Sunday, May 5, 2013

What a Wuss!

Noli's favorite spot
I had hoped that Cannoli would quickly adjust to a new home, since she has the laid-back Pinniped as a mentor.  She seemed such an outgoing spark when we adopted her.  Turns out her spunky attitude is solely for other guinea pigs.  When it comes to the humans, she's still overwhelmed.

Cannoli is a great little wheeker.  She has no problem drawing our attention when we come home in the evening or rattle a plastic bag.  But as soon as we arrive with food in hand, she hides under the hammock in the back of the cage.  Veggies are nice, but not worth exposing oneself to get them.  After nearly two months of working with her, I can entice her to stretch her nose out from under the hammock, but generally the rest of her remains safely in the shadows.  To add insult to injury, Cannoli is a slow eater.  It means that Pinni polishes off her own share then goes and helps herself to the rest of Cannoli's piece.

Yesterday Noli was the bravest yet:  she came all the way over to see what Pinni was noisily munching, but decided that stealing the corn husk from Pinni was less risky than grabbing the piece from me that I had pushed through the grids.  As Pinni happily munched more husk, Cannoli stayed at a safe distance and ate pellets instead (and I caught her pulling the bowl).

(not a good video - it's been hard to capture Noli's wussiness!)

Ah, yes, the mysterious moving bowl.

The food bowl moves around the cage
Several weeks ago I noticed that the pellet bowl was migrating across the cage instead of sticking to its spot up front.  I swapped it out for a heavier ceramic bowl, but it continued to wander.  It had to be Cannoli's doing, but I couldn't figure why.  Such a heavy bowl for such a little pig - was the pellet bowl being fought over?  Was someone trying to hog it all?  Then it hit me:  Noli was moving it closer to the back corner of the cage, so she wouldn't have to eat pellets out in the open.  Makes sense, since most of the pellets tend to be consumed overnight, after I cover the cage.  Noli gets all excited at night when I pull out the fleece; I can hear her running around before I've even finished tucking the edges.

I've had my share of wussy pigs.  Athena was funniest - she was clearly the alpha pig in the cage, but she'd shriek like a car alarm if she was picked up.  Bertie was extremely skittish when I first brought her home, but even she was a brave soul when it came to food.  Cannoli's attitude beats them both. 

I know from past experience that it takes time for a guinea pig to settle into a new home.  I answer the "why does my guinea pig hate me" question all the time, and tell the poster to just be patient.  But I can see why someone faced with a scaredy-pig like Cannoli can get discouraged.  I find myself needing to take my own advice:  be patient.  Feed her.  Love her.  Give it time.  She'll eventually come around.

Hurry up, ya big wuss!


  1. Love this post, when we first brought Hazelnut (Hazel) she was very skittish too. But she loves her fresh veggies in the morning. After this routine got into place.. about 6mos of us just petting her picking her up with a fresh strawberry in hand, she seemed to gain our trust. Now each morning I can't even get the creamer out of the fridge for coffee without her squealing or chirping her lil tunes. Now after a year of having her she greets us when we come home with her lil squeaks and loves getting her attention. So I hope you new lil one will come out of her comfort zone soon for you.

  2. My, Cannoli is one fast little rodent! I'm sure she'll warm up to you in her own time. As a side note, I love how Pinni just keeps munching away at the corn husks. What a scene stealer!

  3. Cannoli is SO cute! I have only had 3 pigs as an adult - none quite that shy. Our first set of pigs took about 6 weeks to adjust, but our third pig took about 4 months. She had previously been abused so it took a lot longer for her to come around and to stop chattering and nipping at us but now she's a total cuddle bug.

    But one of my pigs (Jaina) is terrified of people with tattoos which is odd, so she will only let my friend with tattoos hold her if she is wearing long sleeves to cover them up. I hope Cannoli adjusts soon, it must not be a lot of fun for her, either, to be so uncertain all the time. I am glad she's with you/a more experienced home who can give her space and understanding, though.


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