Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Welcome to our large guinea pig cage test 2022. Here we present all the guinea pig cages we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

With this, we would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best guinea pig cage for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a guinea pig cage.




Summary

  • Guinea pigs are clan animals and should therefore never be kept alone. However, to prevent rapid reproduction and disputes, it is advisable to separate the sexes (as long as no breeding is planned).
  • Many people have a false image of what a species-appropriate guinea pig husbandry is. Especially when it comes to the appropriate size of the cages, there is a big gap in knowledge.
  • There are the two options of keeping guinea pigs indoors or outdoors. Even though the latter is not too common, it is usually the better choice for humans and especially animals.

The Best Guinea Pig Cage: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a guinea pig cage

How big does a guinea pig cage need to be?

It can’t be mentioned often enough, most cages and pens available in pet shops do not allow for species-appropriate keeping. Guinea pigs must be kept at least in pairs and need a minimum of 0.5m² space per animal .

However, this only applies if the animals are allowed to run around for several hours a day and can let off steam. If this is not possible, the cage must be at least (!!!) 2m² (1m² per guinea pig) which is the absolute lower limit.

It is also important to remember that height is rarely an issue in a guinea pig cage. Unlike other rodents such as hamsters, guinea pigs don’t have much skill when it comes to climbing.

Kind mit Meerschweinchen

Guinea pigs make good companions for children. However, they also need a lot of space to run around and retreat. (Image source: pixabay.com / Pezibear)

Also, like rabbits, they cannot jump very high. A cage height of 30cm is sufficient for most animals, only the very fewest and most curious in the clan can overcome this height.

Accordingly, the floor space must offer them enough room, which can be achieved by multi-level cages. However, the ramps must not be too steep and platforms without guards should be avoided.

Which material is most suitable?

There are some materials you will come across again and again in your search for the perfect guinea pig cage – wood, plastic, Perspex. None of these materials should be used exclusively, it’s the healthy mix that counts.

Nevertheless, one of the three mentioned is the basic building block for almost every cage and, as we all know, caution is advised when choosing one.

Wood – the best material to start with

Advantages
  • Non-toxic
  • Weatherproof
  • Mostly air-permeable
  • Easy to use (if self-made)
  • Stylish (&#8220
  • natural look&#8221
  • )
  • Robust and stable
Disadvantages
  • Possibly unstable and splinters with low quality. unstable and splinters if the workmanship is of low quality
  • Must first be treated with non-toxic varnish (e.g. toy varnish) to counteract moisture
  • Gnawing damage (can be counteracted if the animals have enough other opportunities to sharpen their teeth)

Plexiglas – a sturdy second place

Advantages
  • Stylish
  • Sturdy, hard to scratch
  • Easy to clean, no varnish needed
Disadvantages
  • Too much glass makes for little retreat
  • No air circulation possible

Plastic – an overrated classic

Advantages
  • Easy to clean
  • Colourful choice of colours
  • Very light
Disadvantages
  • Harmful to health if nibbled by rodents
  • Comparatively quick to scratch/break
  • Quick to damage urine

Generally speaking, wood is best due to its many natural advantages. In second place is Plexiglas, which scores especially in terms of design and stability, but can restrict the privacy of the animals.

Often seen in commercial cages, but only in last place, is plastic. While it makes cleaning the tub much easier, it is not an overly durable material, which can also pose a health risk.

What accessories do my animals need?

Of course, the cage alone is not enough to lead a fulfilled guinea pig life; it requires much more.

Food and water bowl

These should be as heavy as possible and therefore difficult to move or knock over. They should also have a smooth surface so that the animals cannot injure their sensitive mouths. The most suitable bowls are the clay ones, which you can buy at any pet supply store.

If your animals do not use their water bowl for the intended purpose or you simply prefer it, you can also attach drinking bottles to the cage (if there are bars).

Optional, but still frequently used, are hayracks. Of course, your animals can also eat their hay from the floor, but this is often used more as a toilet and is no longer too edible.

