Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mice in the house with Guinea Pigs

Earlier this week, the humans were sitting on the couch, watching television, when we overheard one say to the other: "Are the piggies still in their cage?"

"Yes. Why?" The other human asked.

That was the moment the humans realized they had a mouse in the house, and began a minor panic. Humans can be really funny that way. They love us, but they're terrified of another much smaller rodent species?

Anyway, the humans got down all all fours, shining flashlights to confirm what they saw. Once confirmed, they immediately rushed out to Home Depot and bought some non-kill, humane traps to catch it.

Image of the mouse the humans saw not available, but here's a picture of a mouse invading a guinea pig cage from the Happy Cavy blog. (image source)
So what's the big deal about mice? Well, according to the CDC, "Worldwide, rats and mice spread over 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through handling of rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, or through rodent bites. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly, through ticks, mites or fleas that have fed on an infected rodent." Huh. I guess the humans weren't being so silly after all. Get that jerk out of here, humans!

Here are some things you should know if you have mice invade your happy guinea pig home:
Wish us luck catching the interloper!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Guinea Pig Attractions Around the World: Fortune-Telling Guinea Pig in Bulgaria

It's time for another installment in our guinea pig attractions series! Last year, when we posted about a fortune-telling guinea pig named Ganesh in India, we figured that was a pretty unique attraction. Today, we learned it's not quite as unique as we thought. It turns out that there's another fortune-telling guinea pig in Sofia, Bulgaria:
What does it say? I'm dying to know! (source: The Inconsistent Nomad)
This guinea pig attraction was described by Carla on The Inconsistent Nomad blog. While exploring Sofia, Bulgaria, Carla and her friends came across a man on a street corner with a guinea pig on a newspaper-covered plate:
Andre turned to us to translate.  "He says it's a fortune-telling guinea pig.  We pay him, and the pig tells us our future." Who needs the Nevsky Cathedral when you can get a guinea pig to predict your future?
We paid out the hefty sum of about 25 cents.  The man pulled out a box of of cards wrapped in very thin paper, very similar to that box of cards containing the god-awfully impossible questions in Trivial Pursuit.  He held the box in front of the guinea pig.  The pig leapt onto it and began to rifle through the cards with his front legs.  He suddenly stopped, bit down onto a single card with his teeth, and pulled it out for the man to take.  He unwrapped the divinely inspired/randomly selected card and proudly presented it to us. 
Unfortunately, they'll never know what was in their future, as the card was in Bulgarian. If any of our readers happen to visit Bulgaria, keep an eye out for fortune-telling piggies, and make sure you have a way to actually read the card!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Yu Choy?

Yu choy goes by several alternative names, including: "Green Choy Sum, Choisum, You Cai, Cai Hua, Yai Tsoi, Caisin, Flowering White Cabbage, Mock Pak-Choi or False Pak-Choi." We're going to stick with Yu Choy, which is what Blue Apron calls it. It's popular in China, and is similar to Bok Choy. According to the diet expert at Guineapigcages.com, yu choy is "similar to broccoli and contains high amounts of A and moderate amounts of calcium ... It can... be fed once or twice a week in small portions."

Yu choy is also the latest in a series of new foods we've been able to try, thanks to our human's subscription to Blue Apron. Keep up that cooking thing you guys like to do, humans!
This is yu choy (image source: specialtyproduce.com).

Not bad.

What do you think, Lola?

Not bad.
Before giving our rating, I'd like to provide a disclaimer. The pictures above show way more Yu choy on our plates than we're actually supposed to eat. The humans would have taken it away well before we ate anywhere close to that amount. It makes for better photos if you're actually able to see the food we're eating, but we don't want anyone thinking this is actually the proper amount to feed your guinea pig.

Now, back to our review. Lola got a little bored and wandered off after a minute of munching on Yu choy. I was a bigger fan of it, but eventually got bored as well. It's not a bad food, but it's no carrots. And the health warnings about vitamin A and calcium should also be taken into consideration. We'll give Yu Choy 3/5 stars!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Guinea Pig World Records, Part 2

Last year, we posted about some interesting guinea pig world records, including the oldest guinea pig, the longest jumper, the highest jumper, and the fastest runner. It looks like another guinea pig world record may be on the verge of being set:
This is Ginger. She might be famous soon! (image source: Union Leader)
Ginger is a guinea pig who lives with her human, Briana Drouin, in Hooksett, NH. Just this month, Ginger gave birth to 10 baby piggies at Northside Animal Hospital. While 2 of the 10 were stillborn, the other 8 are alive and thriving so far. Their names are: Bean, Coffee, Ginger Jr., Peanut, Almond, Coco, Chocolate and Brownie Jr. Ginger's human Briana was quite surprised, as she was told to expect about 3 baby guinea pigs.

