Pets of Tri-I

Pooja Viswanathan

For this issue, I interview Astérix, the guinea pig who lives with Amélie Cornil (Laboratory Administrator, Strickland lab, The Rockefeller University) and her husband, John. I hope I meet Astérix.

Photos courtesy of Amelie Cornil.

Pooja Viswanathan: How old are you? In human years?

Astérix: I am 1 year old, and that’s 18 human years, so I’m still a teenager.


PV: Is there a story behind your name?

A: Yes! My name is Astérix just like the French comics.


PV: How did you first meet your humans?

A: I was a baby when my human mom held me the first time! I was scared, I thought “This is it! They’re going to eat me now!”, but then they took me to a huge house and gave me lots of amazing food.


PV: What is your first memory?

A: The first time my humans gave me a bowl of colorful things that didn’t look edible, I went to hide for hours. Then I tasted them and now I can’t get enough of vegetables!


PV: Where do you live?

A: In a 2-story luxury loft inside my humans’ small apartment in Queens.


PV: If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you live?

A: In Omaha Nebraska, in the giant fields full of the different hay that I could eat daily!


PV: What are your favorite smells?

A: Green leaf lettuce, apple and banana.


PV: What are your favorite foods?

A: Green leaf lettuce, apple and banana!


PV: What is your favorite weekend activity in NYC?

A: Eat, nap, poop, eat, nap, poop. On Sundays I also get to run in the playpen, and eat and poop in there!


PV: Besides your human roomie, who is your favorite human in the Tri-I community?

A: Aunt Xinzhu from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


PV: Do you have a funny story to share with us?

A: When I was younger, my human mom tried to make me taste banana multiple times and I would just run away. Since a week ago I am crazy for it and every time they eat a banana I demand a piece!


PV: Is there some way we can see more pictures of you on the interwebs?

A: No, I am afraid of the owls and eagles on social media that might want to have me for dinner.


PV: If you could have any human ability, what would it be?

A: Go to the fridge by myself to get vegetables in the middle of the night!