Hi, I’m Saskia Chiesa. I’ve been the Director and Founder of the Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue for 22 years, so I know a thing or two about piggy life.
You may have arrived at this article while searching for information about pet guinea pigs. Are you wondering if piggies are the right pet for your family and if adopting one will fit your lifestyle?
It is a fact of life—some pets are perfect for you, and others are entirely unsuited. Let's talk a bit about guinea pigs to give you a better idea about these amazing little ones. You’ll see why guinea pigs are so much fun!
There is a wide variety of guinea pigs. They come in all these different shapes, colors and with different and wild hairdos.
Their hair can be anywhere from long or short—or no hair—and it can be curly, straight, or somewhere in between. Guinea pigs come in all colors, from light to dark, and shades of brown, orange, and white.
Names for the coat textures can be Tweed, Roan, Teddy, and Satin, and all of them look different. Just to name a few, there are Silkies, Shelties, Americans, Baldwins, Peruvians, Teddies, Texels, Dalmations, Himalayans, Cuy, and Abyssinians. Don’t forget—guinea pigs can also be more than one type!
Guinea pigs have HUGE personalities! Unless you’ve met a guinea pig before and seen them in action, you might not know about their quirky and endearing traits.
They are very particular with their dietary preferences. You may have taken three vegetable options, but your piggy is in the mood for something else and will wheek until you figure out what they want.
Their personalities are as diverse as their appearance. No two are exactly alike, and each will have its own unique quirks.
These little loves will provide endless entertainment. They should NEVER live alone and should always have a same-sex friend.
At the rescue, we converted old horse stalls into same-sex communities so they can mix and mingle safely. They have hierarchies, dos, and don'ts, and they will break the rules all the time—it’s a full-on soap opera!
Often, I can be found watching the pure enjoyment of their interactions. I walk away with a grin on my face and shavings from head-to-toe. It’s always worth it.
I work with a lot of wild and un-socialized guinea pigs. These piggies are scared, to begin with, but with a gentle routine, they become tame. It's in their best interest to learn to trust humans—no one likes to see an unhappy guinea pig who hides in fear when humans are in the room.
It usually takes about 3-5 days, but each piggy will warm up to humans at their own pace. Once they are comfortable enough around you that they no longer run or hide, you will be amazed to see their newfound confidence. They will even start coming up to you looking for snacks! That when you can begin training with your new little friend.
Pure joy to see fear melt away and replaced with love. Check out my video on Taming on YouTube.
It's no secret I like to forage for the guineas at the rescue—it's very relaxing to be outdoors, connecting with nature while finding healthy and nutritious food for little ones. But I’m a very busy lady with a lot of responsibilities.
I run the rescue, write articles (like this one) for Small Pet Select, bi-monthly articles for Guinea Pig Magazine, plan and execute guinea pig animal rights campaigns, manage and train care specialists, and manage a YouTube channel with 100k+ subscribers and weekly live streams.
There’s also my brand, Piggies Choice, which crafts specialized guinea pig care products. And the Facebook group, Wheekers, provides information to guinea pig parents and enthusiasts. We have orders from our website, Amazon, and eBay, which have to be labeled/packaged, and shipped. Phewwww!
Everyone feels over-leveraged, over-worked, or over-booked these days, and stress and anxiety levels are at an all-time high. I manage that by foraging.
Let’s get out of the house and go forage. You don’t have to live in the country or wilderness, the best forage I have found was in cities. Plants we call weeds and consider worthless can be eaten by the guinea pigs—free and nutritious! However, you want to keep your pigs safe, so if you forage outside of the grocery store or your personal garden:
I have a plant identification app on my phone called “Pl@ntNet," so I always know it’s safe and non-toxic for guinea pigs.
Much *wheek* *wheek* love,
Founder/Director, Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue
DISCLAIMER: The links and information are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Small Pet Select of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual.