through this website will see that I have devoted much of my life to raising unwanted animals and that I care deeply about animals and the environment and that I don't flippantly breed animals for my own narcissistic reasons. In the past twenty years I've breed TWO baby guinea pigs and that is it so don't send me any emails saying I'm a hypocrite and an evil human being because I am not! OK, I've explained the situation way more than I needed to and the topic is now closed! Thank you!

 

   Some guinea pigs are what I call "nibblers."  They don't bite in the sense a dog would bite when its being aggressive. Guinea pigs want to chew everything they come in contact with. They are just testing objects to see if they are food I guess. My guinea pigs often chew on my shirt, sheets and blankets. It only hurts if they nibble hard enough to go through your shirt. I often tell my guinea pigs "I am the source of your food NOT a food source!" It doesn't stop them from nibbling but I love to say it anyway!

 

  In this guinea pig section I have a lot of information on how I take care of my nine guinea pigs. It doesn't mean that I do everything right or that there aren't different ways of taking care of them. My main purpose of this entire website is to share the animals that I live with, with all of you, not to tell you all how to do it yourselves.  In life we learn from others and take what works and discard what doesn't.  Please keep this in mind.

 

  I have plenty of video and pictures of my guinea pigs on their respective "clan" pages. The links are on the top left and right below.  I hope that you will enjoy the video and pictures and that my information is helpful to you.

 

Guinea Pig Page | Guinea Pig History | Getting a Guinea Pig | Guinea Pig Housing & Bedding | Guinea Pig Feeding & Water

Guinea Pig General Care | CURRENT CLANS:  Greek Boys Clan | Lita Ladies Clan | Old Maids Clan

OLD CLANS:  Giggler Clan | Gweeker Clan | Put Puts Clan | Rheeter Clan

 

Back to top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website created by

Web Design by Diane

 


DISCLAIMER:  This website was set up to SHARE my OWN experience with my reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens and local wildlife and to post pictures and video of them. It was NOT SET UP to offer my opinion or expertise on ANY QUESTION that I am asked and what I post on this website should not be taken as "EXPERT ADVISE" or how to take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens or local wildlife. I AM NOT A REPTILE RESCUE GROUP, GUINEA PIG RESCUE GROUP, VETERINARIAN, REPTILE EXPERT, GUINEA PIG EXPERT, PONDS/FISH EXPERT, GARDEN EXPERT OR WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR! I have limited experience with reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens, therefore, I am NOT QUALIFIED to give out advise or answer questions and you, as a visitor to this website, should not take anything on this website as expert advise or accurate information.  I present this website for fun and fun only - NOT as a reference website to instruct anyone on how to properly take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish or gardens.  I share how I DO THINGS for my reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens and this is not intended for others to take as expert advise or to mimic. Furthermore, my political views are my own and not intended to offend, annoy, hurt or demean any person, entity or organization. I express my views as an American who has the right to free speech under the Constitution of the United States of America. Please feel free to set up your own website and express your views, post your pictures and video and share with the rest of us in cyberspace what your little corner of the world is like. Thank you very much for your kind understanding in appreciating the value and contents of this website.

 

Home | Welcome | Feedback | Zookeeper | Hurricanes | Habitat | Vegetable Gardens | Puzzles | Sounds | Quizzes | Scrapbooks | Ralph Nader 

Web Design | The Dog | The Turtles | The Ponds & Fish | The Guinea Pigs | The Locals | Jajjuzza's Tribute | The Tortoises

Do you have comments on this website or questions for the Wild Zookeeper? Contact The Wild Zookeeper          

Website Copyright dianeszoo.com