When planning a cage for your guinea pigs, the question quickly arises whether they can also climb. If guinea pigs climb, you must take this into account when planning their housing and also their run. So can guinea pigs climb?
Guinea pigs are not good climbers, unlike other rodents such as rats, mice, or chinchillas. They can overcome small obstacles and climb slopes of up to 30 degrees, but their long bodies with short limbs are not made for climbing. They are by nature pure ground dwellers. You should also take this into account when considering the size of their cage. Guinea pigs need a certain amount of space to be able to satisfy their urge to move.
So guinea pigs tend not to climb. They live on the ground, where they like to move around a lot. Even though they don’t really climb much, they can overcome smaller obstacles. Guinea pigs also jump occasionally, but not very high.
Let’s take a closer look at whether guinea pigs climb, whether they can climb out of their cage, and if and when they jump. We also explain what guinea pigs can and cannot climb on. Finally, we explore the question of whether guinea pigs are afraid of heights.
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Can Guinea Pigs Climb?
Guinea pigs are ground dwellers, originally living in small burrows or hiding places. These hiding places can be underground, but they can also be in densely overgrown bushes.
However, they do not build their underground burrows themselves and do not live there exclusively. Guinea pigs are on the move a lot and search for food incessantly, especially at dawn and dusk.
In their natural habitat, there is no need for them to climb. Their physique is also more designed to move through tight spaces. It is more designed for moving around in their living burrows or burrows in dense vegetation.
Because of this, guinea pigs tend to have short limbs. These don’t really lend themselves to wild climbing adventures but are helpful for moving around in dense vegetation or tight underground spaces.
Of course, the burrows they live in are not always built horizontally, so guinea pigs can certainly overcome certain slopes. They even love to climb up and down ramps.
Keep this in mind when setting up your guinea pig cage. Give them opportunities to climb as their body allows and their natural need requires. Also, set up smaller obstacles for them to climb over.
How High Can Guinea Pigs Climb?
Guinea pigs can climb certain inclines and are very happy to do so. Gradients of up to 30 degrees are no problem for them. Such slopes they come effortlessly up and down.
They even love to have a bit of variety in their environment. Therefore, ramps, small steps, and similar objects are welcome features in guinea pig cages.
However, they can’t climb up too big obstacles. While hamsters are able to stand up and pull themselves up obstacles with their front legs, guinea pigs cannot. Of course, this makes it easier for you because guinea pigs don’t escape from their cage easily.
Can Guinea Pigs Jump?
Guinea pigs can indeed jump and like to do so. They can overcome obstacles this way that are about 4 to 5 inches high. But they can’t jump much higher than that.
You should also consider the joy of jumping when setting up the cage for your guinea pigs. Put obstacles in their cage that are about 4 inches high. For example, you can use a book that is opened up or set up for this purpose.
Motivate your guinea pigs to jump the obstacle if they don’t do it on their own. For example, you can lure them over the obstacle with a treat such as a piece of cucumber.
Your guinea pigs will love this. They have a natural urge to move, which they can also satisfy by jumping over such obstacles.
Can Guinea Pigs Climb Out Cages?
Unlike most other rodents, guinea pigs are extremely unlikely to climb out of their cage. Unless you give them the opportunity to do so.
As we learned in the previous section, guinea pigs can overcome certain heights by jumping. So now, if there are objects in the cage that they can jump on, and they can jump out of the cage from there, it is theoretically possible that they will jump out of the cage.
Therefore, do not position objects close to the outside of the cage that will allow them to use them as an intermediate step to jump out of the cage.
For example, if you place a 4-inch high box at the edge of the cage, and the cage is only 8 inches high overall, then it would be theoretically possible for guinea pigs to escape. However, guinea pig cages should generally be taller than 8 inches. It should be at least 12 inches.
Since guinea pigs don’t climb and usually can’t escape by jumping out of the cage, feel free to leave the top of the cage open. If you don’t have dogs or cats that might look at the guinea pigs as a toy or snack, this should be perfectly safe.
How Big Should a Cage for Guinea Pigs Be?