Hayracks prevent this, and there are several different types. A wooden one can be placed inside the cage, or attached to the outside of the cage – in the end, it’s up to you to choose from a variety of options.

Retreat possibilities

Like every living creature, guinea pigs need their rest now and then. To make this as restful as possible, you should provide them with houses, tunnels, caves and other possibilities to retreat. At least one per animal and preferably made of wood or cork, as these materials also provide comfort and can be nibbled on.

Toys

Guinea pigs aren’t really playful, but keeping them occupied is still important. There is a wide range of equipment for the hutch available in small animal supply stores, the most suitable ones are again those made of wood. For example, there are bridges, seesaws, smaller platforms, etc.

Otherwise, to keep the animals busy, you can place vegetables or fruit in the cage. Placing them on roofs and platforms also provides exercise.

Should I keep my guinea pigs outside or inside?

Before you welcome a couple of guinea pigs as new members of the family, there are a few organisational things that need to be sorted out first. First of all, you need to know where your new housemates will live.

In the flat

In Germany, it is common practice to keep guinea pigs in the flat. However, it should be noted that not every room is suitable. Guinea pigs are sometimes nocturnal and therefore not the most ideal sleeping or nursery companions.

They are also very sensitive to dust and smoke of any kind – this includes cigarette smoke, but also incense sticks or similar can cause problems for the sensitive animals.

Guinea pigs also like to stay out of commotion and would much prefer a quiet room to a noisy communal area. In addition, a place in front of the heating or in direct sunlight is not ideal.

Meerschweinchen Zubehör

It is not enough to keep the guinea pig in a cage. It must also be equipped with various accessories. (Picture source: 123rf.com / 52623683)

Care should also be taken to ensure that the animals are not kept directly in draughts, otherwise there is a risk of them catching a cold. If this cannot be avoided, a wind-protected shelter must be added to the cage in any case.

On the balcony

If you decide to house your four-legged friends on the balcony, you should always make sure that the cage is not only made of bars, but also offers a solid and weatherproof retreat.

It is also important that no predators can get to your animals. The best way to ensure this is to buy a closed cage or to secure the balcony with a net against neighbouring cats and the like.

Please also make sure that the animals are not exposed to large temperature fluctuations, i.e. do not bring them into the heated flat in late autumn or into the living room in front of the fan in summer.

You also need to be aware that not every cage is suitable for keeping guinea pigs outside in winter. It needs to be weatherproof, insulated and shielded from wind and snow to ensure that nothing happens to your animals in winter.

Additionally, it is helpful to have several guinea pigs that can heat up the shelter with their combined body heat. However, this can rarely be done in a species-appropriate way on a balcony due to the usually unsuitable cage sizes.

In the garden

Rodents kept in the garden are usually associated with rabbits and hares. But guinea pigs also fit into this category, as long as the right conditions are met.

Keeping them outside is the best choice in most cases because of the space available. The absolute non-plus-ultra is keeping them outside in a self-built enclosure. Here you can determine the size yourself and thus give your animals the best possible housing.

Regardless of whether you build it yourself or buy it, a few criteria must always be met.

  • Protection from the weather (precipitation, sun, wind etc.)
  • Protection from predators
  • Sufficient space
  • No sources of danger in the enclosure
  • Adapted to the type of housing (year-round/semi-year-round outside)

Can I build a cage myself?

An important part of this is the hutch. It should be protected from the weather and offer enough space for your animals, as well as not have any plastic or other toxic objects.

You can use one or more large crates, which are easy to clean because of the lid. However, if you want to go ‘all out’, it is advisable to alienate a shed purpose.

For both options, make sure there are no sharp edges or corners at guinea pig height and seal the floor with non-toxic varnish (e.g. toy varnish). This will make cleaning up bedding and hay much easier.

When building the hutch, you can also prepare it for winter if you want to keep your animals outside all year round. Make sure it is well insulated and that the access to the outdoor enclosure is airtight.

If you want to keep your animals outdoors all year round, it is a good idea to keep several animals, as their combined body heat will ensure a comfortable temperature in the hutch.

Once you have made your choice of enclosure, the next step is to design an outdoor enclosure. This is an essential point for the species-appropriate keeping of your guinea pigs and increases their quality of life enormously.

Build an all-round closed grid construction next to your hutch – whether at knee height or accessible is up to you. Use fine-meshed wire that you dig 20 to 30 cm deep into the ground.

Also secure everything carefully so that predators such as foxes or maggots cannot gain access to the enclosure. Add a few doors for easier access and you have the basic structure of a guinea pig outdoor hutch. You can now furnish it according to your preferences and the well-being of your animals!

However, when the temperatures reach 12 degrees Celsius, you should have winterised your outdoor area for year-round outdoor keeping at the latest. Secure at least half of the enclosure with a tarpaulin against the icy wind.

To be on the safe side, you can also use Plexiglas panels, but make sure that air circulation is still possible.

And if you’re a little short of inspiration, you can find lots of different designs on the internet that will make animal lovers’ and guinea pigs’ hearts beat faster. Sometimes they come with instructions, and some websites also offer a wide range of DIY designs, so there’s bound to be something for you.

How much exercise should I give my animals every day?

Even though guinea pigs are not as dependent on people as dogs, for example, they still need a few hours of attention a day; the more the better.

This means the opportunity to run around freely outside the cage. Although there are cages that are large enough to keep the animals in a species-appropriate manner, their inhabitants also appreciate the chance to run around freely for some time.

On the one hand, the room in which the cage is placed is ideal for this. Here you can either create an outdoor enclosure for the animals to run around in or simply mark out a separate area with whatever you have at hand.

Since guinea pigs are not known for their ability to climb or escape, a fence that is at least thirty centimetres high is usually sufficient to prevent escape.

Another popular option is to bring the guinea pigs out into the fresh air. A run in a large outdoor enclosure in the garden, with plenty of grass and sunshine, is also much more appreciated by your animals than running around indoors.

As the name suggests, these rodents like to gnaw on everything. So please make sure your guinea pigs don’t have access to electric cables, plastic or plastic – otherwise they could die!

How much does a good and species-appropriate cage cost?

As a species-appropriate cage depends to a large extent on the available square metres and some criteria regarding the safety of the animals, it is not possible to determine an exact price across the board. This is largely determined by the material quality of the product, which is why there are many different price categories.

Nevertheless, it cannot be generally said that the more expensive a cage, the better it is. Or the other way round, the lower the price, the less suitable the cage is for keeping guinea pigs.

There are many factors involved, which will be explained in more detail later in this article. The following is a rough estimate that serves only as a guideline.

Type of cage Price of cage
indoor, meets minimum requirements (min. 0.5m²/animal) 90 € and up
indoor, allows good husbandry (min. 1m²/animal) 150 € and up
outdoor, meets minimum requirements (min. 0.5m²/animal) 130 € and up
outdoor, allows good husbandry (min. 1m²/animal, usually with integrated outdoor enclosure) 150 € and up

As always, the best option for your animals is a self-built home. The price is entirely up to you; you can build a species-appropriate stable with little money, or with a lot of hard work and financial means you can create a true paradise for your four-legged friends.

Decision: What types of housing and associated cage types are there and which are best for you?

Outdoor housing

While it is more common to keep rabbits or hares in the home garden, guinea pigs are just as suitable for outdoor keeping and benefit from many advantages. This type of housing is divided into two types.

Half-year outdoor keeping

With this type, the guinea pigs are allowed to enjoy the benefits of the garden throughout the summer. Nature, sun and rain, (hopefully) lots of space and eating fresh grass in nice company – guinea pig life could hardly be better.

The owner also has clear advantages. Sure, the animals aren’t always within reach for a cuddle (which most guinea pigs will welcome), but in summer you’ll probably be outside more often anyway and can enjoy the company of your rodents.

You also have more space in your home and the source of one of the biggest smell and dirt factors is now outside your own four walls.

You must bear in mind that the guinea pigs will slowly become accustomed to the inexhaustible food source. If you move them to grass from one day to the next, there is a risk of stomach upset.

It is also important to know that guinea pigs are very temperature-sensitive animals. Therefore, they need to get used to the temperature difference slowly and you should not bring them in just for a few hours to cuddle for their health. This can have fatal consequences for your animals.

They should not be moved outside until mid-May at the earliest, or after the Ice Saints (11-15 May), or when night temperatures no longer fall below 12-15°C. It is also advisable to move them outside after the Ice Saints. It is also not advisable to move them outside later than the beginning of September, as the animals must slowly get used to the falling temperatures. Again, the guideline value of 12-15° C applies. – Guinea pig help e.V.

As so often, the decision about the type of cage is one that should be well thought out.

The hutch does not have an integrated outdoor enclosure and is therefore not only suitable for the garden, but also for keeping on the balcony. A daily run in the outdoor enclosure is recommended, which, however, requires a few hours of your time per day. Therefore, this variant is particularly suitable for people with a relaxed schedule.

The hutch with integrated outdoor enclosure combines a place of retreat as well as an outdoor run. There is a little more time to invest in cleaning, but in general, with the right size, you save quite a bit of time with this hutch.

If you are handy or at least interested, you can build the perfect species-appropriate stable incl. outdoor enclosure yourself. Even skill is not absolutely necessary, motivation and good will are half the battle. Even with a few sloping walls, your rodents will appreciate this hutch.

Type of cage Features
Hutch

A hutch without an integrated free-range enclosure, so daily exercise must be provided elsewhere. On the other hand, it is usually cheaper than the other variants and easier to clean.

The mobile outdoor en closure also ensures that a different area of lawn can be grazed each time. This is a good choice for keeping your pet on a balcony, provided there is enough space. To let them run free, either bring them into the garden (preferred) or leave them on the secured balcony (in rare cases).

Well suited for part-timers or school children.

Stable with free-range enclosure

Your animals will be given shelter, as well as the opportunity to roam freely. In most cases more expensive than the first option, but not as time-consuming.

Nevertheless, the outdoor enclosure must also be considered when cleaning and the entire stable complex should be moved from time to time to make new grass areas accessible.

Ideal for busy people.

Self-built hutch

A well-designed homemade hutch will best meet the needs of your guinea pigs. Also, you don’t have to worry about winterising the hutch as they will be living indoors at this time of year.

In some cases, the hutches cannot be moved, which can lead to a shortage of grass. But guinea pigs eat other things too, after all. You can also build a home for them on the balcony, where grass is not an issue.

Well suited for hobbyists and interested people.

Keeping them outside all year round

As you can probably guess, with this species the animals are kept outside all their lives, barring unforeseen events. Here, too, it is particularly important that the hutch and any enclosure are prepared for the winter.

You don’t have to change or adapt your home when you get guinea pigs as, with a few exceptions, they will live outside.

However, you will need to invest some time if you want to train your animals to be tame and trusting, as human contact is usually less frequent than is the case when they are kept indoors.

Again, keep in mind that guinea pigs are temperature sensitive animals and you should only bring them indoors in an absolute emergency.

The barn does not have an integrated outdoor enclosure and is therefore not only suitable for the garden, but also for keeping on the balcony. A daily run in the outdoor enclosure is recommended, and you must also ensure that the hutch is prepared for the winter.

The hutch with an integrated outdoor enclosure combines a place of retreat as well as an outdoor run. You will have to invest a little more time in cleaning, but in general, with the right size, you will save a lot of time with this hutch. Here, too, you have to make sure in good time that your animals can spend the winter comfortably in it.

If you are handy or at least interested, you can build the perfect species-appropriate stable incl. outdoor enclosure yourself. In this case, you can also winterise the accommodation right from the start and thus make provisions for the following years.

Cage type Features
Stable

A hutch without an integrated free-range enclosure, so the daily exercise must be provided elsewhere.

On the other hand, it is usually cheaper than the other variants and easier to clean.

The mobile outdoor en closure also ensures that a different area of lawn can be grazed each time. However, you must make sure that the hutch is prepared for the winter.

