Number six on the Top 10 are guinea pigs (GPs), also known as ‘Cavies’ from the Latin Cavia porcellus and originating from South America (circa 5000 BC).
Starting out in the wild, they are noted for their fast breeding and are farmed for their protein.
Guinea pigs were brought across by Spanish and Portuguese traders during the 16th century.
Luckily, a large sense of humour not appetite, GPs became infamous for their entertaining antics. Clowning, serious-faced, chunky bunky, they are easy-to-look-after pets.
Marie Pinto found a bedraggled, unkempt little ‘Rocky’ at a gypsy market. Whilst Marie earnestly researched GPs, her husband hastily hammered out a home for their newcomer.
After realising these little chaps need company, Marie wrote to APAA, the Association for Protection of Animals Algarve. Has someone a spare GP knocking about to keep Rocky company? Helena, a fellow GP owner, heard of Marie’s plight. Lo and behold, ‘Basil’, a baby GP. Marie and Helena met to discuss the care and attention of GPs.
As instructed, the Pintos introduced Basil to Rocky, ensuring both would be contented companions, indeed, sharing their special heated lamp together at night. Awww!
GPs like to have somewhere quiet to pause, nibble and ponder over their food. Whilst delightfully smart and playful, they like to have a nap or two. GPs sleep with their eyes open, needing dark and comfortable places to park for a peaceful, catch-up time.
Feeding our GP friends on fresh grass is a must. Clean and fresh water is also essential. Making little hay or grass bales helps keep their food away from the bottom of the hutch or cage, so it doesn’t get contaminated or mouldy. Dirty rotting food is a disaster for our little, agile, quirky, funny, furry friends. They like exercise and being able to move around.
Cavies are lovable, comical, enjoy being handled and gently brushed. A perfect pet.
APAA charity shops:
Alvor – Dunas Complex – Monday-Saturday 10.30am-2pm
Silves – Rua Elias Garcia, 20, Monday-Friday 10am-2pm.
A cornucopia of gifts, crockery and stuff to set up home.
How can you help APAA?
A forthcoming Pop-Up will be a garden-themed event. Have you an odd gnome or svelte statue for the garden or patio? Bird feeders, pots, watering cans? Deliver items to the shops mentioned above and say it’s for a Pop-Up. For future events, help us stock up our shops. Any unwanted Christmas gifts? Oh no, not Aunt Euphemia’s hand-knitted woolly socks!