Cute Cavies

New week, new furry creature to appreciate. Today we will be paying homage to one of the most popular and beloved pets in modern America: guinea pigs! They’re small, they’re fat, they’ve got tiny stumpy legs—what’s not to love? In this issue we meet Oatmeal and Sparky! These little fluff logs are the children of Foster HA Aysha Pettigrew. Aysha brings the piggies out for office hours every week so dormies can come and bask in their cuteness. These little creatures are friendly fellows, running around, squeaking at you, sniffing you, or playing tug-of-war with you if you’ve got a parsley stem. The larger, older one is Oatmeal. He’s a two and a half year old rescue  that Aysha got in October. The smaller little guy, a five months old named Sparky, came from a small pet store in January. Oatmeal and Sparky have bonded pretty well in the time they’ve been together (they can be seen huddling or playing together). Sparky has helped Oatmeal come out of his shell too, and he’s been more friendly since Sparky arrived.

This makes sense, as guinea pigs are herd animals, and do best with a friend or two. Sparky, although pretty new, has already acclimated pretty well to dorm life, seeming very comfortable with people around. Being herbivores, these guinea pigs eat veggies, fruit, and a whole lot of hay. While they are small creatures, they eat a lot — around one-tenth of their body weight each day! Guinea pigs are fun and weird little creatures that are pretty low maintenance and pretty high in greatness. Also, in my research on guinea pigs I’ve found all sorts of weird factoids on them that I feel everyone should know. So, here are some fun things about guinea pigs: guinea pigs have four toes on their front feet and only three toes on their back feet. Baby guinea pigs are called pups (pups!!!). These pups can full on run at only three hours old. Guinea pigs don’t sleep for long periods, but take short naps throughout the day (which I’ll be honest sounds a lot like me). Guinea pigs can’t sweat, so they need to be kept out of the sun and hot places. Also, if you’ve ever wondered what it’d look like if Disney made a short film about guinea pigs multiplying exponentially and overtaking a railway station, then ‘Pigs is Pigs’ is for you! This is very real, it’s a Walt Disney film from 1945 that’s based on a book. It’s eight minutes of white guys arguing over the prices and guinea pigs multiplying at alarming rates.

Perhaps the most strange things about guinea pigs is the name ‘Guinea Pig’ itself. This is strange because first, they’re not from Guinea and second, they’re clearly not pigs. The pig part seems to come from their high-pitched squeal. The Guinea part is a bit of a mystery, but there’s a few theories on it. One possible theory is that in England the animals used to cost a guinea (a fancy gold coin used in seventeenth and eighteenth century). In the end though, all that really matters is that guinea pigs are sweet and playful and make awesome pets (especially in the dorms).