Guinea pigs make for adorable pets. They are friendly animals and do not need specialized care, making them ideal as first pets for either you or your children.
In caring for them, the most important thing to look at is their accommodation. You would not let your children live in cave-like conditions now, would you? Similarly, your pets need proper accommodation to ensure that they thrive.
There are many variations to guinea pig cages, each offering its unique features. Different owners have different preferences regarding the type of enclosures to buy.
Do guinea pig cages need a top?
No, Guinea pigs are more of ground dwellers, and rarely do they jump or climb. In the wild, guinea pigs roam the mountain areas and grasslands of South America. The same instinct remains in the domesticated ones, making it unnecessary to invest in a top.
Guinea pigs will only climb out of the cage when they perceive a threat is imminent. But, given that they are in your home, there are no predators for them to worry about.
Read on to learn more about guinea pig cage tops as well as the recommended type of cage to get for your little pals.
When is a Guinea Pig Cage Top Necessary?
There are circumstances where having a cage with a top would be beneficial. It is ideal to protect your pet from unnecessary harm. For owners of multiple guinea pigs, having a cage cover is a sure way of proper pet management.
In cases where you have a male and female guinea pig, having a top will prevent the male from jumping over to the female enclosure. Unless you are in the guinea pig breeding business, covering either the male or female sections will prevent unnecessary pregnancies.
You can have the top over one enclosure only. It still gets the job done.
When rearing male guinea pigs, it is advisable to have them in separate enclosures if they share a cage. There are times when fighting can occur, and these can be brutal. You can add a partition between them and cover one of their enclosure to prevent these fights.
If you prefer rearing your guinea pig out in the patio or backyard, a top helps to keep away predators. Cats, dogs, hawks, and owls are some of the known predators. A cage top will prevent them from accessing your pet, ensuring its long life.
Guinea pigs are docile animals and are well known for their flight response. Children playing with balls and any excessive noise, are perceived as threats by your pet. According to the Humane
Society, there have been cases where guinea pigs have scaled 10-inch high cage walls due to perceived threats.
Is Covering The Top Safe For My Pet?
As earlier mentioned, covering the top is not necessary only under critical circumstances. In cases where your animal’s safety is at risk, there are recommended types of tops that you can use.
Veterinarians recommend wire mesh tops that are securely latched. These allow for sufficient airflow for your pet and also allow easy access.
Cages with tops such as the ones you will see further down in this post are ideal for the proper health of your animal. Guinea pigs get stressed very easily, and this can affect their feeding habits and overall mood.
During the night, you are leaving them alone, so it is important to have the enclosure closed completely. Cats and dogs are notorious for harassing guinea pigs during these times.
When it comes to outside enclosures, you can use a PVC coated cover for the cage. The cover offers protection from the elements such as snow and rain.
However, leave enough room for air to circulate within the cage to allow for proper ventilation. If you want to learn more about outdoor hutches, check out this post next.
Is it Necessary to Buy a Cage For My Guinea Pig?
Not really. If you have a specific room in your house, then that can be an enclosure as well. They love room to roam around and explore, so the larger the space, the better for your pet. This article we wrote will help you decide.
Furthermore, you can get creative with the number of toys that you provide to your animals.
The recommended floor space is at least one meter by one meter for each animal. You can add climbing platforms with access ramps, which will encourage them to exercise. Be mindful of where you set this space, as extreme temperature causes stress in them.
Ensure that the area receives sufficient air circulation, to remove any pungent smells and excess humidity. Frequently visit your pets as they enjoy your company.
Finally, you can limit the amount of noise that enters the room by sound proofing. Excessive noise is detrimental to their health due to increased fear and stress levels.
Now, if you don’t have the ability or don’t want to use up a whole room for your piggies then here are a few cages that we recommend:
Guinea Pig Cage Recommendations
The recommended cage for guinea pigs is two feet wide, three feet long, and ten inches tall. These are the bare minimum dimensions as per Associate Professor Javier Nevarez from The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine.
However, other factors that will influence the type of cage that you will buy are as below:
- The number of guinea pigs that you want to keep.
- The gender of the guinea pigs.
- The temperature of the area where the cage will be positioned.
- Amount of noise within the surrounding area.
- Ease of cleaning of the flooring material.
Midwest Guinea Habitat Guinea Pig Cage
With a total area of eight square feet, the cage provides ample space for your guinea pig to roam and play. It features a detachable PVC lined bottom, allowing for an easy clean of the habitat.