Well suited for part-time workers or school children.

Stable with outdoor enclosure

Your animals are given shelter and the opportunity to roam freely. In most cases more expensive than the first option, but not as time-consuming.

Nevertheless, the outdoor enclosure must also be considered when cleaning and the entire stable complex should be moved from time to time to make new grass areas accessible. Just as in the classic stable, you must ensure that the stable and the enclosure are winterproof

Ideal for busy people.

Self-built hutch

A well-designed homemade hutch is the best way to meet the needs of your guinea pigs and is definitely the best option for keeping them outside all year round. You can prepare the hutch for winter while you are building it, and you don’t have to do anything except for a few touch-ups.

Suitable for hobbyists and interested people.

Keeping them indoors

It is common to keep your guinea pigs in your home. And with the right equipment, you can do the same.

Keeping them indoors for half a year

If you plan to keep your guinea pigs outdoors during the spring and summer, bring them indoors when the cold season arrives.

Again, make sure you give your rodents enough time to get used to the temperature difference. Also, do not take them out onto the balcony to cuddle in winter, as this can have serious consequences.

You have to decide how much money you want to spend on the cage in the flat. A half-and-half is usually more expensive than a year-round, as most people have to buy two different enclosures – one for indoors and one for outdoors.

Probably the best known cage is the classic one with bars and a plastic tub. Even though this variant is unfortunately rarely species-appropriate, there are slight modifications that allow good keeping at a fair price. However, since you also need an outdoor enclosure for the warmer seasons, the total package can be quite expensive.

To get around this, you can resort to a pragmatic variation – even though the look will probably suffer, the result is significantly cheaper than the classic cage.

Simply combine a cheap cage with insufficient dimensions with an inexpensive outdoor enclosure. In this way, you ensure species-appropriate husbandry at a low price.

Last but not least is the self-built variant. Either you sacrifice an entire room to your fluffy four-legged friends or you design an enclosure for them that can perhaps even be stowed away during the summer months and thus does not take up any unnecessary space.

Type of cage Features
Classic cage

A cage as most people know it, made of various materials. Unfortunately, this is rarely available in a species-appropriate quality, but with enough time you can find good offers (for example in our ranking).

You have to keep in mind that you need two species-appropriate accommodations for your animals for half-and-half keeping, which can quickly become expensive

Well suited for financially secure animal lovers.

(You will find a cheaper alternative in the next line.)

(inadequate) cage + free-range enclosure

With this variant, you permanently add an easy-to-build and usually inexpensive outdoor enclosure to a cage.

Since the outdoor enclosure provides enough space for your rodents, it is even acceptable if the cage normally has insufficient dimensions or was otherwise a cheaper option.

Although you still have to get some material for the area outside the fixed cage (e.g. washable carpets) and the appearance will probably suffer, you have an inexpensive alternative to the classic cage.

By the way, our Top 8 in the ranking falls into this category.

Ideal for busy people.

Self-built hutch

If you have the money and the time to build your own hutch for your animals (ideally for the second time), this is the best option. Maybe you can work out a plan to store the enclosure in the summer without it taking up too much space.

Suitable for hobbyists and interested people without money worries.

Year-round housing

As you don’t have to pay for two enclosures, it’s a good idea to invest in not just an adequate cage, but a very good one. This will probably be the only home your guinea pigs will ever live in, so don’t skimp on quality.

First and foremost is the classic cage. As you don’t need to buy a second hutch for the garden if you keep your guinea pigs indoors all year round, it is advisable to go for quality here, as the cage will probably accompany your rodents throughout their lives.

And last but not least, you can build your own cage – whether it is one or several storeys high, colourful or plain, encloses the whole room or fills a corner, is expensive or cheap to buy. As long as you follow the most important criteria, which have been repeated several times in the course of this article, you can only do your guinea pigs good with a DIY project.

Type of cage Features
Classic cage

A cage as most people know it, made of various materials. Unfortunately, this cage is rarely available in a quality suitable for the species, but with enough time you can find good offers (for example in our ranking).

