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Home / Timothy Hay

Guinea pig populations on the rise in California animal shelters

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles said Tuesday that its facilities and other animal shelters in California are experiencing an uptick in the number of guinea pigs in their care — largely as a result of the cute little critters being surrendered by their owners.

“The first wave of the pandemic brought many small pet or `pocket pet’ adopters,” spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein said in a statement.

“Now we are experiencing another wave, but this time the tide is not in the animals’ favor. Small animals are coming in, but we aren’t seeing as many adopters for them.”

Officials with the spcaLA said they and other organizations have noticed that the increase appears to coincide with people heading back to work and school, and that the shortage of spay/neuter resources during the COVID-19 pandemic may also be a contributing factor.

The organization has eight guinea pigs listed on its website, which includes photos of the animals that have been dubbed Caramelov, Han, Isaac, Leia, Newton, Patrick, Quira and Reggie, who are at its pet adoption centers in Hawthorne and Long Beach.

Officials noted that shelters including spcaLA and San Francisco Animal Care & Control are offering foster-to-adopt options and reduced or eliminated adoption fees, with spcaLA listing a $15 fee to adopt a guinea pig.

“Guinea pigs are so social and fun — they greet our staff with a cacophony of happy coos when it’s time for their morning greens,” Bernstein said. “They do really well in pairs, and many people find they’re a good first pet for kids, with supervision of course.”

Guinea pigs need large, solid-bottom cages with plenty of Timothy Hay for bedding, a hutch for hiding, balls and toys to play with and a chew for their always-growing teeth, according to the spcaLA.

They also require plenty of fresh clean water, kibble, a small amount of fresh fruits and vegetables each day and oranges or a vitamin C supplement.

Anyone interested in adopting a guinea pig from the spcaLA can go to the organization’s website: spcaLA.com/adopt to begin the adoption process.

Other shelters that have multiple guinea pigs listed include:

Pasadena Humane, which has more than a dozen, including ones dubbed Peanut, Butter, Mr Love, Big J, Cheerio and Muffin;

Los Angeles Animal Services, which has more than 40 guinea pigs at its shelters, including ones dubbed Batman, Bunny, Piggie and Mozart;

— and Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control, which has four guinea pigs listed as “Ready To Go Home!” — including Buttercup, Nacho and Milk at its Castaic shelter and Willard at its Carson facility.

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