My wife and I have owned guinea pigs since childhood. We’re in our mid 40’s now and currently have three pigs: two “Skinny Pigs” (Hairless) and one furred. All of our pigs have had different personalities and all have been extremely pleasing to have as pets.
Guinea pigs are inexpensive to buy and to keep. We even purchased one a while ago from a reptile-oriented pet shop from the “Feeder Bin,” for $9.00. We got a pig cheap, as well as a good feeling to know we saved him from the jaws of a boa constrictor!
Guinea pigs have a lot to say. They have many different vocalizations and with experience you’ll learn their language. They are by far the most vocal of the rodents. Their calls range from the contented cooing that’s extremely soothing to the human ear like a lullaby, to the “I’m hungry,” whistling that’s sharp and attention-grabbing. If they see you going into the kitchen or hear the refrigerator door opening, especially the sliding of the vegetable drawer, they go nuts.
Guinea pigs can be trained like a dog. They will perform behaviors for treats like blueberries or celery tops. They learn more quickly than you might think. Type “Trained Guinea Pig” into a YouTube search bar to see the many tricks pigs have learned. All of ours have learned several tricks.
Guinea pigs are affectionate. Though their affection differs from the overt kind you get from a dog, you’ll know it when you feel it from them. Like any animal, it’s all about trust. When you are unfailingly kind and gentle with them, they will trust you completely. They will greet you with excited whistles when you come home. They will come to your hand or sit still as you lift them from the cage. They will snuggle down on you and relax. But the most telling sign from this prey animal that you have earned their complete trust is when they curl up on their side, exposing their plump, little belly and fall into a deep, dream-filled sleep. Our pig, Pinky, does this nightly on my wife’s lap.
If a guinea pig sounds like the perfect pet for you, adopt one at your local animal humane society or pet rescue!
Written by Bob & Chrysann Kelly, clients at Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota.