They’re small, they’re relatively quiet, they look like a cross between a rabbit and a hamster and when they’re alone they’re incredibly lonely.
So lonely that the Swiss have decided to forbid people from owning just one guinea pig. The small animal is highly social and needs to interact with its own kind often. They’re herd animals and require to be around other guinea pigs to feel at home.
The new law was introduced with a suite of new animal rights laws in 2008 including singular cats being let outside daily or if failing that, owning more than one cat, not owning a dog without taking several training courses, providing a full day and night cycle if you own fish and there are similar laws for parrots who need to interact with their kind regularly.
Unfortunately, guinea pigs have a short lifespan, so even if you have two guinea pigs and one dies un-expectantly, you will have to replace the deceased guinea pig with another. In answer to this, the Swiss have created a one animal matchmaking service for guinea pigs.The online site matches guinea pigs according to age to provide better companionship.
While Australia has laws on animal welfare, the Swiss appear to be ahead of the kerb. We are yet to make any specific rules regarding animal pairing or social requirements for particular animals.
So if you have a guinea pig, you’d better be prepared to buy another.
Or you’ll have one really lonely guinea pig.