Monday, November 2, 2009

The Life of King Boofhead.

I’ve decided to update my blog at the beginning of each month - hopefully I’ll find the time to stick to it.

King Boofhead has had a traumatic experience and he’d like to share it with all his fans. He's been blind for years, but has slight vision in one eye.

A few months ago, Boofhead started making strange noises that sounded like a loud heartbeat. It seemed to come from his diaphragm and out through his throat. He was also wheezing, but that came from his chest. The two sounds together, made an unusual noise and went on for hours without a break. Here is a link if you would like to hear it:

He’d never made a sound like that before and we’d never heard our other guinea pigs make noises like that. It was constant and he sounded distressed. He also lost his appetite, causing weight loss.

I took Boofhead to the veterinary surgery and the vet treated him for a respiratory problem and gave him a course of Baytril antibiotics. (By the way, never let a vet give you’re guinea pig penicillin.)

After a long course of the antibiotics, Boofhead stopped wheezing and his appetite improved, but the loud gumping sound persisted. Then last weak, whilst watching TV, we noticed some little black things moving around the carpet. When I turned on the light, we saw two, newborn baby mice. They were eating biscuit crumbs from under the table. (Okay, so I only vacuum once a week. I have to write, you know.)Well, if there are babies, there has to be adults, right? So, I set a safe trap and caught six baby mice, but no adults. I gave the babies a feed, then I released them in the bush down by the riverbank. (I couldn’t kill the little critters, could I?)

The adult mice managed to get in the safe trap, eat the food and get out again. We couldn’t seem to trap them and we realised that they must have been going into Boofhead’s cage at night and eating his food. (The cage sits in the corner of our lounge room.) We pulled the cage away from the wall, and there it was. A nest - made out of grass, hay, and small pieces of food. The mice had probably been living behind Boofhead’s cage for months. The only thing that separated them was the steel bars and mice could easily walk through them. Boofhead must have been trying to tell us, but we didn’t understand him. I’ll never underestimate a guinea pig again.

We searched for the hole where the mice had entered the house. We found a tear in one of the screen doors, but we still hadn’t caught any adult mice. My husband decided to set a death trap. I wasn’t very happy about that, but we couldn’t have mice running around the house and traumatising our King Boofhead, giving him lice and diseases.

I woke one night to find a mouse, walking along the top of our brick wall just beneath the ceiling. When he saw me, he dropped to the floor like an alien and disappeared under the bed. Yipes! No wonder Boofhead kept gumping, he was trying to ward them off. We ended up catching four adults, some in the safe trap, which we released, and two in the death trap. Poor little things. I hated that because they’re such smart and intelligent little beings and have such pretty faces. They look like miniature guinea pigs to me.

However, two of the adults were too smart for their own good, and I wish they had gone for the food in the safe trap, and stayed there. They could have gone to the riverbank with the rest of their family. I feel guilty now. Yes I do. :(
Now the mice have gone, Boofhead has stopped gumping and he's eating like a horse. He’s gained weight and is back to his usual self, pop-corning and wheaking for tomato.

Here's the last villain, a baby mouse I caught and released at the riverbank. Isn't he cute?

He's so adorable. Look at his tiny paws and feet.

Of course, there’s another story here. Boofhead’s already a main character in one of my Molly Gumnut Adventure books, so he’ll be back for another episode. It won’t be exactly like this post because Molly has a mind of her own. I don’t know what she’ll do when the mice invade her home, but I can’t wait to find out. What about you?

Please, leave a comment and let me know.


  1. Hey girl! I love the mouse story! Good old Boofhead... he's so smart!!!! I'm glad the majority of the mice survived to be released at the riverbank. SO sorry for the two that ended up in the deathtrap. I really hate when mice get in my house. But our small dog is an excellent mouser, so takes care of most of them for us.

    Your pic is AWESOME! I can see Molly so easily in you.... I think it's the eyes!!!!

    Talk to you soon, my friend.
    Marti :)

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog, Marti. Yes, Boofhead is smart! He has us wrapped around his little paws.

  3. Boofhead is so adorable. I love the colors! I just wanted to pick him up and hug him!!!!! I'm going to! (((((((hugs))))))))) I can't wait to read a story about him and Molly. I'm very excited. Molly is the cutest little girl who has captured my heart.


  4. Thanks so much Chrissy. Boofhead enjoyed his hug from you. He told me so. Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you come again.

    I captured another mouse in the safe-trap this morning. I realised that they loved shortbread biscuit crumbs, so that's what I've been putting in the trap. He's the eleventh mouse we've caught now. Yipes! Yes, eleventh! I will release him down at the riverbank.

    No need for the death trap now. The mother mouse would never go in the safe-trap because she'd seen other mice get caught in there. She took the death trap instead, bless her tiny heart. I hope she's happy eating shortbread biscuits, up in animal heaven.

  5. I love mice too, as long as they're not in my house. Rats, on the other hand, give me the heebie-jeebies.
    That's one clever guinea pig you have there!

  6. Hello Kate. Thanks so much for visiting. I love rodents, but I don’t like having mice in my house either. I don’t know how they got in, but we’ve now fixed a tear in one of our screen doors. There’s still one sneaky little critter hiding somewhere in the house because Boofhead gumps from time to time, so we know it’s about.

    We’ve set a safe trap to try and catch it, but it won’t go in. So far, we’ve caught fifteen of the little critters. I think there must have been two batches of babies. Yipes! Poor Boofhead.

    I’ve learned to love rats. We live in the country and we’ve had bush rats raid our veggie patch from time to time. I captured a family of four a few years ago and released them down by the river. They look nothing like a sewer rats though, they are quite pretty little creatures, and so smart and clean.

    We also have a bandicoots in our garden and one little critter blackmails us. If we don’t leave a bowl of sunflower seeds and cracked corn out every night, he (or she) digs up the veggie patch.

    I guess you know all about that, Kate. I recently discovered that you’re an illustrator for children’s books, and you were the artist for a series of bandicoot books. Wow! I’m impressed. I love bandicoots and write about them too.

    It must be a great feeling to be an artist and an author, Kate.

  7. Awwww, he is a cutie. Much cuter than the ones I googled.

  8. Thanks for visiting my blog Alice. He is a cutie. He was only a baby and loved to be cuddled, bless his little heart. I hope he's enjoying himself back in the wild.

  9. Just wanted to post that i love those pics of your guneia pig. That crown is hillarious! We have one as well.

  10. Hey, Angela, hi there! Yes Boofhead is a sweetie. He won a contest for cutest picture on a guinea pig blog once so I made him a crown. Teehee.

    He's six now and has hardly and sight left. He can see a tiny bit in one eye, but is still the King. He rules our family, demanding food and cuddles. He loves to roam around the garden with the kangaroos, but he has to be supervised. As I said, he is the king. I'll be posting Christmas photos of him and Beanie soon.

    How's your little one doing? I hope he's well.