Last fall, I wrote about the 10 things that your guinea pig should not eat, which also included links to other lists of poisonous and toxic plants.
Ellen Falbowski (the rescue's board secretary and the person prepping Joanne's piggy photos for the latest batch of photo notecards in our Zazzle gallery) has brainstormed another list of common household items that guinea pigs occasionally come in contact with -- but really never should. Or, as Ellen semi-humorously puts it, "items that could be hanging next to the cage, overlooked by the owners but not by the pigs!"
The list includes:
- electric wire, telephone wire, speaker wire, computer cable
- venetian blinds
- venetian blind cords
- plastic bags of any kind, which can result in intestinal blockage if ingested (e.g., grocery bags, garbage bags, paper towel wrappers, bags that contain(ed) guinea pig food pellets or hay)
- deli-style plastic containers and lids (too soft, will be nibbled)
- houseplants, especially hanging plants (e.g., spider plant, philodendron, etc.)
Even if you think your guinea pigs would never fool with these things (because they haven't...yet) don't be so sure. One, guinea pigs have a habit of biting into unfamiliar things in order to determine what they are (or, rather, to determine whether the mystery things are food), and can nibble at them obsessively if you don't interfere and take the thing away. Two, owners should never underestimate the persistence and ingenuity of bored guinea pigs.
So take a few seconds to look around your pigs' cage and play area and see what's there. You just might find a hay bag or houseplant silently waiting to cause trouble!