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Uploaded:2019-05-16
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Hi everyone.  I want to give a quick thanks to CuriosityStream for supporting this episode.  You can go to curiositystream.com/animalwonders to learn more.

Welcome to Animal Wonders, where we take in displaced wild and exotic animals, give them a lifelong home, and allow them to become ambassadors for their species through public presentations.  

I have a very special animal to introduce you to today.  Here she is, all little and ready to share herself with the world.

(Intro)

This is a baby Patagonian cavy or it can be pronounced cay-vy or they can also be called a mara.  It's been a couple years since we had a baby and we're all totally smitten with this little girl.  She doesn't have a name yet, but we've been trying a few on and seeing how they fit her.  If you have a name suggestion, let me know in the comments.

Now, she's only about five weeks old so she's still looking to nurse.  They actually start munching on grass at a very young age, so we include grass, hay, and fresh greens in her daily diet.  I also put Critcial Care, which is ground-up timothy hay, into her syringe, so she gets plenty of fiber for her sensitive digestive system and she's telling me she's hungry right now, so I'm gonna go ahead and give her some food.  Ready?  Want some of this?  There you go.  Good girl.  

We don't often get baby animals at Animal Wonders unless they're an orphan or for some reason, they can't stay with their mother, but this little girl's story is a bit different than our other animals.  She came from a facility that has a small herd of cavies and they allow them to naturally breed.  They then send the babies to zoos and other animal facilities.  The reason we decided to bring her to Animal Wonders is because she's going to increase the welfare of one our older residents: Chili Pepper the eight year old Patagonian cavy, and we've finished it!  Was that delicious?  You want more?  Here, how about we have some grass and hay, some greens, there you go.  You hungry, girl?  

Alright, I'm gonna keep talking about Chili Pepper.  He came to us in 2011 from a private zoo that is not longer in business, and we paired him wth a guinea pig as a companion.  The two species are very similar with the same diet requirements and even a similar language.  Over the years as we've rescued more guinea pigs, Chili Pepper has gotten left out of the socializing and as a social animal, he needed a companion, so we put our feelers out for a cavy that needed to be re-homed and came up empty-handed.  Do you want to run around?  Is that what you're telling me?  Yeah?  Should we run around?  Okay, let's do it.   There you go.  Oh, shake it off.

It became obvious that Chili Pepper needed company and it's our responsibility to provide him with a happy and healthy life, so we made the decision to get him a friend that will eventually be his equal in size.  Right now, we're just starting to introduce the two and letting them get to know each other.  Chili Pepper is a male and we're not looking to breed Patagonian cavies, so he was neutered a couple months ago in preparation for the baby's arrival.  Yay, she wanted to join me again.  Hi, sweetheart.

In the wild, Patagonian cavies are monogamous, which means they pair up for life.  We're excited to see our two cavies become partners in crime doing cavy things and thriving in each others' company.  This little girl loves to be part of whatever's going on.  She naturally follows her family so she'll easily walk with me when I'm moving in a deliberate way, but once I stop and stay in one place for a while, she'll happily wander off to explore and get into mischief.  

She wants to dig and chew on everything, which means when she's not in a rodent-proof enclosure, I have to keep my eye on her at all times.  If she hears a loud or unexpected noise, she'll bolt in a very dramatic leap using her powerful back legs to propel her forward.  When she's about six months old, she'll be able to jump up to six feet in the air and run up to 40 miles an hour.  

So I should point out that while she looks super cute and small now and you can see we do have her wandering around indoors, I would not recommend a Patagonian cavy as a pet.  As soon as she gets a little bigger, she won't be safe in a house anymore . There are just too many obstacles and if she does spook, she could easily hurt herself.  Patagonian cavies have very fragile legs and the most common injury is a broken leg.  She will only stay little for a short time and then she will move in with Chili Pepper and enjoy digging in the romping room and playing with the herd of guinea pigs.

While she's still young, she's learning how to wear a harness and since she eagerly follows me around, it's a nice time to train her to walk on a leash so she can safely go exploring outside when she gets older.  Hey babes, before you take your nap, would you like to go on a little walk outside?  What do you think?  Yeah?  

(montage of cute)

Now I love learning about and watching animals exhibit their natural behaviors and seeing how all the parts and pieces of nature work so seamlessly together in an ecosystem is fascinating.  I recently watched a video called "Costa Rica: Wildlife Under the Rainbow."  From the geographical features to the plants and the animals, this wonderland of wilderness is perfectly captured in this video and you can watch it on Curiosity Stream, who is the sponsor of today's video.  They're a subscription streaming service that offers over 2,400 documentaries and non-fiction titles from some of the world' best film-makers, including exclusive originals.  Get unlimited access starting at just $2.99 a month, and for our audience, the first 30 days are completely free if you sign up at curiositystream.com/animalwonders and use the promo code 'animalwonders' during the sign-up process.  

Thank you from all of us at Animal Wonders.  Let me know if you have a name you'd like to submit for this little girl and I'll see you next week with more animal adventures.

(Endscreen/Credits)