Guinea pigs have to be among the cutest of all rodents to keep as family pets. They give owners lots of pleasure with their silly antics and amusing behaviour. Creating a gorgeous environment for them to live in is really important so they can keep themselves mentally and physically busy. This is especially true when you're not there to play with them yourself.
There are two things that guinea pigs adore doing – the first being their love and need to chew on things and the second is to keep busy. Below are a few ideas you might like to try to keep your pet cavy entertained when you're out at work:
- One really great idea is to hang all sorts of treats like apples, carrots lettuce and oranges around their cages and you can do this by cutting them into smallish pieces and then hanging the food from the top of the cage using string. Not only will this keep your guinea pig busy, but they'll get plenty of exercise too!
- The middle of a paper towel roll makes a perfect toy for guinea pigs. All you have to do is cut the cardboard middle in half so it's open and then place this in the cage with a little bit of food hidden in the tube. The reason you need to cut the tube is so your pet doesn't get stuck in it!
- Guinea pigs love to hide in things so another idea is to take a couple of paper bags and put them in the cage. Cut a hold in the back and sides of the bags so your pet can peak through them – never use plastic bags though because your guinea pig will suffocate in them!!
- Always place your guinea pig's cage in a room that lots of people use and spend time in. Like this your pet will always see people which is important because in the wild cavies are very social creatures and get lonely when left on their own
- Make a shelf in your guinea pig's cage so they can climb on it and watch the world go by - but make sure your pet can't use the shelf as a means to get out of their cage. Some cavies have been known to use a shelf as a way to kick their dropping out of their cages too!
Guinea pigs love to interact with their owners and are seriously funny little creatures to watch when they start playing around. They can move pretty quickly when they want to, and are excellent at playing hide and seek when they do escape from the cages.
Here are a few ideas to entertain your cavy when you're at home
- If you can make a room secure, think about taking your guinea pig out of its cage to roam around freely and if you can, make a this part of a regular exercise routine for them. You'll enjoy watching them have the freedom to roam around and it's a great way for guinea pigs to do more exercise and explore their surroundings too – place a few rolls on the ground and fill them with bits of their favourite food and watch them search for it!
- When you're at home in the summer and when the weather is nice and warm, think about letting your pet guinea run around in an outdoor enclosure, but make sure it is very secure and keep a watchful eye on them. Hide some food in paper bags and make sure your pet has plenty of fresh clean water. If the weather is too hot – which is anything above 80ºF (26C), it's not such a good idea to take your cavy outside, because they may well overheat! If you think your pets are too hot, then bring them back inside straight away and keep them where it's cooler.
- It's not a good idea to let guinea pigs run freely around a garden – they are great escape artists and have too many predators which includes cats, dogs, birds of prey and foxes!
- If the weather is too cold, you need to be careful if you take your piggy outside because they are prone to hypothermia!
There are lots of different types of guinea pigs, short haired, long haired even hairless guinea pigs and all of them are just as cute as the other. Cavies are cheeky, gentle, inquisitive and very friendly little creatures that make fantastic family pets.
More fascinating facts about guinea pigs
- Hairless guinea pigs are quite ticklish
- Guinea pigs love to chew on things so if you can get hold of some pieces of apple wood, place one or two bits in their cage for them to chew away on. Apple wood is safe and helps them keep their teeth in good condition
- Take a small plastic litter tray and fill it with guinea pig safe wood shavings and then hide your piggy's favourite food in amongst the shavings. Your piggy will have a great time searching an digging around in the shavings to find the treats!
- If you have one female guinea pig that lives on it's on – think about adopting another one making sure it is a female too! Guinea pigs love the company of their own kind!
There are certain things to avoid doing with your piggies. One of which is to be very careful not to let them go in exercise balls or wheels. These may be okay for hamsters to use but when it comes to larger guinea pigs, using either of these could cause a serious injury to their spines and unlike hamsters, a guinea pig's legs are too short to use these types of toys.
Naturally, the bigger the cage the more toys you can create for your guinea pigs to play with. There are some great designs around and if you look online, you may even be able to buy a cheaper large second hand cage for your pets. Watching these little creatures enjoying themselves in a nice is environment is really rewarding so it's well worth while creating the best one for your guinea pigs to live in so they can have fun and stay healthy as well as fit!
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