Colin the guinea pig has taken to entering his cage via the permanent hole in the front, climbing up to the next storey, and nibbling desperately at the mesh like he’s been imprisoned for years. As you do.
Of course, we know what he’s really up to. There are other guinea pigs living in the upper storeys, and contrary to the rules of their genetic makeup, our guinea pigs climb. They can climb up the interior walls of the six-foot tower block I built them, using the chickenwire as a ladder and bracing themselves against the floors as they pass them.
It’s not food or mating or anything like that that fills them with this overwhelming urge to climb. They do it purely so that they can swear at each other and then have a big fight. On several occasions, Bunty and I have been woken up in the middle of the night by a noise akin to a flock of flamingoes being brutally murdered, and we have learned that this is the sign that a guinea pig has gone climbing. We grab the staple-gun and, while one of us separates the guinea pigs back onto the floors they have actually chosen to live on, the other makes a frenzied attack on the tower block, stapling down every piece of chickenwire that looks remotely baggy.
There have been no climbing incidents for some weeks and all has been peaceful in Guinea Pig Land. But Colin is on the hunt for baggy bits…