Saturday, August 29, 2009

In Which I Confess that I Don't Like Guinea Pigs

When you grow up with a zoo curator for a father, you learn a lot about animals, all kinds of animals. You name it, I probably know where it's from, what it eats, and how to care for it in captivity. So, when my younger son decided he needed a guinea pig (thank you G-Force), It wasn't a big deal to get one. We got a rabbit too, to placate my older son, because two guinea pigs living together have a way of creating many more.

The thing about guinea pigs is that they're scared, pretty much all the time, of pretty much everything. You probably would be too if you were considered a delicacy in Central and South America. Guinea pigs don't bite, and they don't fight. They display all the features of learned helplessness without having to actually learn it. They are gentle and accommodating, whether you dress them up in costumes, fly them around the room, or make them kiss your mother and brother goodnight. The other thing about guinea pigs is that when they're not scared, they tend to squeak. I'm not so big on squeaking.

Rabbits, on the other hand, despite having at least as much to worry about when it comes to predator-prey relations, are friendly, inquisitive, energetic, and tend to save the running and hiding for moments of actual danger. Although they are strict vegetarians they will occasionally taste you just in case you've become edible. If you push them too far rabbits may bite you, and if you try to make them kiss your brother they may decide instead to slam him full force with their hind feet. Rabbits know how to set limits. They are also silent. I like rabbits.

Maybe some day I'll come out as a rabbit on a quiz. I sure hope I'm never a guinea pig.

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