Friday, May 25, 2012

Piglets

The baby guinea pigs have arrived! And man, are they cute.
While I was away on my field course, both Tango and Salsa gave birth. I suspect Tango giving birth induced Salsa's labour, because they gave birth on the same day, by all accounts at the same time! This left my poor mom with a handful of unexpected babies, but I'm pleased to say that everyone (including her) survived.
There are five in total. There was quite a bit of a debate over the past few weeks, but I think we've finally nailed it down that Salsa had two and Tango had three. They are all living together and seem to be one big happy family (except for poor Polka, who had to be separated when Salsa started beating her up).
Salsa's pretty young to be a mom, and while she's doing a great job of nursing her pups, she spends most of her time chasing after Tango and cuddling up to her. I'm pretty darn sure Tango is Salsa and Polka's mom as well (poor girl), so she's the head of the clan at the moment. As you can see, when there's trouble they all go running to her!
Four of the five pups are males, with only one girl in the lot. We've already decided on eventual, permanent pairings. Most of them won't be going with litter-mates, but since they've all been raised together and seem quite attached, we don't think that will be a problem.
And without further ado - introductions!
The brown one is Fozzie and the one with the white nose is Kermit. These two boys will be going together, and we originally thought they were brothers since they look so much alike. It turns out Kermit is Salsa's kid and Fozzie is Tango's kid, but does it really matter? They're all related anyway! 
Chili is the only girl in the group, and even though she's Tango's kid, she'll be adopted with Salsa when the time comes. Tango will be going back with poor Polka, who is quite upset at being alone all of a sudden. Chili is super outgoing and noisy! She's also super cute though, so it balances out the noise.
Peppermint and Pico are the smallest ones, so we assumed they were Salsa's, but it turns out Peppermint actually belongs to Tango. Crazy guinea pigs, trying to fool us! Either way, the two littlest ones will be going together and will no doubt make the most adorable pair ever.
Peppermint is just heart-breakingly cute. He's probably the shyest in the group, and he tends to hide under his family members if he hears you coming. We're trying to coax him out of his shell - he doesn't mind being held, but he raises quite a fuss being picked up in the first place.
Pico (from part of the Spanish word for Salsa) is the smallest of the group, but he's no runt. He's got quite the belly, probably because he nurses from both moms whenever he gets the chance! He is a feisty little guy and chatters up a storm if you stop to say hi to him. 
  Right now, they're all small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but they're growing quickly! In a week they'll be ready to be weaned and go back to the shelter. Chili and Salsa will head back first, then Tango and Polka, then the boys in some order or another. 
Meanwhile, Jazz gave birth to two pups in another foster home, a few days before our little ones came along. And of course, two new pigs have arrived at the shelter. I wasn't kidding when I said it was the year of the guinea pig!

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