Sleep a few nights over your decision, as the welfare of your animals will depend on it in the future.

Suitable for everyone (this should be the absolute minimum).

Self-built stable

As always, a well thought-out self-build is probably the best option for your animals. If you have a weekend to spare, you can build an enclosure in a wide range of price ranges and have taken an essential step towards a species-appropriate and fulfilling life for your rodents.

And if you want to go the whole hog when it comes to building your own guinea pig enclosure and plan to keep several animals over a long period of time, you could even dedicate your own room to your rodents (if the space is available).

Suitable for hobbyists and those interested.

Buying criteria: These factors can help you compare and evaluate guinea pig cages

Below are some factors to consider when buying a guinea pig cage that can help you make a decision.

  • Size
  • Material
  • Accessories included?
  • Safety
  • Design
  • Handling
  • Air circulation
  • Ownership of other pets

Below you can read about each of the criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to buy a cage based on the criteria or not.

The size

If you have read this article carefully, you already know exactly what to look for. The cage must have a species-appropriate size (at least 0.5m² per animal) and be able to hold at least two animals.

However, it is a fact that most of the cages advertised in pet shops are simply too small to allow species-appropriate keeping, and only very few are adequate or even convincing. Building your own is the best chance to ensure a high quality of life for your rodents. A guinea pig cage can never be too big.

The material of the cage and possible accessories

Wood, which has been coated with a non-toxic varnish, is the best choice, as it allows air circulation, is stable and is also clearly convincing in terms of design.

Air-impermeable materials can also be used, but only in combination with grids or a low height to ensure draught in the cage. Plexiglas is often used, which visually enhances the cage and also allows the animals to see what is happening outside the enclosure.

Plastic in all possible colours is often used, especially in cheap and not too species-appropriate cages. As long as the guinea pigs don’t have the chance to eat it and get seriously poisoned, this is fine. However, plastic accessories should be kept away from the cage.

Are accessories already included?

Even if this sounds like a generous offer at first, caution is advised if some accessories are already included in the cage.

As already mentioned, give plastic parts a wide berth in the cage; wood, on the other hand, is usually a very good choice, as long as it is untreated. For example, many suppliers offer wooden platforms and ramps with the purchase of one of their cages, but these are often of inferior quality and not ideal for your animals.

Meerschweinchen im Gras

Guinea pigs love to run around in the grass when the weather is nice. (picture source: 123rf.com / 23251577)

If you can see from the pictures that the accessories are probably made of cheap chipboard, think again because of the low stability and tendency to splinter.

By the way, many offers come with accessories, but often with the basic version, i.e. only the cage. If you are convinced by the basic version and not so much by the accessories, you can always go back to the basic version.

Safety

Another important factor is safety. To prevent your animals from injuring themselves, make sure there are no sharp edges or raised, unsecured platforms.

The presence of other four-legged friends can also be dangerous for your rodents. If you keep dogs or cats in addition to your guinea pigs, make sure that the cage is secured all around, i.e. no open roof or other openings.

Did you know that the oldest guinea pig in the world was 14 years and 10 months old?

The little animal was called Snowball and reached the average life expectancy of a cat or dog!

The design

This point is related to the safety of your animals, and also to what you can already imagine … how well the cage suits your taste and how well it will visually fit in its new place.

Make sure that all platforms and floors are adequately secured, and that no barriers have been left out for aesthetic reasons. You also need to be sure that the colour is not harmful (which is usually the case).

The remaining aspects of the design are entirely up to you, as long as the welfare of the guinea pigs is always paramount.

The handling

This refers to how easy it is to reach the inside of the cage, either to refill food or to clean. Both the number and the size of the gates/doors/gate play an important role here. It is best if you can open up a large part of the top of the cage, or perhaps even detach the entire top part from the bottom.

It is also possible with some cages to fold them completely in on themselves; however, the relevance of this criterion is entirely dependent on personal circumstances.

