Guinea pigs are the largest of the rodents and need much more space than hamsters or gerbils.
While other rodents can utilise the space above them, with the exception of small runs, guinea pigs are generally bound to the ground floor, and so a large area on the ground is essential.
Can a guinea pig cage be too big?
The answer, in short, is no. We understand the practicalities of space and of the fact that a bigger cage may mean more cleaning; however, since guinea pigs are very active and do like to explore, you really can’t go wrong with a large guinea pig cage.
Benefits of a Bigger Cage
Guinea pigs are actually quite intelligent animals and need an enclosure that will pique their interest and keep them busy. This means space for them to explore and space for enriching activities, such as stairs, huts, toys, see-saws, hide-outs, etc. If your space is quite small, you’re not going to be able to provide these accessories that offer so much stimulation for your guinea pigs.
2. Reflects Natural Habitat
In the wild, guinea pigs have endless amounts of space with natural tunnels and hideouts, so being cramped out in one small pen isn’t going to allow them to live the life they were designed for.
3. Less Fighting
While guinea pigs are social animals, every family fights when they feel overcrowded. It’s important that your guinea pigs have enough space for quiet time away from the other guinea pigs. This is especially important for male guinea pigs since there may be a dispute of dominance, and ensuring that there is enough space to stay out of each other’s way will help prevent bickering or fights.
Ensuring that guinea pigs have plenty of space to exercise will prevents health problems from happening down the line. It’s essential in preventing them from becoming overweight, developing heart disease or bumblefoot. Exercise is also good for their mental wellbeing too.
RSPCA states that the ‘minimum cage size for two guinea pigs should be 120 x 60cm x 45cm’; however, they stress that ‘for the sake of your guinea pig’s health and happiness, consider providing as large a cage for them as possible,’ and this really is the bare minimum. If you can go larger, you will definitely be giving your guinea pig a better quality of life. The enclosure should be at least 25 to 30 cm high as well.
Guinea pigs are social animals, and with the absence of a companion, they can become bored and depressed. And so we always suggest buying at least two guinea pigs and having the space to accommodate two.
The suggested size for more than one guinea pig:
Cage for two guinea pigs: 10.5 square feet or 27 inches by 56 inches
Cage for three guinea pigs: 13 square feet or 27 inches by 71 inches
Cage for four guinea pigs: 16 square feet or 27 inches by 84 inches
However, if you can add to this size, that would be much more beneficial.
As well as a housing cage; it’s really important to have a run for your guinea pigs too. Having a run means that in the summer months, your guinea pig can enjoy the outdoor area while being secure, and it also means that when you need to clean out the housing cage, your guinea pig will have somewhere to run and play as well.
It may seem a little daunting trying to find the perfect size and place for your guinea pig, but to see your guinea pig full of joy – skipping and popcorning – makes it all worth it.
Happy guinea pig; happy owner!