Guinea pigs, as already mentioned, are very fond of movement. This means they ideally need a large cage. Also, guinea pigs should never be kept alone, but at least in pairs.
Even though they are social animals and like to live in groups, they still need a place of retreat as well. All this means that small guinea pig cages are not really species-appropriate.
So how big should a guinea pig cage be? The answer is quite simple: as big as possible! You should allow 5 sq ft of floor space per guinea pig, but 10 sq ft per guinea pig is more species-appropriate.
Overall, however, the cage should not be less than 30 sq ft so that the guinea pigs have enough room to move around. If you have a cage with multiple levels, 20 sq ft of floor space will suffice in a pinch.
From a height standpoint, the guinea pig cage should be designed so that the perimeter extends at least 12 inches above the top tier. If the guinea pig cage is significantly taller and the walls are closed, make sure it is well ventilated.
Can Guinea Pigs Climb Fences?
Guinea pigs have strong hind legs, but their front legs are very short and not as strong either. With these physical conditions, it is not possible for them to climb over fences.
So if you want to give your guinea pigs a run in your garden, you can limit the run with a simple fence. However, the fence should be about 15 inches high.
Your guinea pigs will also not dig under the fence. They do live in burrows, but they do not dig them themselves. However, they do like to dig in the bedding or hay that they find in their cage.
Can Guinea Pigs Climb Trees?
Guinea pigs are definitely not squirrels. They do have small claws on their toes, but these are not designed for climbing.
In addition, guinea pigs do not have the physical stature to climb trees. A tree is an insurmountable obstacle for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Climb Stairs?
You don’t have to worry about your guinea pigs climbing the stairs in your home. They are not built for that. A guinea pig will not manage to climb a stair step.
However, it is possible that it will climb a stair step by a spirited jump. But it is extremely unlikely that a guinea pig will climb an entire flight of stairs in this manner.
The situation is different when it comes to descending a staircase. Whereby you can’t really call it climbing stairs. It could happen that guinea pigs fall downstairs when they have the opportunity to do so.
Guinea pigs do tend to be cautious by nature. But if you leave the door to the basement stairs open, it is quite possible for a guinea pig to fall down there. However, that would be a rather unusual accident.
Can Guinea Pigs Climb Walls?
Whether it is a solid stone wall, a wooden wall, or a lattice wall, guinea pigs cannot climb it. Of course, this makes it easy for you to limit their run.
Even if it’s only a half-height boundary that the guinea pig could jump over, it’s unlikely that it would. Guinea pigs are cautious, they wouldn’t jump over something if they didn’t know what was behind it. After all, it could put itself in danger by doing so.
Are Guinea Pigs Afraid of Height?
While many rodents like to move in all three dimensions, guinea pigs prefer to stay on the ground. Some guinea pigs don’t even like to climb ramps.
Whether they are afraid of heights, as humans are, is hard to say. But it is already the case that they do not feel very comfortable at greater heights.
Maybe this is one of the reasons why guinea pigs don’t like to be lifted up. If you want to take your guinea pigs up, you have to get them used to it slowly. They will not do it voluntarily.
Guinea pigs are not typical cuddly animals. They do not normally cuddle with other pigs either. If you pick up a guinea pig, it is for the poor animal similar to being grabbed by a bird of prey. So it is uncomfortable and distressing for guinea pigs.
You may be able to get it used to be picked up with a lot of patience. And it may even stay on you voluntarily at some point. But this really requires a lot of time and patience.
Conclusion: Can Guinea Pigs Climb?
Guinea pigs are not climbers. They tend to live and move on the ground.
They are able to jump, but they do not master climbing. Their body is simply not designed for it. They have a long flat body and very short limbs that are just not suited for climbing.
This can be an advantage for you as the owner, as guinea pigs do not escape their cage as easily as other rodents. You can even leave the cage open at the top.
However, guinea pigs need enough space to move around. Remember that the guinea pig cage must have a sufficient size.
If you give your guinea pigs exercise, you can easily limit the area they are allowed to use. They will not usually jump over such a boundary.