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guinea pig in the wild

What Do Guinea Pigs Eat in the Wild?

With all the dry, processed pellet pet foods available in pet stores, it leaves many of us wondering- what do our guinea pigs actually eat in the natural wild?

It’s very important to know what they eat in the wild so that we can recreate their natural diet as best as possible in order to supplement their health.

Guinea pigs are natural herbivores and eat grasses, vegetables, fruits, and hay in the wild- pretty much any vegetation they can get their claws on. Guinea pigS in the wild will spend most of their day foraging for vegetation to eat. Their diet in the wild is mainly Hay, Root vegetables, and Greens.

If you’re interested in learning more about what guinea pigs really eat in the wild, keep reading this article to find the best information out there on what the natural diets of guinea pigs really look like. 

Wild Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs Eat a Diet Consisting of Hay, Vegetables, and Fruits

Of course, the adorable guinea pig would be a vegetarian as well! You won’t catch a guinea pig eating insects or other small creatures- their diet is made entirely up of vegetation instead.

Rather, guinea pigs are prey animals and are often eaten by larger animals in the wild.

A guinea pig in the wild will spend most of its day foraging for vegetation to eat. This is mostly made up of the following foods: 

  • Hay: Grass hays make up the majority of a guinea pig’s diet- up to 80%, in fact. Contrary to popular belief- alfalfa hay isn’t actually very good for guinea pigs. Rather, grass hays like timothy hays are low in calorie and nutrient-dense, so they’re great for a guinea pigs’ diet. 
  • Vegetables: Guinea pigs require a diet high in Vitamin C to avoid scurvy, and they find this nutrient most often when they forage for vegetables. In the wild, guinea pigs eat a lot of root vegetables and greens. Better hope you never find a guinea pig near your garden!
  • Fruits: Guinea pigs also eat fruits if they’re available. However, fruits contain high levels of sugar that are harmful to guinea pigs in large amounts. You can think of fruits more as the dessert of a guinea pig’s diet (and it’s believed that guinea pigs prefer to eat vegetables over fruits anyway).

Unlike what many people think, guinea pigs actually don’t eat seeds in the wild as they pose a choking risk due to their hard exterior.

You’ll find a guinea pig in the wild chowing down on hay, vegetables, greens, and the occasional piece of fruit instead. 

It’s important to stay familiar with the types of foods your guinea pig eats in the wild so that you can use this information to make their diet at home as similar to their natural diet as possible.

Let’s take a look at what you should feed your guinea pig to have this effect.

How to Make Your Guinea Pig’s Diet Similar to It’s Natural Diet

Pet guinea pigs, for the most part, should eat a diet made up of 80% hay and 20% dry food from the pet store. These dry foods are fortified with all the nutrients your guinea pig in particular needs to stay healthy, so make sure you’re buying a blend made specifically for guinea pigs.

An ⅛ of a cup of dry food per pig per day is plenty. 

Make sure your guinea pig has a bottomless supply of hay available to them at all times- guinea pigs will not overeat grass hay. This will help to imitate the amount of hay it eats in the wild.

It’s important that the hay is fresh, as guinea pigs will avoid stale hay- and make sure you feed them timothy hay rather than alfalfa hay. 

Instead of feeding your guinea pigs processed yogurt treats from the store (which are not very good for them at all in the first place), give them vegetables and fruits as treats instead.

Your guinea pig will be just as happy to eat a carrot as it is to eat anything else, and it’s far better for your furry friends’ health.

If you’re giving your guinea pig vegetables and fruits as treats, try to keep the fruits at a minimum- just one small piece of fruit per pig per week. Feed them lots of dark-leaved greens like spinach and kale, and give them apple or strawberry slices for fruits. 

Try and keep the types of vegetables and fruits you give to your guinea pig diverse to make sure they’re getting a variety of nutrients.

Make sure, however, that you look up the vegetable or fruit beforehand every time to make sure it’s safe for guinea pigs to eat- not everything that’s safe for humans is safe for our furry friends!

And of course, make sure to give your guinea pigs a bottomless supply of water at all times, too, to make sure they stay as hydrated as they need. 


Good Vegetable for Guinea Pigs

KaleParselyBroccoli
AsparagusSpinachTomatoes
Salad PeppersBasilCabbage
CarrotsCauliflower leaves and stalksCelery
ChicoryCorianderCourgette
CucumberDandelionsDill
ParsnipsRadishRocket
Romaine LettuceTurnipsWatercress

Safe Fruits for Guinea Pigs to Eat

ApplesApricotsBananasBlueberries
CherriesCranberriesKiwiGrapes
MangosMelonsNectarinesPawpaw
PassionfruitPeachesPearsPlums
PineappleStrawberriesStar fruitsWater Melon

Conclusion

Guinea pigs are herbivores and eat a diet made up of vegetables, hay, and fruit in the wild. We can use this information to supplement their diets with us by making sure to give them lots of hay throughout the day and giving them vegetables and fruits as treats.

Avoid processed store-bought treats if you can, and make sure they have plenty of water at all times. Good luck!

Hutch and Cage.com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim is to provide the reader with information to enable them to make a good decision when making a purchase or caring for their pet. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you're concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.