Guinea pigs are naturally prey animals, which is a big part of the reasoning behind the skittish, anxious behavior that they tend to display. Because of this, you may be wondering: Why do guinea guinea pigs like to hide so much?
Why do guinea pigs like to hide?
A large number of behaviors that guinea pigs tend to display come from the fact that they are trying to keep themselves safe from predators. Even though they are living in your home with you and there are technically no predators for them to worry about, protecting themselves and being cautious is what makes them feel safe until they become more comfortable around you and are more accustomed to their surroundings.
Even when that time comes, your guinea pig is still going to hide and lurk comfortably in the darker corners of their cage—it’s just in their nature, and we wouldn’t take it too personally! Just like humans, we each have our own safe space, a spot in our home where we can decompress and feel comfortable, and it’s the same thing with guinea pigs.
Those darker corners are their safe spaces, and we need to respect that. In fact, we should encourage it! We can make our guinea pigs more comfortable and happier by enabling the behaviors that make them feel safe. There are ways to encourage hiding in a way that is safe and that can give us peace of mind because we’ll create areas where they can hide on purpose, and we’ll always know where they are!
If you'd like to learn more about guinea pig behavior and learn more about what scares guinea pigs and how to make them feel more comfortable, check out this blog.
How do you encourage guinea pigs to hide?
By creating spots where guinea pigs can hide and placing these spots strategically around their cage, you’re also encouraging them to stay active! They’ll be more than happy to scurry from one hiding spot to another, and that will give them different areas of their cage to explore and help them exercise!
The easiest way to encourage and enable your guinea pig to hide is to give them hideys, of course! You can either make some with your old cardboard boxes, or you can buy hideys that were made for guinea pigs. While buying can help you use up your old boxes, you won’t know if the tape or ink is safe for your guinea pig!
Our GuineaDad Crunchy Condo cardboard hideys are a great option if you’d like to know with 100% certainty that your guinea pig hideys are guinea pig safe. Our hideys are made with non-toxic cardboard and food touch-safe ink, ensuring that all parts of it are safe! The tape that we include for assembly is water-activated, which is also safe for your guinea pigs. Because this hidey is edible, it’s great for maintaining your guinea pig’s teeth, since their chompers are constantly growing. Another plus? It comes in a pack of three!
If you’d like a hidey that’s even more durable, we have our GuineaDad Queen’s Castle, which is made up of solid wood that is also edible! It’s another way for your guinea pig to maintain their teeth while staying active and having fun. One feature that we find particularly important is that there is more than one entrance and exit. This ensures that the piggies aren’t able to block each other in or out, and it gives everyone access to the hidey in a safe manner.
GuineaDad Liners with Pockets
We’ve had some piggy parents wonder what the purpose of the pocket in our GuineaDad Liners and GuineaDad Premium Liners are for, and it’s for the piggies to hide in! We included the pocket because we like to keep the behavior of guinea pigs in mind when we’re creating our products. The pockets are the perfect hiding spot, and it can be even more fun for them if you tuck a hidey inside! This makes it so there are two spots within the pocket for the guinea pigs to tuck themselves into.
Once in a while, there might be a piggy that doesn’t know how to use the pocket to their advantage, and this is when you would tuck the hideys inside for them to understand that this is a place for them to hide and get comfortable. It’s nice and dark, as well as warm and safe.
Another plus is the fact that the Liners are super soft and cushioning, which means they’re gentle on your guinea pig’s feet and they’ll be more comfortable running around from one hiding spot to another!
Hiding is a good thing!
It gives guinea pigs their very own little safe space where they can get away and relax for a little bit, and they can come out for some cuddles or pets when they feel up to it! By enabling them to make themselves more comfortable, you’re allowing them to become accustomed to the environment around them, and they’ll bond with you and trust you even more than they already do.
Originally published 2022.10.24