I'm home alone because my inlaws had an emergency in the family. Venezuelan holidays are so loud that for a few hours you can not hear yourself talking, as dogs wail, car alarms go off for hours and neighbours light fireworks on the street.
My Mammoth and Bizonte haven't had a day of rest since Christmas. They must be going insane. Since the first firework night they spent their days in their tunnels and hideouts and only coming out for a quick food or drink. On any sound they run. This is the first time I've seen them like this. I feel for them, they've been absolutely miserable.
On Christmas night we tried putting them in the closet, but the noise still came through. We tried putting them in a fleece tunnel with us on the bed, but they didn't come out and the fleece tunnel got soaked. I tried soft music, which they usually like, but the fireworks just go over every sound.
We started to notice that whenever they were in our arms, they would purr softly when the fireworks went off, and cuddle deeper in our clothes. They seemed to feel safe with me and my inlaws. For D-Day, New Year's eve, we decided to try to put a fleece and my bathrobe on the bed, so they're always close to a human smell.
So at this point I'm sitting on the bed, working on a product presentation and watching tv, with the little piggies in the robe next to me. They made their little squeeky sounds at first, as if discussing what was going on. Then they explored the whole robe together, Mammoth in front, and then quickly each found a spot: Mammoth in my sleeves, and Bizonte between the fleece blanket and the robe, exploring until he found Mammoth, who was still on top. They're sleeping together now. The jumps of fear, the loud panicky squeeks and the running looking for cover have stopped completely.
The true test, midnight, still has to come. It's 8pm now, Caracas time. Even though I try not to project or presume understanding how these little ones feel, I feel happy possibly the feeling of being close to me or my partner makes Mammoth and Bizonte feel safe.
I wish everyone for New Year's the same feeling, of safety and happiness in presence with your loved ones.
A picture of Bizonte and Mammoth in the robe. Whenever I lift the robe they crawl further in, so you'll have to use some imagination. They're there though.
Oh my god- ohmygodohmygodohmygod! We're under attack, they're everywhere! Does someone read this! They're coming straight at me! I'm in the paper bag, somebody help me! Mammothmammothmammoth!
Give me a minute.
Mammoth I think we should go, mammothmammothmammoth!
- I just need a minute. Hold this bit of grass Bizonte. Got it?
- But what do I DOOOO???
- If it moves, eat it.
- I don't feel right Mammoth, I don't feel right - AHH! I bit it!!
Mammoth more are coming, Mammoth! Not green man, not green at all!
Who can guess the movie? Bizonte always reminded me of this character.
The movie is the Fifth Element. Bizonte always reminded me of the character played by Chris Tucker, Ruby Rod, who is completely neurotic, not so very smart and utterly self-centered.
I always felt a bit for the little guy. All of my family was in love with Mammoth, who's always given us tremendous love back. Mammoth enjoys cuddles, fluffy spaces and a good massage. He finds a spot, turns around until he finds a good position, and from that moment on prefers not to be bothered until he has to go... which could be hours. In the meantime, we stroke and massage him, and he purrs and bubbles softly. He's such a perfect companion.
This is Mammoth on the day we got him. He looked like a wooly mammoth, with his mattes and his big affro. In fact, when we came back from the shop, we had to put him in the bathroom (with food and water) because we had a meeting to go to, so we put a large sign on the door saying: Cuidado, cobayo peludo en el bano. Translated: Careful, hairy guinea pig in the bathroom. Poor little ball of fur... but it was an emergency meeting, so we had no choice but to leave him there for a bit.
I made a big 6x6 pen for Mammoth in my office. However, he seemed unhappy, and when I found out piggies are best housed in two's, I had to get him a companion. In the beginning Bizonte was very much the companion-piggie. We thought he would be like Mammoth, cuddly and enjoying human contact. Boy we were wrong! A Bizonte cuddle would be 20 seconds, and then he'd pee all over us. He was a happy baby though, constantly popcorning and walking-and-talking, but he never looked for contact with us. Food he would tug out of our hands, and run with it to the back of the pen to eat it.
However, they bonded almost immediately, helped with some buddy baths and a lot of space. Like any boar pair they fight on a regular basis, but Bizonte always goes to Mammoth for comfort, a little grooming and a nose-to-nose, and they call eachother when they're separated. Bizonte still tugs the food out of my hand and runs with it to the back, but now Mammoth is waiting there for him. Mammoth takes the food from Bizonte, and Bizonte comes back to the front for a new portion... until Mammoth is satisfied. I had no idea when I got two boars that there could have been issues. Mine have always done fine.
