We currently have very few pets here at Tiny Paws HQ, all the more poignant given the recent consecutive losses of two of our most elderly and beloved guinea pigs, Archie (age 7) and Felicity (age 6+). Loss, bereavement and grief is far from a new experience, though, and I know the importance of attending to the remaining pets’ needs whilst processing the loss of others.
Throughout my 29 years I have grown up with and kept:
- 32 guinea pigs
- 5 dogs
- 1 hamster
- 2 aquariums
At present, we do still have 2 guinea pigs to love and cherish, and as novice tropical aquarists we have a lot of learning and practice going on regularly with our freshwater aquarium.
Black and tan Abyssinian-cross boar (intact)
Estimated DoB: 29 May 2016
Wilbur came to us as a friend for Archie in summer 2016. Archie had just lost his cagemate Gabriel, and we really felt that he was a good candidate for re-pairing with a young boar. Enter Wilbur! He was around 4 months old when we acquired him. He was in quarantine for around 2 months whilst I could monitor him, whilst Archie was treated for skin problems, and while we waited for the legal processes on our house purchase to complete. When we introduced the pair, all went well and the two lived very happily together until Archie’s death on 10 April 2018.
Wilbur is a bundle of energy, he has a very unique sparkle that is rarely dimmed or put off by anything. Though not what I would call a ‘loving’ pig, he does know loyalty, he knows his humans, and he does enjoy contact with us (on his terms, preferably with him down a cardigan sleeve). He’s incredibly photogenic, which is a real challenge considering he is 90% black haired, but we get by!
Wilbur was paired up in late April with a stunning but very cunning young boar known as Oliver. Unfortunately Wilbur was on the receiving end of some awful bullying behaviour, including having his cage invaded by an escaped Oliver who set out to bully Wilbur in his own space while we were out the house! We had to give Oliver to Wood Green Animal Shelter here as that incident ruled out all hope of eventually being able to bond the pair, and I am limited on space, so I’m in the process at the moment of building Wilbur’s confidence back up…
Slate, tan and white boar (intact)
Estimated DoB: 11 September 2018
George joined Wilbur in October 2018, having tried (and failed) for 6 months to pair Wilbur up following the death of Archie. George has settled in beautifully, he is the perfect companion to Wilbur – a confident but gentle, well-tempered young lad with a big personality and a very loud voice!
In March 2018 we were able to fill our 90 litre (18 gallon) glass tank with hard and soft aquascaping and begin fishless cycling, to develop the bacteria in the filter that would be necessary for keeping healthy water and healthy fish. Not only did fishless cycling allow us to develop the right bacteria, but it gave us a feel for water changes, water management, and the basic routine we would need for keeping tropical fish.
We may have named the shrimp (below) but I gave up a long time ago on trying to name the Corys! They are huge characters and they love to dance around and play with their reflections.
Dave, Davey, Daveed and Davina the Amano Shrimp
All the shrimp were initally called Dave, until we discovered one was berried (pregnant). The eggs will never develop into fry as they need brackish water to hatch, and even in expert hands are notoriously tricky to breed.