Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Guinea Pig Personalities

By Leah McNeil
Leah loves guinea pigs more than chocolate. Share in her adventures of guinea pig ownership.

Click image to enlarge
Leah and Princess Snowflake
Princess Snowflake shows Leah that she calls the shots in their relationship.

Hello Piggie Lovers!

What amazes me most about our precious guinea pig friends is that each and every one of them has their own personality. I am frequently telling non-piggie people about my past and current piggies' personalities and usually they are pleasantly surprised and quite amused.

My beloved Brownie Bear was rather shy, but had no problem demanding veggies or pig service. She had the biggest ‘wheeker’ that I have ever heard and didn't mind using it. She knew what she wanted, when she wanted it, and she would let you know if you were slacking in the pig duty department. She was a biter, and that was the first time I experienced a biting pig. But, to her defense, she was a bladder stone/sludge piggie, so I understood why she was so cranky. She didn't like to be held too much – at least not until Butterscotch came along – and she would complain, complain, complain until you put her down. She was probably the most intelligent piggie that has owned me, and I am convinced that her piggie IQ was well over 180. If I had one word to describe Brownie Bear, it would be grouchy.

Then, my beloved Butterscotch came into the pigture. Oh goodness, this boy was the silliest, goofiest piggie I've ever known. He came to me as an adult and became Brownie Bear's little brother and best friend. Of course, he wanted to be B-Bear's girlfriend, but he was neutered and B-Bear was spayed. So, that definitely wasn't happening. The problem was – he kept forgetting, so Brownie had to smack him around every so often to remind him. Butterscotch was very photogenic, and he would give me the funniest expressions. I could sit there and watch him for hours and hours and laugh at his silly ways. He loved to follow his big sister around and was constantly getting tricked by her. He tried to act like he was all grown up, but he was always a little mama's boy. He was quite particular about his diet and was very fussy. He was probably the most cuddly piggie that has ever owned me and was a total and complete Purr Machine. If I had one word to describe Butterscotch, it would be silly.

Now, my current piggie is, of course, Princess Snowflake. Well, first of all, I am convinced that she has Piggie ADHD. She is so wild and cannot seem to stay still (unless she's sleeping). She is completely starved for attention and will do whatever it takes to get whatever it is she wants at the moment. She is very demanding – far more demanding than Brownie Bear ever was! She's very small, only weighing 1 pound, 14 ounces (850 grams), but she is very pushy. My theory is that she has what I like to call “Small Piggie Complex.”

She knows that I am particular about her cage arrangement, so she will do just about anything to annoy me, like slant her water bottles or drag her pigloo around so that the bedding bunches up in it or jump on top of her big pile of timothy hay to flatten it out. Errr. When I give her a fruit treat, she grabs it from my hand with such fierceness it's ridiculous. During floortime, she likes to run under her cage stand and gnaw on it, then she'll run to her wooden hidey place and gnaw on that, then she'll run inside her pigloo and gnaw on that. Then, she'll run under my feet as I am sitting on the couch and will try to move my feet out of the way, even though she has plenty of room to get by. She is constantly trying to move the couch by attempting to push it out of her way. But, the couch never moves so I'm not sure why she keeps trying. I mean, geeez ...you would think she owned the place! (Oh wait, she does!) Well, eventually, I'll crawl around on the floor to play with her and then she'll jump on me and pin me down, just to show me who's in control. Help!

If I had one word to describe Princess Snowflake, it would be bossy.

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Reader Comments
I really enjoyed hearing about your piggies. I've had three; they all were acquired when I was an adult. Vrie (named for the sound she made) was so easy going. She was a pleasure to get along with. She grew up with The Blob, who lived up to her name by blobbing (sitting there like a blob) for most of her life. She had almost no personality, which is pretty weird for a guinea pig. They shared a cage with our rabbit, The Big Bad Bun (The Bun for short). Fortunately, they didn't catch any diseases from her. Bun and Vrie were best of friends until the fateful day that I found Vrie missing all the hair above her eyes. I feared mites or (ugh!) lice and rushed her to the vet only to find that, in her obsessive love, Bun had groomed her fur off. Sadly, we had to separate them before Vrie became a Skinny Pig Wannabe. Vrie continued to be a cheerful pal for us, even when dying of cancer at the age of eight. Her cage was on top of Bun's, and that rabbit (normally very shy) became positively hostile during Vrie's last days, then almost died herself.
My husband surprised me with a wee piggie for Mother's Day. Like Bun, who recovered and is now more friendly than she's been in years, she's a shy girl. It's fun watching her overcome her fear, as I've dealt with fear myself in my fifty-some years. Joan
Joan, Penryn, CA
Posted: 6/24/2008 9:14:04 PM
Hahaha! Leah, it's so much fun reading about the Princess. And good to see your pretty face again! I have a new girl too, and she thinks she is a princess as well! Princess Isabelle. Maybe they can be in the royal court together.
Lisa, Marietta, GA
Posted: 5/15/2008 3:00:47 PM
Leah - love the blog! Your piggies sound so funny! Keep on blogging! Thanks for the enjoyment! I love how they try to move things that they can't move. Mine are a riot too! check them out on my website: LINK
Lisa, St. Louis Park, MN
Posted: 5/12/2008 1:09:24 PM
Oh, Leah! These GP blogs are so entertaining, and I am really getting a lot of enjoyment from your writing! I really had to laugh at this latest blog when you said that the Princess has "guinea pig ADHA!" I have been saying for five years that our precious "RP" has "guinea pig autism!" It has always fascinated me that these little creatures have such different personalities! Keep on writing. Love the Princess and also think you are a great writer (and person!). Thanks! janie
Janie, Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 5/9/2008 4:48:07 AM
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