All About Our New Guinea Pig

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Eva Amurri shares all about her family's new guinea pig

First of all, you’ll notice that Marlowe received two guinea pigs for her birthday and that there is only one (singular) guinea pig as the subject of this post.

Let’s get that part out of the way first, because it was a truly stressful and sad situation for us as a family–and for Marlowe of course! I’ll start from the beginning: I had learned from my guinea pig research that they are very social animals and thus prefer to have a “friend” in the cage with them. I decided to buy two guinea pigs, and got them both from the pet store, along with everything they needed. I asked a lot of questions at the time, and all of them were answered…but nobody ever told me one of the most important things, which is that two males in the same cage can end up being REALLY bad. 

About ten days after bringing the guinea pigs home, one of them started biting us. Every time we held him, he’d bite and break the skin. Both Marlowe and I had to get prescription antibiotic ointment. It was awful because all of a sudden Marlowe was really scared of one of her new pets. We would try not holding him for a few days, or doing it differently, but he kept getting really aggressive. I called the store where I bought them to try and get some more information about what we could do to stop the biting. The man who answered the phone was horrified to learn that we had two male guinea pigs together.

“Why did you get two males? They didn’t tell you that one of them was going to get aggressive?!”

Well, NOPE. 

So, apparently, if two males are in a cage together one of them can get aggressive and try to dominate the other one. He gave us some things to try and said to call him right away if the aggressor (Oakley) started mounting the other one (Alexander) or attacking him. In the next few days, we noticed Oakley nipping at Alexander from time to time when food would go in the cage or when they both wanted to drink water. And then one day, Oakley started trying to mount Alexander and really started biting him hard and drawing blood. It was so upsetting. I called the man back, and he said to bring Oakley back and they could have him adopted as a single guinea. I talked to Marlowe about it, and she agreed that she wanted to make sure Alexander stayed safe. We re-homed Oakley and Alexander is now a solo guinea pig! He is so much more chill and I can tell he feels a lot safer than he did before. He’s getting used to us now and is much more cuddly and calm than he was able to be when he felt under attack.

Alexander Hamilton Martino is now our only pet, but a good one. It’s been great to see Marlowe take on more and more responsibility with him as she learns to clean his cage and feed him on her own. She holds him wrapped up in a towel so he can burrow down in the folds of it if the room gets too noisy and he doesn’t feel safe. He’s definitely getting used to the energy of our household, which admittedly can be on the higher side! We don’t really let Major or Mateo handle him alone for now, but I’m sure that will come with time. 

One of my favorite things about having a guinea pig is listening to his cute little noises. I also love that I can hear him at night! As a city kid, I always felt that the suburbs were too quiet after dark…and now I have the noises of our little guy going back and forth to get water or food, and it reminds me a bit of the feeling of a city. I never in a million years thought I’d be a guinea pig grandma, but here we are! LOL. Please let me know any fun Guinea Pig tips or tricks you may have!

Photographs by Julia Dags | Copyright © 2021 Happily Eva After, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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  1. Nat says:

    I think a big lessons learned here is that pet stores are not experts in small pets which can cause problems for a lot of first time pet owners (or first time of a species). I think a lot of pet store workers try their best, but the knowledge is just not there and I find that for sure as someone with a rabbit, even some of the treats they sell are not all rabbit friendly. So glad you got it sorted out and you are happy with your new family member. I see that you have come so far with the bonding which is so special!

    09.08.21 Reply
    • I completely agree with you! It’s so hard as a first time pet owner to figure out how to get the best possible info or who to trust!

      09.08.21 Reply
  2. Marina says:

    Do you have any suggestions on the type of aquarium, dishes, toys, etc to get for the guinea pig? Thank you!

    09.08.21 Reply
  3. Glenda says:

    If you ever get a puppy get a shih tzu. The best breed in my opinion. I had Mia for 17 yrs 4 mos. She was so lovable. Good around little ones. Very protective. A snuggle bug lap dog. ?

    09.08.21 Reply
    • Kissy says:

      Couldn’t agree with this more! My husband grew up with a shih tzu who lived to be 18 so we got one right before we got married. She is now 13, is completely obsessed with our kids and all she wants to ever do is snuggle and love us all ❤️

      09.09.21 Reply
  4. Andrea says:

    What a frustrating and scary experience! When I got my guinea pig (30 years ago) she came to us pregnant! Unbeknownst to us, and apparently the pet store owners, male guinea pigs reach sexual maturity at 3 weeks and if there are any females around they will 1000% get pregnant. In-sane. There is so much more health information available these days, particularly about male guinea pig hygiene, that was never mentioned in any of the guinea pig care books that I read back then. And so many fun guinea pig Instagram accounts! My favorite is “I am not a hamster”. She has little pillows for her piggies and they take naps on them! I always held my piggies in a towel too. I loved taking my piggies outside! I’d have them in a little pen and they’d love eating the grass! Lots of happy sounds and zoomies and popcorning (little jumps). Unless they’re covered, like a chicken coop, you have to stay near to protect them from hawks or other predators. Have so much fun with Alexander!

    09.09.21 Reply
  5. Elisa says:

    Congrats on Alexander Pig!
    Guniea pigs truly are great and lovely pets.
    What confuses me as a very big animal Lover is the fact that He still is Your Only Pig. Why is it not possible to have a female friend for him?

    09.10.21 Reply
    • Andrea says:

      A boar and female do get along well as pairs! But guinea pigs are super SUPER prolific! He would have to be neutered or Eva would have a side business as a piggie breeder! 2 boars can get along but the process of finding the right “friend” or having them learn to tolerate each other can be long and/or laborious. And bite-y.

      09.11.21 Reply