It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s… Piggie?
Don’t be fooled by your little furry critter. He might seem sluggish and docile at times but that really isn’t the case. When a guinea pig feels safe in his environment, and when he is given the space to roam and place, he will happily romp, play and… jump?
Romp and play is one thing but can guinea pigs jump or climb? Yes, like many small animals, guinea pigs love to jump, climb, and explore. In fact, happy guinea pigs like to “popcorn.” Popcorning is a behavior typically exhibited by happy guinea pigs. Let’s explore some jumping and climbing behavior along with setting up a happy piggie environment. Because who doesn’t want to see more of this. Fair warning – there are going to be some adorable videos in this article. I can’t help myself.
Provide your guinea pig with a spacious cage
If you keep your guinea pig in a tiny cage and he doesn’t get out much for exercise, you are really doing him a real disservice. Guinea pigs absolutely love to get out and stretch, and they also love to play and climb.
When guinea pigs are given enough room, they will be very active. Though they might not be as quick and nimble as a hamster or a rat, a guinea pig may surprise you with how active he can be.
Guinea pigs like to climb up ramps and stairs. They do this for exercise but also because they love to have an adventure and then observe their surroundings.
When given the opportunity and a safe place to do so, guinea pigs can actually jump about three or four inches (sometimes more ????) which means that if you have a multi-level cage, they can easily make it from one level to the next.
When you purchase a cage for your guinea pig, make sure that you choose one with a flat roof so that your pet can use it as a place to sit and rest if he desires. If your guinea pig’s cage is tall enough, you can add extra levels and steps by inserting wooden boards. Your guinea pig will delight in the opportunity to move about his cage freely during the day.
Have some fun outside!
You might think of a guinea pig as an indoor-only pet. Not so. Under the right conditions, guinea pigs love to explore the great outdoors!
Your little furry friend can benefit from approximately three or four hours of play per day, so being outside makes it very easy for him to jump, climb, explore and get plenty of that much-needed activity.
And yes, another adorable jumping video:
If you have more than one guinea pig, you’ll also delight in watching them play and explore together.
Extended time outdoors might be the right time to bring out that drinking bowl to keep cavy hydrated.
A word of caution
Cavies love to jump and climb around but they don’t want to get hurt either. So, help your pet by providing a safe environment that allows him to climb and to jump short distances.
Never encourage or expect your cavy to jump more than a few inches, as this can result in serious injury and can shorten your pet’s life considerably.
Use caution when leaving young children alone with your guinea pig. Children don’t always understand limits, and though your cavy can run and play and scuddle about, it is important that play be on his terms and in a safe environment.
Proper supervision of your pet and children will ensure that neither is put into a dangerous situation that you will later regret.
When it comes to climbing and ramps, be sure you keep the gradient shallow. You might consider wrapping it with some fleece or a towel so your cavy can get good traction on that climb to the second floor.
Finally, if the climb on the ramp is making you nervous, you can always use one with side guards to prevent falling.
Guinea pigs are good little jumpers, climbers, “popcorn-ers”, and explorers. Be sure they have a large enough cage to let some of that energy free when you’re not home. When you are home, have some fun with your cavy. As long as you exercise caution and always supervise children.
So what are you waiting for? Get outside with your cavy for a game of hide and seek – they will love it and so will you!
Zooplus Magazine – Keeping your guinea pig outside
Exotic Direct Pets – When can guinea pigs go outside? Temperature, security and other care advice
The Humane Society of the United States – Guinea pig housing