Grab your friends and prepare for another ShopHop fun-filled day of shopping, prizes, discounts and recipe tastings! Image courtesy of Wee CompanionsPictured is Wee Companions founder, Fenella Speece, holding Titan, the second largest Cuy we have seen and the most tame. Most of these Guinea pigs are feral and difficult to tame, especially if they have reached adulthood without much handling. Image courtesy of OC Cavy HavenA side view of an adolescent Cuy (Fiona, below) next to a full grown male guinea pig of average size (Acorn, top). The difficulty for rescues lies in the fact that these Cuys are not desirable pets for the average American family, most of who are interested in guinea pigs as docile pets for their children. Image courtesy of OC Cavy HavenA comparison of Fiona's foot (left) and Acorn's foot (right). Nicole Peeples, CEO, Orange County Cavy HavenNicole is a co-founder of Orange County Cavy Haven and has been rescuing guinea pigs since 2002.
Is there any evidence that they can be tamed if worked with at a young enough age, or are they too close to wild stock? This just leads us to the point where we know that no animals whatsoever should be sold in pet stores. I wonder how different the description of these giant guinea pigs is to what people say about regularly sized guinea pigs that are given up for adoption. The giant guinea pig was selectively bred from ordinary Peruvian stock as micro-livestock at the University of Lima in Peru. The professor who bred them back to pre-conquest size knew that the ancient genes for size were still there if the animals were selectively bred for it. These giant guinea pigs are being exported to protein-starved third world countries (like Africa, India, and Bangladesh) where the small animals can be concealed from thieves or terrorist armies the way cattle and goats cannot. This is very sad to read, I hate the thought of these poor guinea pigs being abandoned when the owners can’t care for them any more. An Established News Source For the Cavy CommunityThank you for making Guinea Pig Today your number one source for guinea pig news and information. This event gets BIGGER every year, so we had to increase the hours to make sure our customers can visit all 14 stores! So… grab a friend or two, carpool together, have fun, eat breakfast or lunch at Deja vu Restaurant, and have a full day of shopping fun!
He (we THINK it’s a “he”) is hiding somewhere in the back of the store with his name tag on him. Titan was 5 pounds when Wee Companions discovered him in a shelter.In 2010, small animal rescues in Southern California began receiving phone calls from animal shelters reporting extra large, “wild” guinea pigs. They bear a striking resemblance to the Cuys Criollos Mejorados commonly raised for food in South American countries such as Peru. Notice how Fiona's head (left) is shaped differently from Acorn (right) and her ears appear so much larger.Concerned small animal rescues contacted several government agencies to inquire about oversight on the practice of purchasing and selling the Cuys.
Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. However, they require more focused, consistent taming than is given in the average home where the guinea pigs are a pet for a child. I hate the thought that guinea pigs are raised for food but understand the various food practices of other cultures.

I would guess that most of their owners said that the pig was not tame, would bite, wouldn’t let their child hold them, etc. Please consider linking to our site to help promote the guinea pig adoption community and general cavy welfare. Many of the shelters did not normally contact rescues; yet the guinea pigs were so difficult to handle that shelters deemed them unadoptable. She was not even close to full grown.Several inside sources at Petco have revealed that these guinea pigs are indeed imported from Peru. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and, in California, the Department of Health Services Food and Drug Branch regulates the slaughter and sale of exotic animals for meat. It's like a guinea pig Clydesdale!In recent years, the promotion of guinea pigs as micro livestock has become very popular, especially in developing countries where raising cattle is problematic. In addition, the potential for purchasing a sick, mis-sexed, or pregnant animal is high, especially when dealing with rodents.
Most of them are too strong for children to handle; they are also hyper-vigilant and startle easily.
Even adults can be tamed, but it takes someone with a great amount of time and patience, as well as cavy knowledge, a quiet home, and the understanding that they are great jumpers and runners. However when you take an animal like this and sell it in the local pet store the consequence can be just terrible.
After being returned, he was kept alone in a cat-sized travel carrier by himself for over 6 months in the back room of the pet store.
And, like it or not, the popular notion persists that guinea pigs are good pets for children (no matter how hard we rescues fight this idea). This is what happens when someone gets an animal that they don’t know how to care for, or whose care they turn over to a child too young for the responsibility. If it is YOUR name and town that you find within the text of this newsletter then come on in and claim your prize: A $25.00 gift certificate to California Decor Store! Rescues were puzzled at first, until a San Diego veterinarian posted photos on Facebook of a large, polydactyl guinea pig that resembled those found in the shelters.
Because of their wild nature, they are much more likely to be relinquished to a shelter than regular-sized guinea pigs.
However, the Cuys are being sold as pets and not slaughtered, which would be illegal in California according to penal code section 598b.
However, it will require genetic testing to prove that the Cuys are not the same species as Cavia porcellus, the common domestic guinea pig. Now there is even one more reason not to purchase animals from pet stores: the chance that you could receive a wild, untamable, short-lived, giant mutant—instead of a small, docile, family friendly pet that lives six to eight years. The influx is a result of the south american meat industry looking for more revenue buyers, and the fact the we border the country in which they are bred to become so large.
That first pet guinea pig will most likely determine if you are a guinea pig owner for life. I saw a small sign saying that they had an animal available for adoption, and when I asked to see him, it was love at first sight.
Petco should not be selling giant guinea pigs to unsuspecting families; the end result is, as you saw, the pet being abandoned. It is likely that purchasing the Cuys is somehow more cost effective; since they are raised for meat and not for pets, they may wholesale for less.

Even more disturbing are reports that the Cuys have a shorter lifespan and are prone to heart disease. It is not illegal to raise guinea pigs for food in California, as long as they are slaughtered elsewhere. None of the regulatory agencies are willing to claim jurisdiction over the sale of meat guinea pigs as pets. What a shame to think children will end up with these rather than the sweet animals we all know and love.
In addition, purchasing small animals from a meat grower instead of a pet breeder may furnish a loophole for Petco to escape inspection by APHIS, the division of the USDA that regulates pet breeding facilities.
Rescues are receiving reports of sudden, unexplained deaths before the age of three years old. Many of the guinea pigs raised for food in Peru are the same size as the domestic guinea pigs in the United States. He weighs in at around 5 lbs and has the large size described here, however the behavioral issues are, in my opinion, just a bad stereotype. Since many of Petco’s distributors in recent years have been investigated and charged with animal cruelty and neglect, the company may be seeking creative ways to avoid further negative publicity while maintaining the profit margin. The Cuys Criollos Mejorados are the results of selective breeding designed to produce larger, meatier animals for food consumption. Since they appear similar to regular-sized guinea pigs when young, consumers may have a difficult time identifying the Cuys in pet stores. When I first brought Rupert home, he did display some of these behaviors; he didnt want to be picked up, and always seemed scared. When they grow up to be wild giants, impossible for children to handle, they will continue to land in the local shelters. If you put him on your lap, he will put his front paws up on your chest and nuzzle your chin. I have had regular guinea pigs in the past, and none of them have ever been as affectionate as Rupert.
He has a special wheek that he does when he has to go, and unfailingly waits until he is back in his cage or out on the grass to do his business. I would not say that Rupert would be a great child’s pet, and take note that they definitely can jump very high, probably around 2 feet or more in the air. He will unfailingly try to escape when he goes outside for playtime, however as long as you have a good enclosure there will be no problems. This doesn’t mean that we should misunderstand or disregard this whole breed of lovable giants.
This stooped to that level in my opinion, and I hope that you will all give Cuys more of a chance than just to reject them like this.

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