Meet Snickers & Twix; my two guinea pigs who have been part of my life for the past five to six years. Their names were recently changed from Gypsy & Tipsy because I thought their new names were cuter. Today I want to share my story with you all on how I met my little babes and what life has been like being a guinea pig mama. It's been interesting for sure, with the occasional moments of stress, but it has all been worth it. As unusual as it may be to have guinea pigs as an adult, I couldn't have asked for a better pair. 

     Growing up, my Dad always made having pets an essential for my sister and I. It allowed us to prove our responsibility to not only care for another species, but also because we genuinely enjoyed having pets. When my older sister moved to Texas though, she left my sister and I her guinea pigs to take care. Mine was brown and I had named him Fluffy, after one of my favorite books.

Fluffy's Valentines Day

    Well, one day we ended up having to move and we couldn't take the pets with us; I was so upset about it because I had found out in the worst way possible. I had come home from school and discovered that the guinea pigs were gone. Just like that. So, I told myself from that point on that when I was able to, I'd get a guinea pig of my own that no one would be able to take away. Years later I found myself at Petco, a local pet supplies store in the USA, and I was introduced to two older piggies that were up for adoption.

    The sales associate told us that the two were brothers and that the owners insisted that they were adopted together. They were much older than the rest of the guinea pigs in the store, but they were cute. We were also told that the darker guinea pig was a bit "wild," since he was known for biting if he didn't get his way. Weirdly enough, they were also free and came with accessories and food; all I needed was a cage. So, I signed the adoption papers and the Associate put them in a box carrier  for me to take them home.

    I still needed a cage for them and I had no intentions on buying one from the pet store; they were way too small! Instead, I was going to build a C&C cage but I needed the supplies first. So after dropping the piggies off at the house, we went to Home Depot to get our supplies. For the first week, we made their C&C cage small - just until we had time to make it bigger. It was definitely an upgrade from their pet store cage!

First week setup

Final cage

    The piggies loved their new home; they ran around, popcorned often, and made noises that I had no idea guinea pigs could make. I was so pleased with their setup because I could see how genuinely happy they were. Store bought cages have nothing on making your own cage, and I will always be the first to tell any first time guinea pig owner that it's best to make a C&C cage; they're cheaper, customizable, and so much better for your guinea pigs well-being. 

    I learned quickly though that my piggies would catch on to treat time; or any feeding in general. There were times where Snickers would wheek at me if I made the slightest movement at my desk, giving me the impression that he was hungry despite having a full rack of hay, so I'd feed him pellets. After doing some research, I learned that guinea pigs are great at guilt tripping their owners, and mine were no different. Even today, they still try to guilt trip me and of course I give into it every now and then.

    Also, my piggies weren't used to being outside of their cage. There were times where I'd set up an enclosure outside of their cage for them to explore on their own and each time I did, they would be completely frozen. If there were any tubes out for them to play with, they would both just hide inside of them. I tried coaxing them with treats and veggies even but it didn't help them move much. So I gave up on it.


Twix & Snickers hiding in their tube

      After several years of having them, I had a scare with Twix. He had stopped eating and would keep to himself all fluffed up. I monitored him for a few days to see if he would make any improvements but he only got worse, so I finally took him to an Exotic Animal Clinic. After all the possible tests the Veterinarian could do, they were dumbstruck and found nothing wrong with him.

    At this point, I had already spent over $500 for tests and lab work, so I decided to take him home and care for him myself. It was nerve-wracking because I had never cared for a sick pet before and I had read horror stories that made me fear the worst. When I got home though, I set a schedule to tube feed Twix every 3 hours and gave him double the amount of Vitamin C daily. I also secluded him from his brother every day for an hour just to see if his stools were improving. 

    After two weeks of keeping up with this schedule, Twix had finally gained weight and was back to his usual piggie self; a pooping/eating machine. I was so relieved!

Look how chunky he is!

    There are times where I will watch them both from a distance and it will shock me how loving and affectionate Snickers & Twix are to one another; they really are brothers and I'm only saying this because at first, I didn't believe they were. If one goes to the other side of the cage, the other one will follow behind. If one is sleeping, the other will sleep right next to him. They regularly check up on each other too, and while they do occasionally fight, it's rarely concerning and they're always great about "working it out."

    The best part about being a guinea pig mama is how they greet me. If I come home from being out, 9 times out of 10, they will know it's me and Snickers will do his usual wheeking. Sure, it's probably because he's hungry and wants to be spoiled, but they know my schedule just like I know theirs. I never had the opportunity to build such a unique bond with my previous guinea pig before, so I'm blessed to be able to do so now. 

    Some time before moving, I had injured my back and it was hard to clean their cage; it was two levels after all and took roughly 20 minutes. My back was out for a good month and while Dimitar was able to help me clean it, I had no choice but to get rid of the second level so I could recover. It was upsetting since I knew how much they enjoyed running up and down the ramp, but it would only be temporary. Since they are older though, I often wonder if not having a second level would be easier on their joints; still not sure yet. 


Temporary cage setup

    Six years later, I am still happy to have them part of my life. They cheer me up when I am having a rough day and they make me laugh with their silly personalities. When I tell people I have guinea pigs as pets, they will often mistake them for hamsters or ferrets even, but I shake it off. To me, they're special in their own unique ways and any guinea pig owner will tell you the same. I really am a happy guinea pig mama.

Happy brothers

Until next time! xoxo - Sarah


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