Back to Guinea Pig Main Page Back to Home
                                                                                                       A little visitor

         After I had my first two guinea pigs, Dilbert and Einstein, for a year or so, a good friend's daughter decided that she really loved my pigs, and wanted one. her school was giving a way a guinea pig, and she ended up being the winner. As it turns out, here parents were the only ones who send in the entry. So the deck was pretty firmly stacked in her favor. She named him Swirl, because of the way that his fur seemed to swirl around in certain spot. Sadly, he lived alone, and as is often the case, she eventually tired of him, and he was left along much of the time. Shortly after they got him, they brought him over to my place for a visit with my two pigs. A good time was had by all, and the three of them got along great, playing in the hallway, and running around.
         Unlike many lonely pig stories, this one had a happy ending. The parents, seeing what was happening, found an adult couple, who had visited, and really liked Swirl. They adopted him, and last I heard, he was still happy, and getting all of the attention a pig could want. That's nice, because I visited him too, and he was a pig who really liked to be held, and talked to. He got to know several people well enough, that he actually squeaked for attention when they visited. He would often fall asleep while being held, and seemed quite fond of people.
         Upon his visit to my house, he was very young, as can be seen by how small is is compared to my two pigs. He was treated very kindly by Einstein, always a bit maternal, and was played with all night by Dilbert. There were some other visits, and I had my pigs over the their house a couple of times. The visit lasted for a couple of hours, and I put newspapers down, so that they would have a place to deposit their little pellets. Dilbert and Einstein were already, more or less, paper trained, and Swirl caught on right away, having seen their example. The three of them spent a happy evening in the long hallway of my apartment, something that is done regularly around my house.
        My long hall is turned into a guinea pig playground, from time to time. It is fun, for me as well as them, it gives them some much needed exercise, and it is a way for them to escape, at least for a while, the bounds of their cage. The hallway is L shaped, and is probably about twelve feet long, after which it takes a turn to the left, and goes for another six feet or so - more than enough room for guinea pigs to play and run around. I have a pair of old pillows I toss on the floor, and often throw towels, or sometimes laundry around, to give them something to play around, and to burrow into. The end of the hall is blocked of, by a pair of briefcases, and I close the bathroom, bedroom, and library doors. Newspapers paced at the head of the hall complete the preparations.
        There are no windows in the hall, and I had to use flash, to get decent pictures of the constantly moving little pigs. This is why they have the red zombie like eyes, seen on the photos. I had no idea that their eyes were so reflective. It seems as of they must have reasonably good night vision, judging by the reflectance of their retinas.
        Playtime is fun for the pigs, and for their human caretakers. Guinea pigs are very social animals, and travel in little colonies called herds. I have to smile, when I think of a herd of guinea pigs. Perhaps they will stampede, or be rustled. There is generally only one adult make, along with a number of juveniles, and a harem of females. Upon reaching adulthood, the other males are chased off, to start their own colonies. Sometimes, some of the females accompany them, otherwise they have to hope to find solitary females. When attacked, a guinea pig herd scatters in all directions. When the coast is clear, they call to each other, to reform ranks. A solitary guinea pig is a rare, and rather unhappy little creature. They need attention, and will grow lonely and despondent if left alone for long periods of time.
        Swirl, as an isolated guinea pig, was very excited to see Dilbert and Einstein. Even before taking him out of his box, there was squeaking and calling between him, and my two pigs. They must have noticed, or possibly heard each other. Upon putting them all together in the hall, a series of clucks, chirps and squeaks was elicited. The pigs sniffed around each other, played a bit of follow the leader, and then ran around together, and explored the hall. Eventually, they came to settle on the newspapers at the head of the hallway, apparently drawn by the presence of the humans, who stood there watching. So for a while, we looked down at them, and they looked up at us. Then they wandered off to run around, and explore the hall a bit more.
        They would gravitate to the head of the hall from time to time, in order to check on the humans, and see if any treats were being offered. If no one offered a rub, a scratch, or a treat, they soon wandered off again. Swirl seemed mostly to hang around with Dilbert, which is surprising, considering how young he was, and the proven maternal tendencies of Einstein. Eventually, the three of them just parked it, on the newspapers, peed a bit, and nuzzled at each other. I guess they were tired from all of that running around. At any rate, when we tried to grab them, thinking they were finished, they ran off, so apparently they were just resting.
        Swirl was a nice little pig, and a welcome visitor, and I was very glad, when he was adopted by the new couple, who had more time for him. In the meantime, he had plenty of fun, as part of my own little herd, as a sort of a transient member.
        Guinea pigs are not solitary creatures, and should not be housed alone. If that can not be helped, then an occasional visit to another pig household, might be a good idea. Like people needing people, pigs need other pigs.