Can Guinea Pigs Climb? (And Other Must-Know Questions!

Have you ever wondered whether or not guinea pigs can climb? And how high? Can they climb out of their cage? Or how high should the cage be to prevent the guinea pig of getting out?  What about guinea pigs and heights? Here come the answers to your most burning questions!

Can Guinea Pigs Climb?

To answer the question, YES! Guinea pigs can climb, however, it’s not going to be very high, and not as much as their ancestors would be able too!

Guinea pigs are a domesticated species that don’t naturally occur in the wild but Their close relatives from the family of cavies are natural to grassland, savannahs, and even tundra of South America.

The one thing they all have in common is that due to their build – most of them have a large body, heavy head, and short legs, – they are more adapted to life under or close to the ground. Surprisingly, that doesn’t mean they do not climb at all.

Although guinea pigs’ ancestors were a lot more agile, the domestic guinea pig was able to maintain some of that ability.

So How High Can Guinea Pigs Actually Climb?

Although their stature doesn’t allow them to climb very high, they’re sometimes driven to higher places by curiosity as they like to be able to see their surroundings.

Guinea pigs feel most comfortable on flat terrain or solid surfaces with a low incline to which they can grasp easily. In the case of cages, the most common is the wire type to which guinea pigs can grip onto easily.

But even then, they’re not known to climb higher than 18 inches. Most guinea pigs do not climb higher than 12 inches.

How Tall Does A Guinea Pig Cage Need To Be?

The ideal cage for a guinea pig is around 12 to 18 inches tall. This allows the animal to run around freely and offers extra space above. Guinea pigs often enjoy sitting on top of their sleeping den, so getting them a den with a flat top and a high enough cage will definitely make them happy!

Can Guinea Pigs Live In Multi-level Cages?

Multi-level cages are often bought for rodents to make up for a smaller cage size in height, but in the case of guinea pigs, it is not recommended.

Although most guinea pigs enjoy smaller highs such as ramps and steps, they are not very skilled climbers, and some are even known to be afraid of heights. There are exceptions of course, but when offered more levels, most guinea pigs tend to stay close to the ground. There is also the risk of them falling and hurting themselves as they are not very agile.

If you do decide to opt for a cage with multiple levels or your guinea pig seems to enjoy climbing more than some, it’s important to make sure the incline doesn’t exceed 30 degrees. This can either be a ramp with a flat, rougher surface such as wood which has enough grip (to prevent slipping) or in case of lower levels stairs can be used.

The recommended width is about 5-6 inches which makes it easier and safer for the guinea pig to climb without the fear of falling. It’s also important to make sure your guinea pig can’t fall from higher levels, so it’s important to make sure there is a railing or the only way between the levels is through ramps or ladders.

Do Guinea Pig Cages Need A Top

Whether or not the cage needs a top depends on the height of the cage. Generally speaking, cages of about 18 inches should be safe to use without a top as even the best guinea pig climbers are not known to climb higher than that.

Some guinea pigs do not climb at all so even cages with lower ‘walls’ are okay to use. In this case, it’s important to take into consideration how high can your guinea pig jump as well (usually up to 7 inches in height).

When Is A Guinea Pig Cage Top Necessary

Guinea pigs are often kept in cages without a top, however, covering the cage offers extra safety for both the guinea pig and the owner. Guinea pigs can be very curious and may figure out a way out of the cage and chew on whatever they come across or, in a worse case, hurt themselves.

They can also climb out in the rush of adrenaline when they gets surprised or scared. In the case when other pets are kept in the same area, such as cats or dogs, it is necessary to keep the top covered for the safety of everyone. This is especially important in the case of outdoor enclosures where predators such as cats, birds, or foxes, occur naturally.

Is Covering The Top Safe For Your Guinea Pig

Yes! Covering the top does not harm your guinea pig at all, on the contrary, it provides an extra layer of protection and it is completely safe to use. It is recommended to use a wire top as not to limit the ventilation of the cage.

FAQ

How High Can Guinea Pigs Fall?

Falls can be very dangerous for guinea pigs are they’re not built for jumping, climbing, or falling. Even falling from a small height hurts their bones and joints and can cause them severe pain.

It’s important to prevent any falls of your guinea pig by taking all the steps necessary to make sure they’re safe. If your guinea pig falls from a height of more than 12 inches, it’s recommended to observe the pet and take it to the vet if you notice any trouble with walking, breathing, or not eating. The risk of hurting themselves is also increased with age or if the guinea pig is overweight.

Can Guinea Pigs Climb Stairs?

This depends on the type of stairs in question and the agility of your guinea pig. Most of the time, guinea pigs are able to climb stairs with lower steps – up to 1 foot – and rougher surface such as carpet, which they can grasp onto.

Can Guinea Pigs Climb Trees?

The short answer is no. Guinea pigs don’t have the body strength to support themselves to climb higher than a few inches. Their anatomy doesn’t sufficiently allow their front feet to support their weight and pull themselves up.

Can Guinea Pigs Climb Walls?

As mentioned, guinea pigs are not able to climb vertical surfaces. Especially not surfaces which are smooth and do not have anything to grip onto, such as walls.

Can Guinea Pigs Climb Ladders?

Generally speaking, yes. However, guinea pigs have very delicate feet so it can be painful for them to use ladders and they’re also at risk of slipping. There’s also the risk of getting their feet trapped in between the steps or, on the other hand, the individual steps can be too far away. Ladders are often too steep for guinea pigs to use as well.

Are Guinea Pigs Scared Of Heights?

Guinea pigs naturally stay on the ground, so they are not used to facing heights and tend to avoid them, so yes. They also often avoid going to higher levels of their cage or climbing on ramps. Sometimes they have been known to get stuck on higher levels and being afraid to come back down.

Recap

Here’s a recap of the main thing to take away from this article!

Can Guinea Pigs Climb Out Of Their Cages?

Yes! If the cage is lower than 12 inches, it probable the guinea pig will be able to climb out of it.

How To Prevent The Guinea Pig From Climbing Out?

It is recommended to use a cage high enough to prevent the guinea pig from climbing or jumping out. This is usually about 18 inches. You can also cover the top of the cage with a mesh or wire top to prevent the guinea pig from getting out. This has other benefits such as increased safety from predators, kids, or things falling in the cage.

What Can Guinea Pigs Climb?

Guinea pigs are not great climbers and are not very fond of height, so they need to feel safe when climbing. When creating enrichment in their cage such as adding levels, it’s recommended to use low-angle ramps with a rougher surface to which guinea pigs can grip easily. These also need to be wide enough, so guinea pigs feel safe to use them.

Sources

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