What Life Would Be Like… If Guinea Pigs Ran the World

For years, the cat and dog community has taken over the “living like our pets” market. There are a lot of dog diaries and lessons from cats. But, there’s been remarkably little speculation about what life would be like if we took our cue from the snugly Guinea Pig. And maybe that’s for good reason. Life as a Guinea Pig is pretty far from our understanding of modern life. Or is it?

1. Where We Would Live

For a start, we couldn’t live anywhere too hot, or too cold. In fact, we’d do our best to avoid anywhere with temperature extremes, so we’d probably have to migrate twice a year. Now, the wild cousins of the domesticated Guinea Pigs, don’t seem to need to move terribly often, but then they’ve never been exposed to the plush surroundings of the typical human home, have they? So we’d either be moving north, or moving south, depending on the season. And that’s fine, right? Having a holiday home wouldn’t have to be the luxury it is now. It would be a necessity.

And since we’re pretty rotten at climbing, we’d opt for rather flat surroundings, with lots of tall plants to hide under. Of course, even as adults, we wouldn’t mind a bit of a playground with lots of little objects to hop over. So, every home would need to have a large garden area. In fact, we’d probably dispense with housing altogether (since we’ve already eliminated adverse weather). So, there’d just be soft bits of ground to sleep on. And of course, there would also be tunnels and odd bits of wooden blocks to hide in and around. We are also adept swimmers, so a nice pond or pool is a fantastic idea. And that sounds just dandy, doesn’t it? Imagine trading in your 9 to 5 for playing in your garden all day long.

We would absolutely distrust bright lights, so the cloudy skies of the UK would do just fine. On the other hand, we don’t seriously need the rain; it will need to go on a schedule according to the area of the country we’re living in at the moment. So far, the only issue seems to be getting from one home to another, but we could just add better temperature controls to the existing railway system. Not a bad plan if we can organise it.

This is how we like to relax after a hard days work

3. Whom We Would Live With?

If humans were to live like Guinea Pigs, our family units would more closely resemble polygamous African tribes than modern Western groups. Given a choice, we’d all choose to live in groups with one male, several females and our collective young. The kids would eventually splinter into their own tribes, probably around the time that they hit that awful door-slamming phase of their lives. Except, that we’ve more or less dispensed with doors, so it’s probably when they refuse to come out of their tunnel for days on end.

The good news about this scenario is that we’ve already got television shows depicting polygamous life – so we’ve got an idea how to do it. The key isn’t finding the man; it’s finding women who can play nicely in the garden together. This is somewhat unlikely, although you have to remember that we’ll be rather busy swimming, hiding in tunnels and watching the young males fight for dominance.

And, we’ve even got a gratifying reference for this. Male Guinea Pigs like to show each other who is boss by biting each other’s ears. Fortunately, there are many people who remember Mike Tyson’s ear biting incident, so we’ve got that covered. Unfortunately, this does mean that we’ll start encouraging little Timmy to rip a piece out of little Bobby from a young age. That’s rather the opposite of how we live now – at a micro level anyhow. In the grand scheme of things, governments are remarkably adroit at ripping the ears off other countries. We just call it peacekeeping, or sanctions.

For the most part we, as Guinea Pigs, would live in little groups, hoping that we have lots of little girls to carry on our dynasty rather than lots of sons. Boys will most likely come with extensive visits to the NHS, and that’s not as much fun as playing in the garden – even if you do have to share it with other wives.

Here’s Sunny and Freddy - getting cosey

5. What We Would Eat?

We’re all vegetarians now. And this is beneficial for lots of reasons. The main reason is that this dispenses with the need for any other sort of animal. This is good because we honestly don’t like other animals, although the occasional rabbit is like entertaining our cousins from Norway. We will have to keep a few humans mucking about; otherwise there will be no one to clean up after us, or operate the trains that take us to our second home. (Note, we’ll probably have to dispense with the Peruvians that eat us though. Sorry.)

Another reason that we’re so pleased to eat only veggies is that we genuinely need the Vitamin C that comes with them. That’s because we’re more prone to scurvy than 18th century pirates in the Caribbean. So a diet that’s filled Vitamin C is a beneficial thing. And fresh fruits and vegetables don’t need to be cooked, which is helpful as that would be a little bit like work. So, while variety is delightful, the oven is far more useful as an object to hide behind.

There are products on the market such as the The Excel Feeding Plan that will cater to our extremely high standards.

Oh I forgot to mention…there is that little issue of eating some of our faeces. This is going to be a lot harder for most of us to get around than polygamy. On careful reflection, it seems as though our favourite humans will have one of three jobs: garbage men, train conductors, and Vitamin B production. This should get around the need to eat our bodily refuse. Or, we could feed it to our rabbit cousins when they come to visit. (Please note, we are talking about rabbits, not Norwegians – that would be wrong.)

As a side note, we can pay our servant humans in beer since we no longer have a need for that. It does sound a bit puritanical, but have you ever seen a drunken Guinea Pig? It’s doubtful. But there seem to be plenty of drunk garbage collectors.

Patch - prepping this evening’s meal

7. What We Would Do

This one is easy. We would spend much of our day playing or swimming. This would be interspersed with a couple of naps. It wouldn’t be just one long midday sleep like the Spanish do; our naps would be quite short. But, I suppose, if we were into it, we could leave our kids with one or another of the mothers while we laze away the day on our soft bit of earth. But as there are no hangovers and no work to attend to, we probably wouldn’t feel the need.

Other than playing, we’d spend a terrific amount of time grooming ourselves. But the need for Boots has gone. We’ve got our own body lotion stored up in our eyes. So all we have to do is rub our little arms into our eyes and then spread it all around. Actually, this sounds a lot like spreading mucus all over our bodies, so maybe there is a need for Boots after all. Especially considering that we don’t mind grooming each other. It would be extraordinarily difficult to sit still while the best fur-dresser of the tribe smears their ooze all over us.

We do like to chat with each other, which is a delightful way to spend part of the day. And fortunately, we don’t trust anyone outside of our own little group, so exorbitant cell phone bills are a thing of the past. We can also practice our whistling skills which is useful for summoning our favourite humans..

If there’s time, we might to a little bit of exploring. We would need to do that close to home though as we need to know where to hide. But, since we have two homes, there is a bit of diversity. And most people don’t have too many opportunities to travel far from home anyhow.

Pooh - singing for his supper

9. In Conclusion

Life as a Guinea Pig has its ups and downs. We’d be vegetarian, polygamous Mike Tysons with multiple homes, erm gardens.

Alright, we do need to sort out the weather and the train system, secure reliable refuse collection, reduce the NHS waiting time, develop affordable grooming products and figure out the best combination of vitamins to take for a long and healthy life. But that doesn’t sound all that different from the life we’re used to now, does it? Except for the ear biting thing, that might have to go, as well.

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