Briana thinks that Ginger may have broken the world record for the largest litter of guinea pigs. The previous she record she found was 9 baby guinea pigs, set in 1992 in Australia. Guinness is investigating, and it will probably take them a few weeks to verify if this is a new record or not.

If you live close to NH, be aware that Briana will be putting them up for adoption. It could be a chance to take home an adorable piece of guinea pig history!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Guinea Pig Molar Trims and Malocclusion

Broccoli here, everyone. I've got to tell you all about the latest chapter in my ongoing dental problems. The humans recently noticed that when I eat, I would occasionally open my mouth very widely and tilt my head. That, along with a 50 gram weight loss, led them to take me to the veterinarian to get checked out.

Give it to me straight, doc. Will I be able to continue chewing on things normally?

The veterinarian said I needed a molar trim. Guinea pig teeth are constantly growing, and we need to wear them down by eating consistently. If the teeth start getting too long, that makes it harder to eat, which means they get less worn down and grow even longer. It's a nasty cycle that can get worse and worse if left untreated. Fortunately, our cavy savvy humans know that regular weigh ins are the best way to detect problems, and seeing a minor but consistent weight loss made them more vigilant for other issues.

The technical term for overgrown teeth is malocclusion. Guinea Lynx gives the following malocclusion warning signs checklist:
  • Does your guinea pig seem to work at chewing like he has something caught in his mouth that he or she is trying to unstick?
  • Is there exaggerated ear movement when he chews?
  • Is there discharge from the eyes or nose (can indicate an abscess)?
  • Does he seem to chew to one side?
  • Are the front teeth even and lined up?
  • Does he eat at the same rate/speed the other pigs eat at?
  • Can he rip and tear?
  • Can he eat the peel as well as the apple from an apple slice?
  • Does he chew (carrots in particular) and let little pieces drop out of his mouth?
  • Does he pick up a pellet in his mouth and let it drop out again?
  • Does he show great interest in food, yet not eat?
  • Is he steadily losing weight?
  • Is he drooling?
If your guinea pig shows these warning signs, make sure you take them to the vet as soon as possible to get checked out. After my molar trim, I'm back to eating normally, and feeling good!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Alcosa Cabbage?

Happy (belated) new years, loyal readers! Who's ready for another fun year of food and product reviews, and other guinea pig fun? Presumably you are, if you're still reading this, and we love that you are! Let's kick off 2017 with a new food review, shall we?

After doing the blog for so many years, it's been getting harder and harder to find foods that we haven't review yet that we know are okay for guinea pigs to eat. There were times we worried that we'd have to retire our food reviews because we've simply eaten everything we can in the produce section at the grocery store. Fortunately, the human are subscribed to Blue Apron, which sometimes provides unusual types of produce we've never heard of. (For example, see our review of Atlas Carrots.) Recently, the humans got an "Alcosa Cabbage" from them, which is another new one to us. We looked it up, and it turns out it's a type of savoy cabbage. This means we can have it 2-4 times per week, but only in small portions because it's a gassy food.

New food!

I'll take this row, and you take the other row. Deal?

Hey, who gets the middle row?
We couldn't reach an agreement on who got the middle row, and it turned out to be a free-for-all. It was a little chaotic, but we each got our fair share of cabbage in the end. Wish the humans would give us more, but we know we got a fairly generous portion as-is, and we can't eat too much cabbage at once. Oh well.

Alcosa Cabbage gets 5/5 stars!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Automatic Pet Feeder using Arduino

We've had several posts in the past talking about various issues related to humans needing to travel. Examples: Should you try to fly with your human? Should you take a car trip with your human? Should your human leave you at home and try to find someone to take care of you? For those humans who are only going on a short trip and have strong technical skills, we have another option to share with you involving using an Arduino to feed us.

For those who have never heard of it, Arduino is: "Open-source electronic prototyping platform enabling users to create interactive electronic objects." People have put them to use on cool projects such as security cameras, "smart canes" for the blindfingerprint scanning garage door openers, and hacking talking teddy bears to make them say what you want. It was only a matter of time before an enterprising guinea pig owner put this technology to work for us!


For more details, see here: "Arduino - Guinea Pig automatic food and water dispenser by Studvio."

Our humans have experimented a little with a similar device called a Raspberry Pi, but making something like this is a bit beyond them for now. If any of our readers actually have made something like this, let us know in the comments section!

(Again, we want to emphasize that this should only be used for very short trips. You wouldn't want to risk your guinea pig going without food for too long if the power goes out or the device malfunctions! In fact, we'd probably recommend that if you're going to rely on something like this, you may also want to set up a webcam to monitor the guinea pig cage for these sorts of emergencies.)