When organising an enclosure for your guinea pigs to live in always
keep in mind issues related to predators and your guinea pigs. Often
baby guinea pigs will pose a higher risk of falling being prey to
predators than that of adults due to their smaller size but all
guinea pigs can still fall prey to another animal.
Guinea pigs are prey animals by nature and can go into a state of
shock or even die if they feel that their life is at risk. In
general, guinea pigs need a low stress environment to live in. A
stressful environment can affect your guinea pig psychologically,
physically and behaviorally both short and long term.
Each year the Australian Cavy Sanctuary receives 100's of phone
calls from devastated families who have lost their guinea pigs to a
predator. It only takes once for your pet to lose their life to a
predator. If you have even the smallest concern of another animal in
your area becoming a threat to your guinea pig, it is best to act
and predator proof to avoid potential heartbreak and the death of
hope that the information below comes of use to all guinea pig
owners with regards to the enclosure chosen to house your guinea
pigs in and where you place the enclosure on your property.
Predator 1: SNAKES
live in a bush area or snake known area we highly recommend
purchasing a cage that is snake proof already or wiring your
enclosure with small snake wire or 1cm square chicken wire. Carpet
snakes are very drawn to the scent of guinea pigs and other rodents
and it doesn't take them long to find them if they are around.
Important to note! Many of the guinea pig cages on the
market that have the 1inch black iron bars or
plastic base cages with wire bars, are NOT snake proof. Snakes as
long as 2 meters can get through these bars. These cages include the
double-storey enclosures with the black iron bar systems. These cage
designs will need to be wired over if you have one of these designs.
Any gap larger than 1cm is large enough for a big enough snake to
get through to your guinea pigs. It has been reported that snakes
can also lift up lawn cages from the ground and/or lift cage lids
particularly if the cages are lightweight or set unevenly.
Predator 2: BIRDS
of birds including crows, hawks, kookaburras and noisy minors are
known to stalk guinea pigs. If you have any birds in your area that
are known to catch small mammals and rodents as prey you will need
to make sure that your guinea pigs always have a secure roof over
their head and a bird proof enclosure.
issues are related to giving your guinea pigs lawn time in an open
top play pen or letting them free range in the yard unmonitored. It
is recommended to have some sort of blanket or secure mesh roof/tarp
thrown over an outdoor playpen if birds may be a predator issue in
Predator 3: DOGS AND
dogs and cats will accept guinea pigs into the household although in
saying this their are always those that won't as well. Each year
100's of guinea pigs lose their lives to dogs in particular
including both pet and stray dogs or dogs that have gotten out of
the neighboring yard.
sure your guinea pigs are housed in a fully fenced yard is very
important if you have chosen to house your guinea pigs outdoors or
even on the family patio. Their have been reports of stray dogs
having killed guinea pigs by making their way up steps onto the
have a pet dog or cat that lives in the same area as the guinea pigs
it is best to make sure that these pets do accept your guinea pigs
as members of the family and not as a 'toy' or 'treat'.
with when you first bring your guinea pigs into the home place them
in an area separate to that of your pet dog or cat. Allow monitored
time for your pet dog or cat to be in the same area as the guinea
pigs. Handle your guinea pigs (preferably in a towel or something
secure where they feel safe) near your dog or cat to see how they
react. After a few trials if the dog or cat reacts in a manner
whereby they may attempt to play with or attack the guinea pig then
you must make sure your guinea pigs are kept in a separate area of
the home at all times and in a strong sturdy dog and cat proof
barking, digging or scratching at your guinea pigs enclosure by
family pets or other outdoor predators can lead to a highly strung,
stressed guinea pig and potentially your guinea pigs death in the
breeds that have been reported over the years to pose serious threat
to guinea pigs include working dogs or dogs which have been bred to
hunt or herd animals. Some dog breeds most known to pose as threats
to guinea pigs include Siberian Husky's, Border Collies, Jack
Russell Terriers, Fox Terriers and several other terrier breeds and
their have been minimal reports of household cat issues with guinea
pigs and more reports of the household cat actually becoming more of
a protector/ally to the family guinea pigs.
guinea pigs are more at risk to pet cats than adults as they are
small enough to be seen as rodents/easy catch. You will need to
monitor your cat in the beginning stages of keeping your guinea pigs
and make sure that your guinea pig is kept in a safe and secure
enclosure. If you have a pet cat it is recommended to purchase a
cage with small wire rather than wire bars large enough for a cat to
fit their paw through.
pet cat tends to chase and/or kill birds and other animals they may
pose as a threat to your guinea pigs. If you live in an area where
stray cats frequent, this needs to also be taken into account.
Predator 4: RATS AND MICE
rats and mice may not appear as immediate predators they can pose as
a health risk to your guinea pig including black rats in particular
commonly found in the city suburbs.
mice can carry a variety of diseases which can transfer to guinea
pigs and humans via their urine and feaces. Some of these diseases
include Salmonella, E.coli, <span>Streptococcal infections,
</span><span>Staphylococcal Dermatitis and other numerous bacterial,
viral and respiratory diseases.</span>
live in a suburb prone to frequent rat and mice visitors a good
preventative measure is to nail small wire on your enclosure to
prevent and minimise rat infestation in and around your guinea pigs
cage and also your home. Store all your guinea pigs food in sealed
containers and make sure your guinea pigs cage and the areas
surrounding it (if outdoors on the patio or lawn) is kept clean and
families will not encounter a rat infestation due to pet guinea pigs
but if you find you have a couple of visiting rats or mice you can
purchase some inhumane rat traps and leave them out to catch and
relocate the visitors. It is always kinder and less of a health risk
to your pets to find a humane way to rid pests before having to
resort to harsher methods.
Predator 5: PEOPLE
a rare scenario ACS have had reports of people's guinea pigs being
stolen or killed by people.
live in a neighborhood that is prone to theft or damage or if you
have an unfenced yard we recommend never housing your guinea pigs in
the front of the yard or within public eye view.
written by Jessica Proietti (c) Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.