- Supporter in '11
For a while, it looked like there weren't as many cuy around but we're starting to see an increase in then again. And I saw some recently at the Mountain View PetSmart (San Francisco bay area) that could have been cuy.
We've got 5 in rescue right now. Two are permanent residents. The other three have been available for months with no adoption interest.
At the rescue I volunteer at in OC we recently got a cuy in but he was adopted by one of the volunteers. I am currently fostering a cuy crillo mejorado (mestizo) cuy but no one seems to want her. She may actually be a full cuy after all since in the five months since we've had her, her weight has doubled from 800g to 1600g. We also got a call from a local shelter that got a cuy baby but not sure what happened there with space.
They are more likely to be surrendered, less likely to be adopted, breed a lot faster and grow a lot faster, and live a shorter life than domestic pet guinea pigs.
They're also huge and strong and will flail and jump. My foster cuy, Kembra, pretty much mauls people when they try and pick them up. Huge scratches unless I keep her toenails short (her toe nails also grow faster than regular guinea pigs. Thank god she only has the normal number and not polydactyly on top of everything.)
Kembra releases a death curdle scream whenever she is picked up and vents fur (domestic guinea pigs usually only fear shed at unfamiliar places like the vet, not from lap time.) A kid would not be likely to catch her. If a kid could catch her, he would probably drop her. Either way, someone would eventually get hurt. Kembra has tried to barrel off furniture or jump off my lap even though she would probably injure herself.
Cuy also reportedly have shorter lifespans and are more likely to become heart pigs. When you full-disclosure all of these appealing features to potential adopters they usually opt for the kind of piggy who wll grow to love to snuggle. For the same reasons that they are more likely to be surrendered, they are less likely to be adopted.
- Supporter in '11
I've been the only rescue in our area taking in cuy lately so haven't turned any away. But you have to assume when you take them in that they may never find homes. We now have 5 - and the couple people that have expressed interest in them since they came 5 months ago quickly decided against them when I explained what they were like. We have a couple other sanctuary piggies so that only leaves 3 spots for the "more adoptable" piggies. So it makes it tough then to help the piggies in need at the shelters when you only have a few spots.
On the positive side, many of the cuy have settled down quite a bit with handling. And some of the more skittish cuy have gotten a lot less nervous after moving them to a spot right next to my desk where they're forced to look at me quite a bit of the day. So they do respond to socializing.
When Billie Jean came to us, she was probably the most skittish piggy I've ever seen. It was 3 months before she'd even let us catch a sneak peak of her behind a pigloo. Now that she's by my desk, she eats and lounges around in sight of me quite relaxed. She's getting easier to pick up and doesn't struggle when I hold her. I've kept her as my pet.
If anyone is interested in some cuy in the San Francisco bay area, we have 3 available for adoption!
- Supporter in '11
I always say that underneath their very scared exteriors are some gentle souls.
My last foster was a beautiful ±6 month old neutered cuy boy, Bubbles (I have pictures if anyone's interested), who was incredibly skittish to start with, but stole my heart in the matter of days I had him - he was adopted by someone in AZ.
I noticed that someone mentioned a general lack of wheeking - about 5 days in he started wheeking when I took his veggie bowl out of the cage, but it was the sweetest, quietest, low-pitched little "wheek-oo" sound I've ever heard from a guinea pig.
He weighed 1200g when I got him, although he was quite bony so probably should have weighed more. Once he stopped being terrified, he was very inquisitive and seemed like he's make a remarkable pet for someone strong enough to pick him up (he'd stopped running from me and screaming horribly when I went to pick him up, but he's only going to get bigger!).
Currently I'm fostering a baby cuy called Ruby (you can see her page 2 on the WC available animals list: http://weecompanions.org/adoptable-animals), in the hope that she'll grow into a more handleable adult with a lot of one on one interaction, so that she'll be more adoptable than most of the adult cuys in the rescue - we do have some that are real sweethearts, but of course they still aren't suitable for everyone.
We estimate that she's about 3 months old, and she is terrified of humans - we have her with an adult "standard" guinea pig right now because she was so scared alone that she wouldn't leave her hiding spots while we were around, and only the poop distribution let us know that she ever left them.
During lap time she'd just sit completely frozen still, except for the occasional bid to escape, in the form of violent stampede that could have resulted in serious injury to herself if you didn't hold on tight. Now that she has a friend (who's smaller than her, despite Ruby being a little underfed), she's a lot more bold and will even eat while I'm in the same room as her!
She was a little spunky during introductions, but her history suggests that she might be used to getting her way by throwing her weight around.
I agree that in general the cuys seem quite sweet with others given their size - perhaps there's been more pressure on them to be able to coexist in large groups with minimal supervision?
The main source of conflict I've seen in "mixed" cuy/non-cuy pairs seems to be that the "non-cuys" seem to be a little annoyed with the bigger pig stampeding over them whenever they get a fright, or shoving them back into the corner while trying to hide. It's almost like the cuys sometimes don't realise how big they are.
Date obtained : August 17 2013
Found or purchased where? Petsmart in Las Vegas
Weight: I do not have the proper scale for that but she is more than 450g
Abnormalities (ie. extra toes) None
Temperament: Frightened will take food from hand
Health problems: None that I am currently aware.
She freaked out, and when I finally got ahold of her she screamed bloody murder for a long time. I just held her firmly and tried to calm her.
I'll get back with her size and weight and a photo.
The woman who brought her had no idea. She had taken her in from a neighbor who was going to let her go outside.