Thursday, May 14, 2009

Weasels 4: Guinea pigs 0

Something really bad happened - and I'm not talking about the collapse of faith in our British parliamentary system.

After Holly and Daisy disappeared, I did that thing that mothers do and attempted to buy my way out of hysteria. We got new guinea pigs. They weren't pretty balls of fur like Holly and Daisy. In fact, truth to tell, Fernando and Jake were ugly. They were the only guinea pigs left in the garden centre - for a reason. One was grey and white and one was tan and white. One had really red eyes and one had quite red eyes. The words "scraggy rat" jumped to mind when you saw them, but hey, they were guinea pigs and hey, my three-year-old daughter wasn't crying any more. We bought them on Tuesday and put them in Holly and Daisy's hutch. We started to love them. "Looks aren't everything," I told the children. Yesterday morning, I dropped the kids at school and when I got home went out to feed them. At first I thought they were asleep, lying on their sides. With their little red eyes open. No such luck.

This is the thing that Liz Hurley failed to mention in her recent steamy ravings about life in the country - it can be bloody. A weasel killed the new guinea pigs. Which can only mean that a weasel killed Holly and Daisy, somehow managing to drag their little bodies through the bars of the hutch. Fernando and Jake were bigger so their neck-nipped bodies were left, a testament to nature. I'm saying weasel - conceivably it could have been a stoat but we saw it a few minutes later as it tried to come back to get the bodies again - a streak of brownish fur with a long tail. I'd have shot it if I'd had a gun. We're like that in the country.

41 comments:

billatbingley said...

Oh Dear Oh Dear! What can I say to you? So sorry for the fate of your guinea pigs, but it may cheer you up to have a look at

http-news.bbc.co.uk-1-hi-england-8048517.stm

You may also make a purchase from them!

billatbingley said...

If the link doesn't work, go to BBC News _ England - Show time for Groomed Guinea Pigs. Local Throckley show breeders

family affairs said...

Oh no. How horrid. Give up on Guinea pigs and go straight to ponies. Your children will love you forever Lx

Nicola said...

Oh how horrible. I remember when my friend's beloved chickens kept getting eaten by foxes - the mutilation usually discovered by the kids when they went to feed them/collect eggs in the morning until my friend wised up and made sure she was the first one to the coop every day just...in...case. Maybe you need to go all Gordon Ramsey and get real pigs instead? I am sure the weasels would have a tough time nipping their necks.

Granny on the Web said...

OH dear! your poor kiddies, it is a harsh life-lesson they are learning. I hope they are not too upset over this second tragic event, in such a short time.
I had the same experience when a fox got into my rabbit pen and took the lot, I was only about 10, but never forgotten it.
Hugs to you all.
Love Granny

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Guinea pigs, gerbils, hampsters...trust me, they are all more hassle than dogs or cats, at least with them you have an outside chance they'll survive the length of a school day. Sorry to hear the bad news.

Gennasus said...

Oh no. What a hard lesson for your children.

Bad news, those weasels. I hope our hens never come face to face with one.

sunshine said...

Definitely time for a dog whose sole joy in life is killing weasels!

Katy said...

That is really horrible. I live in the city and when my friend's cat got out a few years ago she put up flyers. A day latter she got three calls from people telling her they saw a cat that fit her discription laying dead on the side of the road, hit by a car. One (helpful) person offered to bring her the body. She declined.

Its never easy knowing your pet was killed in a violent way. Much nicer to imagine they just wondered off somewhere...

allgrownup said...

Christ that's harsh! If you're not ready for "giving up" yet, how about a reinforced hutch of some kind? A wooden hinge (like window shutters) that you can close over the chicken wire at night? On second thoughts, get the gun!

Sara said...

So sorry - how horrid.
We live in the country too - with very visible foxes walking through the garden - hence guinea pigs live indoors and have a reinforced run to be taken out to on nice days. The run has a double layer of chicken wire and lots of bricks so the fox can't move it. Our guinea pigs are 3 years old now - so it has worked so far. On the other hand - a dog or cat is probably easier!
Hope you and the kids recover from the shock.

scaryazeri said...

If you think guinea pigs is trouble, try having a rottweiler. Not only he is the most expensive item I own ( imported from ex-soviet country) he also farts so badly, you think you are in a gas chamber at nights. Having animals can be fun, eh.
Your writing is brilliant, as always.
thank you for your little stories.

Swearing Mother said...

Give up on the rodents and get a pony. Even the most determined weasel will have trouble dragging that off in the night.

Iota said...

Poor guinea pigs.

As a child, I lost a succession of rabbits to the next door neighbour's labrador. We tried various methods of reinforcing the hutch and run, but a determined labrador will chew through just about anything. I don't know about stoats/weasels, but I expect they're pretty devious and can get round most wire and wood. How about a nice indoor hamster or gerbil?

Rebel Mother said...

oh, thats quite awful! Nature is cruel.

Hope the kids are alright about it.

Mimi said...

Oh God, I feel sick reading this. Our rabbit hutch has chicken wire over and under and 8 years later, so far so good, touching wood. Horrible for you and the children, hope oyu're all bearing up. mimi

Mimi said...

