Speedy Gonepigez! (18th July 2006)

Yesterday evening was pretty dramatic. One of our young guinea pigs escaped in our back garden and it took two hours to catch it again. It wriggled out of my hand when I was moving it to a spare cage to clean it out then scampered off. Ungrateful or what!

It ran behind the cages and wriggled underneath the fence when I approached it. Luckily it didn’t go far while I ran around to my neightbour to ask his permission to look in his back garden. It was completely obscured in some plants and it took me about quarter of an hour to find it. It scampered up towards the house and darted away every time I got close enough to catch it.

I felt really worried because there are a lot of cats around here and if I couldn’t catch it, they would! It was already dusk so I asked my neighbour if he could help herd it my way. However, it scrambled back under the fence and it was now quite dark. I ran back to my house and returned with a torch, which I gave to our neighbour while I approached the guinea pig again.

The guinea pig had hidden underneath the bottom cage and I tried to herd it out using a plastic spade. Eventually I decided to move the bottom cage but by the time I’d moved it the guinea pig had gone. I frantically looked around while my neighbour checked his side of the fence. Eventually I heard a shuffling behind a paving slab lent against the house. This was my chance to capture it!

There were some metal dividers nearby so I carefully slid these up to cover the gap at either end of the slab as best I could. I asked my neigbour to come around to this side to help block one end. I slowly moved the top of the slab away from the wall and saw the guinea pig in the light of the torch. I gently edged the bottom of the slab nearer the wall so the guinea pig couldn’t turn around and tried to reach it. Somehow it wriggled out of one end but my foot was in the way. I quickly reached down as it tried to scamper past and managed to grab it with one hand. The poor thing was still wriggling like crazy so I put my other hand around it and lifted it up off the ground. It stopped wriggling once lifted up.

I thanked my neighbour for all his help and petted the guinea pig to calm it down, talking to it gently. It seemed to settle down and relaxed in my hand. The cage I was moving it to had no divider across the front and I didn’t want to risk it escaping again so I put it in a tall plastic bucket with some grass. I then cleaned out its cage and put in fresh bedding. After this I tipped the bucket directly into the cage so it had no chance of escape. It started frolicking around in the fresh straw as if nothing had happened, bless it!

I don’t think this one has a name, but I’ll always remember it as “Speedy Gonpigez”. I’m very relieved that I caught it before any cats did.