Friday, November 19, 2010

I Love Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs make great pets. I’ve been using them in my magic act for more than fifteen years. I love the look on the kids’ faces when I pull “Jr. Mint” (my magic piggy) out of my purse. I can almost hear her say, “Tah-dah!” Guinea pigs are sturdier than rabbits, according to my veterinarian. I think it’s fun when they “talk” to me. They make over thirty different sounds!

Over the years, I’ve had many piggies at home and in my classroom. My fourth graders love taking care of them!  As part of a reward system, we enjoy "Lunch Bunch" on Fridays.  That's where a few of us eat lunch in the classroom (quiet and relaxing!) and then take turns cuddling the class guinea pig.  It is a popular prize to earn and helps motivate/promote good behavior!

Piggies are so cute.  I’m always amazed at their individual personalities! Most of my piggies have been “previously owned.” Because people know I love guinea pigs, I get many calls asking if I can take onemore. I always say yes. 
Like all pets, guinea pigs need a good caretaker to live long, healthy lives. A big cage with clean bedding is important. Cedar bedding is a no-no because it’s not good for them to breathe in cedar fumes. Fresh water from a clean water bottle along with a salt lick is important, too. A salt lick is a big white donut looking thing that attaches to the side of a cage. I enjoy watching my piggies drink from their water bottles, lick their salt blocks, and go back to drinking more water!

The key to keeping a piggy healthy is vitamin C. Guinea pigs need the equivalent to one-quarter of an orange every day. Vegetables that have the highest value of vitamin C are: peppers, cauliflower, watercress, tomatoes, cabbage, peas, broccoli, potato skin and spinach. The following fruits are high in vitamin C: limes, grapefruits, strawberries, melons, kiwi, oranges, guava, papaya, mangos and tangerines.

Best of all, if you love your guinea pig and give her lots of attention, she’ll love you right back. There’s nothing quite like walking near her cage and having her come out and “talk” to you with a greeting of, “Weet, weet, weet!”

What is your favorite pet? Do you do anything special for her/him? Leave a comment below.

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