An Unexpected Third

Sugar Bear, 5 minutes after getting home.

We had our two guinea pigs, Mocha and Linda, and were very content. Mocha was recovering from some ringworm and life was good. Then we met Sugar Bear. This baby boy was in an enclosure with 4 other girls and was constantly rejected. He was rejected by humans just as much as he was rejected by the female guinea pigs around him. He was adopted but returned due to his coloring, a skin issue on his ears, and some unwanted personality issues mostly due to his young age. After he was returned, no one gave him the light of day. Every time I saw him while I was getting hay and treats for the girls, he was backed into a corner cowering under a water bottle. Anyone that got too close to the glass caused him to weakly slink into a plastic igloo and avoided all eye contact. There was something very wrong with this little guy. It was my fiance, Jonathon, who was the first to speak up about him. We agreed that if no one adopted him in 7 days, we would adopt him. Sure enough, 7 days went by and he was still there. The girls had been adopted and he seemed in worse shape. We grabbed a small enclosure so we wouldn’t overwhelm him with a large space and took the little guy home.

We named him Sugar Bear because of his coloring. His fur looks like someone sprinkled powdered sugar on him, which makes him look like a sweet old man. We also thought that he was possible a Teddy or a Rex, so Sugar Bear just fit him. We got him home and as I held him, Jonathon set up his habitat. He was completely still in my hand the entire 15 minutes it took to set up the habitat. We slowly introduced him to the treats we had, gave him fresh water and hay and watched his personality complete change within 48 hours. He went from a scared, almost depressed guinea pig to an active, adventurous, quirky little rascal.

Sugar Bear after his first bath.

He’s much smaller than Mocha was when we first got him which leads us to believe he’s between 4-7 months old and also makes him the youngest of the family. His habitat sit safely on top of the girls’ cages, so he gets a lovely window view. He wheeks loudly for kale and gets the zoomies about three times every day. He like to burrow in his pile of hay, explore when we take him out for cuddles, and chew on everything he can get his teeth into. He won’t stay in his small cage forever, especially considering that he won’t be small himself forever. My current plan is to get him neutered when he is old enough and have him become Mocha’s cage mate. Mocha and Sugar Bear have similar temperaments and are both quite shy, which makes me believe that they would be a good match. Linda has some aggression when it comes to food so I don’t think she could ever handle another guinea pig in her cage with her. We tried with Mocha and they were figuring it out but I didn’t believe that it was worth the stress on Mocha. You can read more about their bonding process here.

Sugar Bear can be a handful. He likes to jump over walls when possible, so floor time isn’t an option for him right now unless we can find something to cover our portable floor cage. He also needs to have an eye kept on him at all times as he will run off. He also will start wheeking for food at random times with random triggers. Some triggers are any type of door opening, any bag crinkling, or even the sound of our voices. It’s very cute but I always feel like I’m teasing him with the idea of food.

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