Guinea pigs are extremely cute pets that have great personalities and behaviors. Watching your guinea pigs play and interact with each other can provide hours of fun. When deciding on whether to get a guinea pig it is important to understand how they are best kept.
Should Guinea Pigs Live Alone?
Ideally, Guinea pigs should live in groups of two or more. Guinea pigs need social interaction to be healthiest. However, something to watch out for is how fast they can breed. Before you know it you could have a whole house full of guinea pigs.
Male guinea pigs are known as boars, while females are known as sows. When deciding on how many guinea pigs to get and what gender they should be, keep in mind that groups consisting of many fertile males and females will mean multiplying numbers.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Like To Live In Groups?
In the wild, guinea pigs live in small groups consisting of one male and a few females. The group’s offspring will stay with the group until they are adults, then the males will leave and form another group. It is important to recreate this dynamic, as the guinea pigs are adapted to live this way.
Guinea pigs have been shown to exhibit less stress when in groups. Tests have shown that less stress hormone was present in the blood of guinea pigs that can socialize and live amongst other guinea pigs that they are accustomed to.
Groups with more than one adult male may be an issue. Males often compete for control of the many females. If your enclosure is too small then you may see some fighting going on between males. A larger enclosure will stop this from happening.
It is common practice to neuter male guinea pigs so that they do not impregnate the females. The group dynamic will stay the same and the guinea pigs will still be happy.
Guinea pigs that live alone should be interacted with every day. Guinea pigs love to play and interact with toys in their enclosure and can actually be trained to play fetch, play tug of war, and even race each other around the enclosure.
Can Guinea Pigs Alongside Other Pets?
Guinea pigs are often kept as pets alongside other pets. Cats and dogs often have pride and place in our homes, so lets look at if guinea pigs will get along with these favorites, as well as some others.
Guinea pigs can get along with cats in certain circumstances. The safe answer would be no, cats and guinea pigs do not get along. Cats may see the guinea pigs as prey and hunt them. Cats can be quite sadistic when it comes to small rodents and will hunt them just for fun.
If you have cats and guinea pigs, try introducing them to each other in a safe way. If the cat and guinea pigs don’t seem to be getting along, keep them separate. If you keep the guinea pigs in an eclosure, make sure it is safe and cannot be gotten into by a cat.
Like Cats, some dogs are naturally born hunters. Jack Rusell terriers and some similar dogs will chase and catch small rodents. Likewise, guinea pigs can be scared by the smell and sight of dogs. In the wild, wolves are a natural predator of guinea pigs.
Dogs as descendants of wolves may trigger an instinctual fear in your guinea pigs.
Although you may have seen examples of guinea pigs and rabbits living together, it is a safe bet to not keep them together because of their difference in size. Rabbits can easily trample guinea pigs with their strong back legs, even without meaning to.
If you plan on keepint them in the same enclosure, it is also important to note that the two pets each very different food. It will be hard to keep their food separate, and the larger rabbits might end up taking the guinea pig’s food by force.
Guinea pigs should ideally be kept in groups consisting of one male and a few females. Some other combinations can be kept, such as just females, or two males that are siblings. The main thing you want to avoid is males competing for control of the females.
Neutering males is a common practice that stops the guinea pigs from breeding. Like other rodents, guinea pigs can reproduce very fast and very easily. If this is what you want, then by all means, get a fertile male and a few females. Just be sure you have the space for the babies.