A divider panel is included with your purchase, allowing you to separate specific areas for your pet. The walls are all meshed and rise 14 inches, making it applicable for both indoor and outdoor use.
If you are one to take your guinea pigs out to play in the yard, there are two types of tops that you can use to protect your pets from potential predators.
Both the PVC lined ramp cover and mesh top panel feature string latches to prevent unnecessary access to your pets. The cage is easy to assemble and can comfortably accommodate two guinea pigs. Prices for this cage start from $50. You can check it out on Amazon here.
Living World Deluxe Habitat
If you want to treat your guinea pig to ultimate luxury, then this is the cage that will do it. It comes in three sizes standard, large and extra-large. The standard model is 46 inches long and 22 inches wide, meaning your pet has all the space to exercise and play.
Features that come with this cage include a water bottle, food bowl, and balcony with an access ramp. Below it is an enclosure for your pet to get away from all the noise.
Other features include a detachable plastic bottom base and 24 inch-high wireframe walls. The cage also has a latched wire mesh roof, thereby providing security from unnecessary interference. Prices start at $79, which is peanuts taking into account all the features that you get. You can check out this cage on Amazon here.
Ware Manufacturing Home Sweet Pet Cage
For $39, this is the best cage if you are a first-time pet owner. It is 28 inches long and features a stain-proof deep base pan, which ensures no spillage of bedding and droppings to surrounding areas.
There are three options available, all of which feature large wireframe doors for easy access. You can learn more about this cage on Amazon here.
Can Guinea Pigs Climb Out of Their Cage?
No. It is safe to say that your guinea pig is tucked away safely in their cage without the risk of them climbing out. Guinea pigs are not agile climbers. They’re body types limit their upward mobility.
Their cute little limbs will have a hard time being able to support their larger and disproportionate upper body frame. The only way a guinea pig is going to escape is through a faulty or unlocked cage door or gate.
A malfunctioning cage door or a hinge that easily comes undone may allow a guinea a way out. Otherwise, the entire top of the cage needs to be knocked over for a guinea pig to simply walk out.
Climbing is not a recommended form of exercise for guinea pigs either. Hamsters or chinchillas like climbing levels, but a guinea pig needs more ramps of gradual elevations without encouraging them to climb.
Can Guinea Pigs Jump Out of Their Cage?
Guinea pigs who jump up and down look more like popping kernels of corn. This is why their behavior is called, “popcorning”. They do this when they are excited or happy to see you.
They will not be able to jump out of their cage at all. This is because their legs are too weak and relatively small compared to the rest of their body. Jumping is not a defense mechanism for guinea pigs. This is a burrowing animal.
They would rather try to dig their way out of a cage, but this is obviously an unsuccessful routine since the substrate of the cage will not allow it. A guinea pig trying to escape a cage is trying to tell you something.
Maybe the cage is too small or you might need to rearrange some things around. Make sure there is plenty to do in terms of adding toys, tubes, ramps and bedding with plenty of hay as well.
Do Guinea Pigs Need a House in Their Cage?
Sure! This does not have to be the type of house you are thinking about. Our guinea pigs enjoy cardboard boxes that we temporarily set up as their house. We love to change it up and replace the cardboard (free) boxes and replace them with new ones.
They get damp with time and a replacement is better than trying to dry them out. You can opt for more expensive and permanent structures to place in their enclosure as a house.
Some guinea pigs owners will go all out and get their favorite furry companions and realistic looking miniature houses.
The main purpose of the house is to provide these burrowing animals a place to hide. It gives them a sense of security which translates to overall comfort and better quality of life.
Are Multi-Level Cages Good for Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs would prefer to not take chances with higher elevations. They know that they must remain close to the ground in the wild for a quick escape underneath as they are known to burrow and not climb.
Adding levels in a guinea pigs cage is not out of the question. You can definitely get creative by making levels gradually rise with ramp systems instead of ladders or steps.
This will allow guinea pigs to explore more space in the cage without trying to unnaturally climb stairs or steps.
They are not great at balancing their bodies and will appreciate spacious enclosures without pretending to act like smaller and more nimble rodents like hamsters or mice.
Tops are not a necessity for guinea pig cages if the environment they are in is ideal. However, there are special circumstances that you may need to incorporate one with the cage.
You also have various options for cages that come highly recommended by pet owners and vets alike. Whether you own one or are planning to own one the above information is useful in ensuring the proper care of your pet.