Understanding Guinea pigs isn't complicated. Just start at their beginnings. Here two short-haired guinea pigs share a moment while eating treats.

Understanding Guinea pigs isn't complicated. Just start at their beginnings.

Understanding Guinea pigs isn't complicated. Just start at their beginnings.

Your guinea pig is of South American heritage. She could be Columbian, or he could be Bolivian. But they all have an Andes Mountains Range birthright, including Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Our guinea pigs descend from the Cavia cutleri of the 5000 BCE Cavia cutleri familia birthright. Considering our furry potatoes hale from the Andes and the foothills of surrounding countries, it's important to consider that they dig burrows, scramble rocks, and climb low-growing trees and shrubs. What we have at home in our guinea pig condos is a mellowed mountain dweller.

Jamal-Pierre. Rescue guinea pig mix. He's white with long unkept fur, big pink eyes, and a droopy bottom lip. He is adorable.

Jamal-Pierre. Rescue piggle. We met at a slapped together pet store in Clearwater, Florida. They housed him in a kiddie pool full of other unwanted guinea pigs. They named Jamal after a favored basketball player. His story was not as romantic as the Andes foothills. Four college students purchased him at PetSmart to use in experiments in a science class. Specifically, the project tracked how food, or lack thereof, or changes thereto, will adversely or positively affect a cavy. He spent a semester as a guinea pig. He graduated in poor health, underweight, and exhausted. I renamed him Jamal-Pierre to remove the college stigma and add a bit of French zest! Jamal-Pierre was a boss cavy. He lived his best shortened lifespan, seeking my company, and the company of treats.

Werthers. Long hair swept like Elvis Presley. He's colored in that swirl of white and Werther's Candy tan. He's as cute as that candy is sweet.

Werthers. Fur swirled in the colors of Werther's soft candy. A gift for me and Jamal-Pierre, who needed a cavy buddy. Werthers was no nonsense, unimpressed with snuggles, cuddles, or pets after his first year. During his first year, his purr was strong like Xbox controller feedback in a heavy game of Halo. Guinea pigs vibrate and purr at the same time. It's a piggle thing.

Basil Exposition. Short hair furry potato. As far as guinea pigs go, he is the picture of a guinea pig next to the word guinea pig in the dictionary. He loves his hides and stacks them regularly.

Basil Exposition. No nonsense. Do I look like a stuffed animal to you, piggle. Food and furniture moving are his primary interests. And food. Basil appreciates all the containers left over from human activities. I swap them out often. He wears them like turtle shells to move them around his condo. I rarely see Basil. I see his hides running around all the time. 

Basil in his condo with all his favorite hides. His two most favorite, and must never change are the woven wicker huts.

Guinea pigs aren't complicated. Every piggle needs the biggest condo possible: food, hay, water, another guinea pig, towels and hides. The more and the more varied the better. And yes, your guinea pig will enjoy a digging box. Filled with the perfect mix: fresh recycled paper bedding, oat hat, and Kaytee treats. In equal measure. I suggest a rabbit litter box. In triangle shape. (Remove the grate). Because once your piggle gets it, he's going to fling it. Everywhere. Happily. Like a boss Bolivian Cavia from the Andes foothills.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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