Sunday, 5 February 2012

Day 5: Fun

Mouse has had great fun today. Seen as though she's come out of her shell so much I thought I would pop some toys in her cage.

People hear me say that my piggies have toys and wonder why I bother. I usually get 'I gave my guinea pig/rabbit a toy and he ignored it'. My lot treat any new object in their cage with great suspicion, well why shouldn't they? They are prey animals after all. However, it doesn't take long for them to get over the initial 'blimey what's that strange thing' before curiousity gets the better of them and they have a good sniff and nudge. Soon the item is surrounded and throughly inspected. This is enrichment and 'fun' to a piggy although us humans may be disappointed that we didn't get a more interesting reaction!

I'd argue that guinea pigs do 'play' to a certain extent but not as obviously as dogs and cats. Rabbits are also more obvious and often throw things and make noise to 'entertain' themselves. Pigs are subtle, they are kept occupied by simple things like changing the set up in their cage, putting hay in a rack or putting a tasty treat in a treat ball. Maybe that's why people don't think they play, they are just too subtle in expressing themselves. Maybe using the word 'play' is anthropomorphising them too much anyway. Saying that, my neutered male Rodney loves loud noises especially the hoover and is not subtle at showing his delight...
Rodney isn't very representative of piggy behaviour I must admit, the rest of the gang hate sudden loud noises (they have very sensitive hearing). The video is dead funny though. Don't ask me why he loves it, I have no idea.

Guinea pigs are crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk) so don't presume just because you've never seen your piggy being active or doing anything other than dozing that they don't come to life when you're asleep....they most certainly do. I often wish I had a 'night vision' camera to see what they get up to when we are sleeping. So yes, all piggies should have toys and enrichment.

Mouse loves her organic style chew toys made out of things like seagrass and willow. She shoves them around and chews them. A regular toliet roll tube filled with hay has also proved popular. The cheap things are always the best! Her most favourite thing is her Igloo or 'pigloo' - what on earth is one of them? Well here's one......
A plastic hidey hut basically but the name is pretty amusing. Every pig should have one to feel nice and secure. Mouse is getting much braver but it's because she has a safe place to run back too if needs be. She even pushes it along the floor (whilst still inside it) to reach food if she's a bit too scared to brave it alone. Guinea pigs as we know them don't exist in the wild, but their closest relatives steal burrows from other animals so it's in their evolution to feel safe in enclosed spaces.

I've stopped worrying so much today about her pregnancy, she seems to have it covered so I'll just keep feeding her up and making her comfy. She's just scoffed a whole carrot as a treat.

Oh and look at what happened when I was taking the photo at the top... I think it's called sabotage.

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