How The Smallest Of Creatures Can Make A Big Difference
The month of March is often remembered for the wonderful Irish holiday that is St. Patrick’s Day. We often celebrate this holiday with parades, wearing green clothes, and excessive drinking. But, did you know that March is also known for another holiday? Pet lovers around the world acknowledge and celebrate March for being “Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month!” Whether you love guinea pigs or simply wish to learn more about these amazing little creatures, the entire month of March is a great way to celebrate the fluffy and adorable pets we call guinea pigs. Keep reading to learn more about this amazing month-long holiday and about how you can get involved.
What Is A Guinea Pig?
According to Britannica.com, a guinea pig is defined as a domesticated species of south American rodent that belongs to the cavy family (or Caviidae). Physically speaking, guinea pigs are similar in size to their cavy family members and have a stout body, short limbs and short ears, with a large head and big eyes. Four legged with sharp claws, these little guys can move surprisingly quickly with the right motivation. The average domesticated guinea pig weighs around 1 to 3 pounds and can grow anywhere from 8 to 16 inches long. The texture of a guinea pig’s fur can vary from feeling smooth to feeling coarse and can also vary from long hair to short hair. These adorable creatures also come in a variety of different colors including black, brown, reddish, white, cream, tan, or a combination of any of these colors. Guinea pigs are herbivores and will eat nearly any form of vegetation. It is believed these animals were bred and created in captivity as there is currently no existing population of guinea pigs in the wild today. Biologists and historians alike theorize that guinea pig domestication began over 3,000 years ago in Peru. Guinea pigs were first bred by the Incas and the indigenous people of the Andres Mountains or what is modern day Venezuela up to Central Chile. Eventually these cute little rodents were transported to Europe during the 16th century and have been popular pets ever since.
A Holiday For Pigs!
Like most pet-themed holidays, Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month was created for the purpose of spreading awareness about the importance of guinea pig adoption and the struggles these creatures must endure. When most people think of guinea pigs, they think of the ones at pet stores. However, like every form of domesticated animal, guinea pigs also face the dangers of abandonment, neglect, and lack of proper care. Many people don’t even realize that animal shelters take in guinea pigs or that there are so many guinea pigs that need rescuing. That is why this important holiday was created; to shed some light on the perils that guinea pigs go through and encourage people to adopt a guinea pig from an animal shelter as opposed to buying one from a pet store. Although animal shelters typically have more dogs and cats that need rescuing, that doesn’t make guinea pigs any less important. These small, furry, playful, and adorable creatures need a good home too and their low maintenance lifestyle might just make them the perfect pet for you! The next time you visit an animal shelter, be sure to inquire about their rescue guinea pigs. You might even meet the pig of your dreams!
The Dangers Of Pet Store Pigs
We all know the dangers of buying a pet from a pet store. In case you don’t, check out our previous blog, The Truth About Puppy Mills, to learn more about the horrific system and living conditions that are propagated by both puppy mills and pet stores. But as for guinea pigs specifically, pet stores are the worst place to get one from. Often times a pet store will sell you pigs that are of opposite sex and not neutered or spayed which could result in you suddenly having a whole litter of guinea pigs that you probably weren’t ready for. Pet stores have also been known to sell pregnant female guinea pigs which can be a very unpleasant surprise a few months later. Most pet store animals also come with a variety of health problems and/or illnesses that result from poor living conditions and malnourishment that is often seen in pet mills (commercial breeding facilities characterized by quick breeding and poor conditions). To avoid guinea pig health problems, uncontrolled breeding, and supporting guinea pig mills, rescue a guinea pig from a local animal shelter instead of buying one from the pet store. There are plenty of good hearted pigs out there that are in need of a good home and you could be the one to give it to them!
Small Animals Make A Big Difference
Many people disregard smaller animals as pets and prefer the typical dog or cat. While dogs and cats make great pets, so do guinea pigs. Sure a guinea pig can’t play fetch like a dog or purr on your lap like a cat, but they possess the same capacity to love and be loved like any other pet. Most people would be surprised to learn how much personality and character guinea pigs actually have. They express themselves through squeaks, body language, and soft eyes that will melt your heart. Guinea pigs may not be for everyone, but they are cute, affectionate, and low-maintenance creatures that are sure to brighten up your home and life. So get involved this March and celebrate Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month by adopting a guinea pig yourself or enlightening/encouraging people you know to adopt a guinea pig as opposed to buying one. Our local Luzerne County SPCA often has guinea pigs for adoption, and most people don’t even realize that! Even the smallest of creatures can give you the greatest amounts of joy and love. Maybe a guinea pig just might be the right pet for your family!