Guinea pigs move in - this is how you keep them species-appropriate.

Guinea pigs are - next to rabbits - the most popular small animals. The little animals are really cute in appearance and behavior. However, guinea pigs are anything but frugal. Especially when it comes to keeping and space requirements. Below are a few tips on how to give them a nice welcome and a species-appropriate home.

Ein braunes sowie ein hellbraunes Meerschweinchen auf dem Schoss eines Mannes

Tip 1: Together you are less alone.

Even though guinea pigs are often kept individually, this is by no means appropriate for their species. In nature, they are so-called "Sippentiere" and need contact with other conspecifics. Usually up to ten animals live in rocky grasslands with caves and earth structures. So please consider beforehand if you have enough space for at least two guinea pigs. Because they like to move and love the run. They communicate with each other by making sounds like squeaking or whistling. You should take all this into consideration when you decide to have guinea pigs. Ideally, you should keep at least one neutered male and two females. Of course, a pair will also do. This can also be a pure group of females. If you buy two males, please make sure that they have been neutered before sexual maturity - otherwise there will be territorial fights.

Tip 2: Plenty of free space in the enclosure.

Basically, the Animal Welfare Association recommends a floor space of at least two square meters for two to four guinea pigs. With a two meter long side as a "race track". The enclosure itself should not have bars, but rather be made of closed Plexiglas or wood. Positive side effect: your home will be less dusty. The cage can be open at the top if the walls are high enough. Direct sunlight or a placement next to the heater should be avoided. They feel really comfortable at a room temperature between 15 and 22 degrees. The enclosure should be filled with low-dust small animal litter. As litter you can create a forest floor atmosphere, for example. Here you will also find what you are looking for at Vitakraft®.

Tip 3: Provide enough shelter and variety.

Guinea pigs are naturally alert and like to hide. At the same time, they are flight animals and quickly seek shelter. For you, this means providing enough shelter. For example, in the form of houses, tubes, branches or roots. To give your guinea pigs an overview, you can also build a ramp so they can climb onto the roof of the hutch. You can also equip the enclosure with other discoveries, then they will not be bored. There are plenty of ideas on the Internet. Just try out what your guinea pigs like. By the way, we have also put together a few tips on how you can build beautiful hiding places.

Tip 4: Explore together.

Especially if you keep the guinea pigs indoors and not in an outdoor enclosure, discovery tours through the apartment are a welcome change. However, you should eliminate sources of danger. These are, for example, electrical or telephone cables, cleaning agents and poisonous houseplants. It is best to always be present and not leave the small rodents unattended, so that they do not chew on furniture or carpets. If you have the option for outdoor housing in the summer, we have a few tips on what to look for in an outdoor enclosure.

Tip 5: A diet tailored to guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs don't really need much. In any case, racks for hay should not be missing in the enclosure. For this purpose, we at Vitakraft® have put together very special Vita Verde® hay mixtures. A food bowl for fruit, vegetables or the main food mix also makes sense. And of course you should always offer enough water. The best way to do this is with a drinking bottle or an elevated water bowl.

Tip 6: Quiet tones and contacts preferred.

Especially in a family of several people, there is often noise and bustle. Therefore, make sure that the guinea pigs are in a quiet place so that the skittish creatures feel comfortable. If the still shy animals are taken on the arm, they hold still. However, this is because they fall into a kind of shock rigidity. Of course, you can put them on the sofa next to you, for example - yes, they might even spend an entire evening watching TV with you or the kids. As long as no jerky movements are made, you can trust your guinea pig to do this. You can tell when your guinea pigs are completely stressed by loud squealing or teeth chattering.

You see: Guinea pigs are anything but pure cuddly animals. They need lots of exercise, variety and a life in a group to be happy. If you now feel that you can't offer guinea pigs the life they need, then just read our Happiness Moments tips to see which rodent might be a better fit for you.