Introduction: Simple, Cheap Guinea Pig Run
My daughter recently rescued a Guinea Pig which had been left inside its hutch in a shed. I decided to let it have some freedom by building it a large run.
This Instructable shows the steps to make a simple, cheap sectional run for a Guinea Pig or Rabbit.
The whole project cost me only £15. The nearest thing I can find to this run retails at about £60!
The materials you will need are:
6 Lengths of 2″x1″ smoothish sawn timber in 1.8M lengths.
32 2.5″ Countersunk wood screws.
3M x 60cm Wire Netting (Square holes, see photos).
16 Self tapping “eyes” with a 10mm or so hole. (see photos)
4 Coach bolts with nuts (4 inch or so).
Staple gun with U tacks or a hammer and a bag of U nails for attaching the netting.
Drill with 1.5mm wood bit and 4mm wood bit
Staple gun (mentioned above)
Cross blade screwdriver
Wire cutters for netting
Somewhere to cut your wood (table etc)
Right. lets get started!
Step 1: Cutting the Wood
The size of your run depends on the length of your netting and the length of the wood you have. There are no hard and fast measurements to this!
You now need to make a rectangular frame for the sides of your run.
Lay a length of your wood on the ground and lay the netting onto it starting about a half inch in from the left end of the wood and rolling the netting out along it so that when you chop the netting it will end a half inch from the right end of the wood. This gives you your run length. Chop the wood to this length.
My netting came in 1.5M lengths so both sides are going to be made 1.5M long.
Cut all your side lengths (4) from this piece, this will ensure that your sides are equal.
You need to decide how high you want your run to be now, I estimated 30cm high as my netting is 60cm wide. You are basically making a long rectangle with netting for the middle.
Step 2: Assembling the Sides
Ok now we have all the bits to make the sides.
Drill two holes using your 4mm drill bit through the ends of the longest parts of your wood, close enough to put two screws through to attach the uprights of your sides.
Do this on all the sides in preperation for the next step.
Assemble the sides and uprights using your long wood screws.
Your side frame should now look like a long mirror frame without the mirror.
Step 3: Fixing the Netting to the Frame
You can now attach the netting to the frame using your U nails or staple gun.
Lay the netting on one end lining it up with the marks you made and stick a couple of staples in the end to hold it in place. Lay the netting out along the frame stapling/nailing as you go making sure the netting is taught.
Once you have stapled your netting down, trim the excess off with your wire cutters (take care, the ends are sharp! – trust me!)
Hammer down the ends of the netting where you have just snipped it to dull sharp ends and sink them into the wood.
The netting goes on the outside of your run so there is no risk of the little critter getting caught and reduces the chance of climbing.
You should end up with a frame with neat netting on the sides as in the final photo in this step.
Repeat this for the other side.
Step 4: Assemble the End Pieces
You can now assemble the end pieces.
They are essentially the same as the sides but mine were 1M making the run a rectangle.
Once you have assembled your sides and ends you can now fix the sections together using your self tapper eyes, coach bolts and nuts.
Arrange your sides and ends so that the netting is on the outside.
Mark the position for your eyes on the ends of each panel so that the eyes on one panel are slightly above or below the ones on the next panel as in the photo.
Drill some pilot holes using your 1.5mm drill bit (asuming the thread of the eyes are more than 1.5mm) and screw in the eyes just far enough so the thread doesnt show. The eyes should stick out slightly to give some fixing room.
Align the panels at 90 degrees to each other and slot in the coach bolts as in the photo.
Your run is now assembled!
Step 5: Finished! Content Guinea Pig.
Thats the run finished!
Our Guinea Pig doesnt really climb much but if yours likes to climb then the addition of some wood on the top inner edge to make an internal overhang should stop them escaping! (works on prisons!) or you could make a top frame.
Placed on some nice lush grass (not like mine!) then they are happy to graze all day.
Another nice feature of this run is that it can be dissasembled and folded away when not in use. The sides are a little indipendent of each other so they compensate for the uneven ground.
Another good idea may be to peg the run down so a strong Cavie or rabbit cant nuzzle under it. One of the comments for this ible suggested putting netting over the top to stop cats getting at the Cavie, I have used (but not shown) two halves of a metal fire guard which makes a neat lid with a flap in it for access and a cross member for support.
I am certainly no joiner (electronics engineer so not much wood!) but I enjoyed making this and it was really easy and cheap.
2 People Made This Project!
Did you make this project? Share it with us!
Although guinea pigs are small creatures, they need plenty of space to run around.
