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Guinea pigs make wonderful pets for children, because they have the hardiness of a rabbit or cat combined with the appealing curiosity of a hamster or mouse. They are odorless, non-aggressive and very sociable- all good qualities when subjected to the scrutiny of young hands. Adults who cannot have a dog or a cat in their homes often find that a guinea pig offers many of the same qualities, with the added advantage of being a caged animal that can be left alone for extended periods of time if necessary. They are indeed very loving animals, and love to entertain their owners with their antics.

But what do you name that little bundle of fur that comes home from the pet store or breeder? Naming a pet is a very good step for a child, and parents should encourage a brainstorming session or two to find the perfect name(s). Guinea pigs do learn the sound of their names when they get accustomed to their new environment, so be sure to
pick a good one.

1. Names based on appearance. Take a good look at your pet. Do you notice anything unusual about his appearance, or one standout feature that everyone talks about? You could call him or her Cinnamon, Blackie, Snow, Spot, Checkers, Kabuki, Bandit, Freckles, Patches, etc... Anything that stands out about their fur or general appearance can make a good and memorable name.

2. Names based on activities. Watch your pet as he or she moves around and interacts with you. You could come up with names like Scooter, Jumping Jack Flash, Skittles, Slider, Scramble, Beggar, Dancer, Tumbles, Hoppy, Popcorn, etc... Young guinea pigs are especially prone to surprising hops and skips, commonly called 'popcorning'. They will grow out of it eventually, but not before getting a name from the experience.

3. Famous Pig names. Since you have a genuine 'pig' on your hands, you might go with a famous pig name. Porky, Arnold Ziffle, Petunia, Hogglesworth, Wilbur, Piggly Wiggly, etc. Kids love to equate animal names with other animals they learn about in school or on television.

4. Historical names. If you have a pair of guinea pigs, you may want to choose names of famous lovers throughout history: Romeo and Juliet, Bonnie and Clyde, Mickey and Minny, Porky and Petunia, Adam and Eve, Samson and Delilah, Sabrina and Harvey, etc... Children may have their own favorite couples from their generation, so this may be a chance for them to make a decision on their own.

5. Traditional cat names. Guinea pigs have a few traits in common with cats, so if you are absolutely stuck consider some traditional cat names like Snowball, Belle, Miss Piggy (instead of Kitty), Precious, Trixie, Soot, Boss, etc... If you lost a family pet, you might consider lending its name or legacy to the new pet as a good transition- use a variant like Smokey, Jr. or Scrabble II to honor the memory of a lost pet.