My dream life involves me living on a farm somewhere not too far from a big city and living with at least one dog, a cat and… a herd of guinea pigs. Yes, guinea pigs. Those very rotund rodents who are often mistaken for hamsters.
I have never actually met a guinea pig in real life, but I am absolutely enamored with them. So here are some reasons for my obsession and why you, too, should appreciate these walking, fluffy potatoes.
I get it, rodents aren’t the pet for everyone. But you have to admit, their tiny round snouts and ears make you just wanna cuddle them. Guinea pigs startle and excite easily, so when they feel that way, they will do a quick little jump in the air that’s called “popcorning” because they look like little popcorn kernels when they do it. If that doesn’t have you falling in love with cavies, I don’t know what will. They also make really cute noises (known as “wheeking”) that sound slightly similar to a pig’s oink. So that’s where their name comes from!
They love their friends.
Just like humans, guinea pigs are very social and need a buddy (or 12) to function. It’s typical to own at least two or more pigs to keep them happy and healthy. In Switzerland, it’s actually illegal to own just one guinea pig! Without social interaction from another pig friend, a solo pig can become depressed and lethargic. Further proof of the importance of having a social life
They eat vegetables.
Not only is this very on-trend and convenient for when your hungry vegan friends come over to hang out with your guinea pigs, it’s also an incentive to go to the local farmer’s market more. Who doesn’t love a good head of lettuce?
They are the perfect size.
Most guinea pigs weigh just over a pound, which, in my opinion, is the perfect size for a pet. They can fit in your hand while you watch Netflix. They’re not too heavy to pick up and take out to your backyard on an adventure on a warm summer day. They’re not too small to the point where you could possibly step on them, but they’re not too big to where you can’t cuddle them. In fact, I’d argue that guinea pigs are the perfect lap pet. Why? Well, just think about how many guinea pigs you can fit in your lap. Seems like a pile of pure happiness to me.
And finally, they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes!
In a time where body positivity is the new movement spreading across the zeitgeist, guinea pigs have no trouble adhering to the saying “Every body is beautiful”. There are long haired guinea pigs and short haired guinea pigs. They can be fluffy or very fluffy. There are small ones and there are big ones. Sometimes they don’t even have fur to begin with, like this guinea pig! These types of pigs are known as “skinny pigs” and they look like abnormally small hippos. You’re welcome for this knowledge.
So, if you or anyone you know owns guinea pigs, please send them my way. Or, if you don’t have any small potato-looking rodents in your house and would like some, go do your own research and decide if they’re the right pet for you. And if you can’t commit to owning some yourself, just follow the “guinea pigs” hashtag on Instagram. I promise you won’t regret it.