So my two little guys were getting along perfectly fine, Mammoth teaching Bizonte the ins and outs of eating vegetables, Bizonte running around the cage and all in all the both of them giving a lot of joy to our family.
I met my friend Kate when we were both giving classes at the local community center, and we bonded straight away. She had just gotten a little female called Lana and like me, had never met another guinea pig owner in Venezuela.
Lana is a beautiful little mouselike princess. She's the cleanest guinea pig I've every seen: she pees and poos inside her hideout. Kate keeps her free range in her room, and she has pink fleece in the corner, surrounded by a low, white, barbielike fence. In comparison my guys seemed like barbarians!
At that time I the herd development thread was starting. I enviously followed the stories about the freerangers and their herds, and read about the guinea pig meets they do in the US.
Filled with good intentions, we decided on a little meet and greet between Mammoth, Bizonte and Lana.
More about Lana later on. Her visit was no small event!
I wanted to share another little incident that occured the other day. I often believe that we don't give our pets enough credit where it concerns resilience or intelligence. We care, provide for them and train them, but rare are the people that truely consider a tiny guy like a guinea pig a thinking being. The problem with animal intelligence though is that most of it is projection and behavioral conditioning, rather than true reasoning. How do you discern between the two? Is it even possible?
Mammoth for example watches tv with us. That night it was Hannah Arendt, and while Hannah struggled with the criticism of her report on the Eichman trial, Mammoth had his own issues. For the first half hour he was fine. Then he started to lunge inwards towards his belly more and more. We never bother putting up a blanket. Our guys just tug our clothes when they have to go, pee or poo, even if the blanket is there. Finally Mammoth stood still for a few second, as if he seemed to think what to do, and then gave my shirt a solid little tug. When I put him back, a little poo was stuck in his belly fur. I felt that he wanted to stay, but that the idea of staying with us with a dirty poo was unbearable to him.
Some pictures of Bizonte in his favorite position when he's with us: on top of things or people! I always thought he could be such a great guard piggie.
Girl, this eye-stuff is the best thing for keeping the mustaches shiny!
Lynx, you can use any picture you like in the thread for the calendar. If the quality is too low, let me know and I can redo most with a better camera. Taking out the big camera is a bit of work, so I prefer taking pictures with the point and shoot.
So Kate set Lana loose in the pigpen. Mammoth seemed to recognise the smell straight away. He immediately went up to her, did a little nose to nose and then quietly and gently tried to mount her. Despite his gentleman attitude, Lana wasn't impressed and ran away immediatly at a not too fast, but solid pace, chased by Mammoth, who also wasn't trying too hard. I always thought that in the end, they could have gotten along perfectly fine.
But then Bizonte came to check out what the fuzz was about, and after thoroughly smelling the air for the strange new odor, locating it little princess Lana, he went berserk. Lana by that point was allready running from Mammoth, but Bizonte joining in made the little courting game a chase for the dignity of little Lana. She ran and ran through the pen, chased by Bizonte who didn't hide his intentions at all. We decided to take her out of the piggie area before she could get pregnant.
Nothing happened to little Lana, but the damage to my boys had been done. Nothing prepared me for the days that followed.
And poor little Lana.. :(
One of my friends guinea pigs who was only about 4-5 weeks was put in with about a 2 pound male and sadly got really hurt and pregnant. :( So I'm glad you took your boys out before little Lana got hurt or pregnant.
This week was pretty eventful for my boys. Finally I found a proper routine to bathe them both together in the quickest and less painful way for everyone involved. Bizonte still doesn't like it.
Since I can't find anyone in my household anymore to help me with trimming the nails, I found a chinese volunteer in a friend who popped by, who held both the piggies firmly for me to cut their nails. Yey. They still don't like it though... and after the bath and the nailtrim, they hid in their favorite fleece blanket.
Little did they know that that night, they would sleep in a fenceless area. I pulled up the cables from the floor in my office, removed the fence and put a lower fence structure in the door, which is just high enough for them to realise that they shouldn't leave the room. Mammoth doesn't seem to care much, but Bizonte, who at food time is the first at the fence, and every morning runs his laps, allready explored every little corner.
This is so much easier for me to clean too.