Tonawanda News


April 1, 2013

CRITTER COMPANIONS: Guinea pigs -- an Easter miracle!

Tonawanda News — The strong smell of pig urine in my bedroom is a warm memory. 

The rustling of the treat container or anything that sounded similar would elicit high-pitched squealing. She lived in a Rubbermaid container that was about 4 feet long, a foot and a half long and a foot and a half tall. 

Her name was Clue, after a male Disney character — it’s hard to determine the gender of a guinea pic — and she was one of my first endeavors into genetics.

Seventh grade was my first look into real genetics. I learned about hybridizing peas, dominant and receive genes and how to make a Punnett square of genetics, but I wanted to see it firsthand.

Lucky for me, my science teacher had a male guinea pig.

This wasn’t just any guinea pig either, it was a Peruvian. Peruvian guinea pigs have long silky hair and look like the end of a mop hovering over the floor. Their hair is so long you can’t see their legs so they appear to float on by. I forgot his name, but he was light grey with white streaks.

My pig, Clue, was an Abyssinian, which have short cowlick hair, which create fluffy tufts of patterns. She was black, white and tan. The third most popular type of guinea pigs are smooth-coated, which as the name suggests, means they have short, shiny hair.

I kept my teacher’s guinea pig at my house for a few weeks over Christmas break and then again during a January break to increase the chances of Clue becoming pregnant. I waited but there were no signs of her getting bigger. Her behavior didn’t change and it seemed like she didn’t increase her diet. It seemed like I had to try again.

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