Air circulation

Guinea pigs produce a lot of ammonia, which is why air circulation in the cage is essential, otherwise the animals could poison themselves. For this, there must be small (or large) air slits in the outer wall of the cage, as is the case, for example, with many natural wooden enclosures or with grids.

It is also essential that there is more than one open space, otherwise no draught is possible and the ammonia problem is therefore not solved.

Facts worth knowing about the guinea pig

The origin

Guinea pigs come in many different subspecies and not just the cute domesticated pets we are mostly familiar with today. They were bred mainly in the past, but also occasionally today, as a source of food and live in the wild in parts of South America.

There they inhabit regions that are not too overgrown. They clearly prefer flat grasslands or mountainous regions to forests.

Did you know that guinea pigs are eaten?

In some parts of Latin America, guinea pigs are still used as a source of meat. For the most part, however, they are now only kept as pets.

Archaeologists are unable to pinpoint the exact time when guinea pigs were first domesticated due to the small and inconspicuous skeletons; however, the time period can be narrowed down from 5,000 – 2,000 BC.

There is also no certainty about the migration to Europe and there are various theories.

One says that the forefathers of our now popular pets probably arrived in Europe together with Spanish conquerors in the 16th century.

In another, Dutch and English seafarers resettled the rodents.

However, researchers are certain that guinea pigs were mainly taken as food and secondarily as gifts for the family at home.

Incidentally, the guinea pigs owe their name precisely to this migration. They came over the sea and made noises similar to those of pigs – and the name was born.

(Where the ‘guinea’ in the English ‘guinea pig’ comes from, however, can only be guessed at to this day)

The character

Like every living creature, the character of guinea pigs is of course not completely identical, but differs from animal to animal – but here too, as is well known, exceptions prove the rule.

However, it is certain that guinea pigs are clan animals and live together in groups of five to 10 animals in the wild. This is also their perfect group size in captivity and is very much appreciated by them.

But don’t worry or feel guilty about not being able to keep that many animals – even in smaller clans, guinea pig life can be of the highest quality.

Guinea pigs are (mostly) diurnal and social clan animals. If an animal is kept alone, it suffers from loneliness. Even with loving care, humans cannot replace the missing conspecific. – German Animal Welfare Association

As you are probably aware, rodents regularly make squeaking sounds. They do this in situations where they feel great emotion – fear and discomfort are just as much a part of this as great joy (when the fridge opens, for example).

Different types of guinea pigs have in common that they come in a variety of colours with sometimes unique patterns. The most diverse shades of grey and brown are not uncommon, as are black and white.

It is also common for the rodents to combine many different colours in their coats; the breed has a wide variety of colour variations to offer.

And even if it is not scientifically proven, the `myth` of breed-specific character traits goes around.

Longhaired guinea pigs are said to be the quiet, reserved and contemplative representatives of the breed, while rosette guinea pigs are said to be much more lively, talkative and expressive.

The only proven difference between the two, however, is that a longhaired guinea pig requires a lot more time to groom. The coat needs to be brushed regularly and trimmed around the rump to prevent unhygienic shagging.

One possibility where the alleged character traits could come from is also in the animal’s coat. Guinea pigs with short hair can show their feelings by bristling their fur, for example, much better than their long-haired counterparts.

With the latter, the weight of the coat prevents any expression. Even worse, a short-haired guinea pig that has never seen a long-haired guinea pig in its life can quickly see the naturally voluminous coat as a threatening gesture.

Other interesting facts

  • Guinea pigs cannot sweat. Protect your animals from excessive heat.
  • The teeth of these rodents grow throughout their lives. So make sure there are enough nibbling opportunities in the cage for the teeth to wear down.
  • Guinea pigs are not great cuddlers – they do not like to have long physical contact with either conspecifics or humans (again, exceptions prove the rule).
  • These pets do not produce vitamin C, so it is important that you feed them fruit and vegetables daily (peppers are very popular and have a high vitamin C content).
  • Besides the well-known peeping, guinea pigs also make other sounds. Cooing and chirping are part of their sound repertoire, as are teeth grinding.

Picture source: 123rf.com / 16456279

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