Latest figures from the RSPCA show more than 300 guinea pigs have been abandoned so far this year which is triple the number dumped last year.
The RSPCA believes one of the major causes of guinea pigs being neglected is a misconception that they are easy to look after or that they can be a child’s first pet.
New statistics show that between January and the end of August this year there were 338 guinea pigs abandoned and rescued by RSPCA officers. This compares to just 112 which were rescued and abandoned in 2016.
Dr Jane Tyson, RSPCA’s scientific officer for companion animals, said: “Just because these animals are small in size does not mean that they are any less of a commitment. They have their own specialist needs and require lots of care and attention”.
Guinea pigs like Cherry, Carmen and Rhonda are looking for their forever homes after they were abandoned in a house.
The six month old smooth coated guinea pigs came from a home of nine in Manchester where they had all been left to fend for themselves.
Staff at the RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch where they are being looked after believe the three girls may have been the result of an unplanned litter which meant their owner became overwhelmed with guinea pigs.
It means that they have not had much handling and can be quite nervous and will need some time to get used to people. However, they are in good health and still very young so will make progress in a new home.
If you can offer them a loving home call the branch on 0161 8820 680.
Dr Tyson added: “Guinea pigs need access to a secure shelter and an exercise area for them to run around and play
“Guinea pigs are highly social animals and in the wild live in close family groups of up to ten individuals. As pets they prefer to be with at least one other piggy and can develop abnormal behaviours if they are left without company.
“They communicate using around eleven different noises and chatter their teeth as a warning signal which could mean they are feeling angry, unhappy or frustrated and may need more space.”
Tammy, Tiggy, Tara and Tia were rescued and removed from their previous owner by an inspector due to welfare concerns.
They are a friendly group but have not had much handling which means they can be a little skittish and very vocal until they have time to relax. RSPCA Longview Animal Centre in Blackpool is looking to rehome them as a group or in pairs.
The female group are all about three to six months old. They could be rehomed together, or with an existing neutered male guinea pig.
They came in with another piggy Tia who has now been rehomed alongside a male guinea pig called Tomato but the others are still looking for homes.
To give Tammy, Tiggy, and Tara a home contact the Longview Animal Centre on 01253 703 000 or email email@example.com.
To rehome any of our small animals visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet
For more information on how to look after guinea pigs visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/guineapigs