RSPCA seeks homes for adorable guinea pigs

RSPCA seeks homes for adorable guinea pigs

An RSPCA animal centre is appealing for help to rehome nearly 100 cute guinea pigs.

Staff and volunteers at the charity's Leybourne Animal Centre have been caring for the small pets for the last three months. Earlier plans to find new homes for them had to be put on hold when the guinea pigs sadly contracted a contagious ringworm infection - now they're ready to find their loving new owners.

The pets, who are all aged from three to six months, needed to be quarantined and nursed by staff wearing PPE. It proved to be a major operation as half of the initial intake of 63 guinea pigs who arrived at the Kent centre in November were pregnant females, who have since given birth to litters and numbers have risen to 93.

Happily, all of the animals, who were removed from a farm in the East Midlands, have been given a clean bill of health. Leybourne has already hosted visits from potential adopters but is appealing for more small animal lovers to get in touch. 

Leybourne manager Darren Parrish says it would be preferred if people could take on mixed male and female pairs.

"Our staff have worked extremely hard as not only have the numbers of guinea pigs soared over the last eight weeks but when we took them into the centre they tested positive for ringworm,” explained Darren. 

"We'd planned to place them with foster carers very quickly as part of the rehoming process. But they have needed medical treatment, which has meant quarantining the guinea pigs and our staff have worn PPE when handling them. They were medicated daily and we followed a strict cleaning regime which has meant throwing everything away and stripping out all their bedding.

"But we had had a huge response from the local community in Kent, who have helped us make life comfortable for the guinea pigs. There were generous donations of hay and newspapers for bedding as well as feed and veg. It's amazing what we can achieve together for animal welfare.

"Now we've been given the all-clear to rehome them and we've got a lot to find homes for. Rehoming is such an important part of our work to create a better world for every animal. The RSPCA turns 200 years old this year - and finding all these guinea pigs loving new homes would be an amazing way to celebrate.”

The centre is looking for owners who can invest time and resources into looking after their guinea pigs. The small animals have complex needs and they are not easy or cheap to care for well. 

Potential owners need to be ready to offer suitable sized accommodation, with a minimum size of 5 x 2ft floor space and they must demonstrate a long-term commitment. The pets' cages should also contain a range of enrichment toys and tunnels so they can exhibit their natural inquisitive behaviour.

They'll also need a high fibre diet and as the guinea pigs have been raised indoors it is preferred they go to indoor homes or heated sheds at this time of the year.

Guinea pigs are very social animals and need to live in pairs/groups. Darren says there have been requests to take on the female guinea pigs, but the centre is primarily looking at applications from people who want mixed male and female pairs.

Darren added: "Although some people might think guinea pigs are an easy pet to care for, that is far from the reality, and people do need to do a bit of research so they can look after their new pets properly.

"We recommend specific accommodation sizes as often it's the case people don't think guinea pigs need much living space, which they do, and they also need a good sized run to exercise. They also need a constant supply of vegetables and greens as their bodies are different to rabbits, for example, who can take on board vitamin C."

Anyone interested in taking on mixed pairs of guinea pigs from Leybourne can email photos of their accommodation to and fill in a perfect match form.

Prospective owners can also find expert guidance on looking after guinea pigs in this downloadable digital pack and on the RSPCA's website.

This year the RSPCA celebrates its 200th birthday. To mark this special anniversary the animal welfare charity wants to inspire one million people to join their movement to improve animals' lives.

Find out more about rehoming