With the passing of this season’s first snowfall, came the passing of our guinea pig, Snowflake.
For 6 years, Snowflake had served Science World’s visitors as an animal ambassador; our only mammalian representative (not counting the human facilitators).
In March of 2007, we discovered two abandoned guinea pigs under the shrubs outside our dome. Wild guinea pigs are native to the Andes Mountains where the climate is warm. They would not survive outdoors in Vancouver’s cool and damp spring weather. Tina (our Science Store Manager) agreed to give them a home and it became apparent that one was pregnant. Soon there were three more cavies to care for. Search: Sara Stern Gallery became home for the females, Snowflake and Peanut.
Because of Snowflake, guests learned that guinea pigs were traditionally raised as a food source in their South American homeland and were also the exotic pets of royalty (Queen Elizabeth I). Guinea pigs were also the inspiration for science fiction writers when they created the tribble animal—the Klingons “mortal enemy.”
While some guinea pigs live up to 10 years, 5 years is the average. Peanut died in the spring of 2011.
When you visit Science World, drop by Search: Sara Stern Gallery and make your own celebratory snowflake in memory of our guinea pig.