Ps Just read that a weasel has to eat one third of its body weight every day, definitely time to switch to a pony! mimi

sophie said...

I think a dog may be an easier next step than a pony. If you choose a terrier it will go after the weasel. It could also you dig you a larger vegetable patch

mutleythedog said...

I am sorry for not popping round recently - but thanks for the tasty exotico rats, they was nice!

Claire said...

No ponies! you might as well burn £50 notes - very expensive and incredibly time consuming... sad to hear about the guinea pigs.

Sarah said...

This must be awful- any potential for cute pet moments just looks like an all you can eat buffet for a wild animal; I'm with the opinion about getting a cat, at least, though I don't know if any of your kids are allergic?
A good cat will give a weasel a run for its money.
xx

billatbingley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
billatbingley said...

Having just read lota's comment about her loosing rabbits to next doors Labrador, I can only state that our chocolate lab (Ruby - 20 months old) will go up and lick our rabbit on her face. She seems to think the rabbit is her puppy! The rabbits cage is not reinforced and Ruby has the run of the garden - so far I have not seen any attempts by Ruby to get into the rabbits cage. Ruby is also used to cats and gets on with them well. Between them our three daughters have five cats, which Ruby has mixed with since she was a puppy. GO FOR IT - GET A LABRADOR

Maddie Grigg said...

You need a weasel-proof run. We had a darling rabbit once ripped to shreds, and the hutch too, by a German pointer cross Nazi.
The verification word is 'ratis'!

June said...

We just lived through the loss of a pet chicken. A pet chicken who went sledding. And had a favorite blanket. The children's grief has been boundless. My heart goes out to your little ones with their quadruple loss. It's enough to drive a mother to guns and a dash of something bracing in the morning cup.

silverpebble said...

Poor tots. Time to get the gin traps out. I might be able to find you a craft blog with a tutorial on how to make them. Beats knitting socks any day.

silverpebble said...

http://www.fourteenacre.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk

It's a start.

Eliza said...

Poor guinea pigs.

AnnB said...

why not cut out the 'middle men' and just get a pair of weasels for your next pet?

rosiero said...

Maybe you need an indoor cage!

what happened ?how did i get HERE? said...

Noooo - avoid an indoor cage at ALL COSTS! I have 2 guinea pigs in a cage in our dining room (!) and they stink even after just one day on clean straw. I seem to spend most of my spare time cleaning the bloody things out! They have been all over the house - my kids now refuse to keep them in their bedrooms because of the stink....why of why did I give in to getting the pigs? I know it's horrible but I dream of them being carried off (the pigs, not the kids), painlessly, obviously, by a kindly urban fox who will raise them as her own.....

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com said...

oh dear, i am sorry. i think every parent has a pet nightmare. guinea pigs seem to feature regularly in them. but i had to laugh at the off the cuff: we do that in the country ... best of luck for Round 3. If you're brave enough.

plot on a hill said...

Dear wife, under no circumstances have an indoor hutch. Apart from the smell my experience should put you off. Number one escaped into the cellar to re-emerge as very large, very slow Blue Bottles.......
Number two found his perfect home snuggled in the airing cupboard, his bedding of choice, a beautiful Durham Quilt which he selectively nibbled on a fold to produce a hole of mammoth proportion..........
You have been warned.
I find that Gold Fish make wonderful pets.

Michelloui said...

A friend of mine had a beautiful rabbit that was similarly mauled and partially eaten by rats! Ewww. But then where I grew up it was coyotes getting the goats. Mother Nature. You see you've got a David Attenborough show right in your own back garden! Small consolation, I know.

mutleythedog said...

Get a bloody dog! Or a rampant Rabbit...

Primrose said...

Yes, I remember when I was a child growing up in the country looking out of the kitchen window to see our old dog strutting around proudly with two white ears sticking out of his mouth. All that was left of my baby bunnies. It really is an awful thing to witness. And not to mention the time I found all my pet mice frozen solid. I was actually believing Liz Hurley that everybody was having wild sex in the country. Are you going to tell me that's not true?

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I have a friend who took his shotgun to the mole that was ravaging his garden. Sometimes wild animals need to know who's boss...get thee a shotgun wifey!
Pigx

snailbeachshepherdess said...

just imagining you trolling around with a shotgun and the explanations that will have to emanate...
our JRT kept eating the neighbours guinea pigs - they gave up and bought a JRT - wonderful fights - loadsa blood and screaming kids - beats guinea pigs any day!

Mopsa said...

Yup, nature can be vile. A rat had 18 of my baby ducklings the other night. Bastard. Had him a couple of days later though.

JenR said...

Reading Liz Hurley's musings on the country made me want to vomit.."sexy" indeed. From where I sit here in a huge freezing bluestone house in western Victoria (Australia) I can guess that Ms Hurley probably has central heating and a barrage of staff to tend her every need (on or off the sheepskin..). No heating here, only log fires for which the wood needs to be cut and carted (children are useful for the purpose of slavery). Husband and wife make dash across icy room to bed with electric blanket - a strip and dive operation - nothing sexy involved!
If it's any consolation the sheepdog ate our guinea pigs. In South America (Peru or some such) they are apparently considered a delicacy. For humans.

jat230 said...

glad your back-missed you
old man in the south