Providing them with spacious housing and a secure outdoor run will help keep them active, happy and healthy.
Guinea pigs can live indoors or outdoors – there are pros and cons to each.
Keeping guinea pigs indoors
Indoor cages can come in large sizes – but they’re often very cumbersome and leave little opportunity for you to be creative with the environment.
If you’re thinking of keeping indoor guinea pigs, look out for modular cage ranges like those offered by C&C. They’re more flexible and more suited to empty spaces in your home – plus relatively low cost and easy to make.
- Pros of indoor guinea pigs: your piggies are likely to become more confident around you and being hand fed. You’re more likely to spot health concerns, and these may even be reduced as they will be in a dry, warm environment with a reduced risk of fungal and respiratory issue. They’ll also be safe from wild predators and bad weather
- Cons of indoor guinea pigs: it may be tricky to find a room that gives your guinea pigs quiet time. If you have cats or dogs they’re more likely to watch the piggies and cause them stress. They will have reduced opportunities to graze on grass, as they will need to acclimatise to the outside temperatures. You may also be allergic to their bedding.
Keeping guinea pigs outdoors
There are many hutches available in pet stores and online. However, many are very poorly made and often fall apart within the first two years. Consider investing a little more with a welfare approved hutch company where the hutch is made of strong wood with suitable bolts on the doors.
Double level hutches are not ideal for guinea pigs. Although some will use both levels, most only end up using one. They’re also at risk of falling down the ramp or floor hole when they are elderly and less mobile.
Consider using sheds or Wendy Houses
Whatever hutch you choose, try to place it inside a shed or well ventilated out building with natural daylight. This will keep your guinea pigs safe from predators and warm in the winter.
In fact, wooden Wendy Houses or garden sheds make an ideal home for your guinea pigs, especially if you have a group. Sheds can easily be converted with mesh doors and a step over barrier to stop them escaping. The shed offers more floor space for the guinea pigs and suits families who want to socialise with their guinea pigs but may be put off by the weather.
- Pros of outdoor guinea pigs: they will have a larger living area if you use a Wendy House or shed, and a calmer, quieter area away from determined pets such as dogs and cats. It’s easier to allow them to graze throughout the year, as they will be more acclimatised to the weather. It’s also safer if anyone in your home suffers from allergies
- Cons of outdoor guinea pigs: you’ll have less opportunity to socialise with your guinea pigs. They’re more likely to have health issues that go unnoticed for longer periods, and are at risk of wild predators such as foxes, stoats and rats. A risk of them becoming cold and damp during winter and overheating during the summer.
Ideal enclosure sizes for a pair of guinea pigs
Whether you choose an indoor or an outdoor set up, here’s how much space your piggies will need. Males often prefer a slightly larger space to avoid squabbles. Groups of four or more guinea pigs need a larger indoor set up or a converted shed or Wendy House.
- Hutch or indoor cage – 5 ft long by 2 ft deep (153 cm by 61 cm)
- Run for the garden – 6 ft long by 4 ft wide by 18 inches high (2 m by 1.25 m by 46 cm).
All guinea pigs need a garden run
Guinea pigs are naturally grazing animals. Weather permitting, they need a minimum of 4-6 hours a day on grass or with access to a good mixture of safe garden plants. Guinea pigs who are confined to a hutch for long periods of time are more likely to suffer health conditions and potentially fight with their companions.
The garden run needs to be secure, have a lid and be well-built to prevent predators and young children trying to climb in when you’re not able to supervise.
Metal folding runs and A-frames are not suitable for guinea pigs. Metal runs don’t often have a secure lid and are flimsy against predators and weather. A-frames often only have one door so rounding up the guinea pigs can be very tricky – and they’re rarely available in the required minimum size.
Your guinea pigs will need at least three hiding areas or tunnels within their run. They don’t feel safe grazing in open spaces and will often hide in one corner or under the only shelter if they don’t have several options to move between.
Building your own: what you need to know
If you’re considering building your own guinea pig accommodation, it’s vital you use the right materials. Here are a few things to bear in mind before you start building:
- Chicken wire is not suitable for animal housing. It is too weak and easy for your piggies to damage and escape from
- Use small gauge, strong welded mesh. The mesh should be nailed or heavy-duty stapled on to prevent your guinea pigs from forcing the mesh from the framework
- Outdoor hutches, sheds and runs will need secure bolts placed on the doors, not swivel latches. Predators and young children can easily open swivel latches or flimsy bolts
- Run lids will need to be strong enough to withhold a predator or windblown items landing on them. Ideally, make the roof in three sections with a supporting beam to aid the strength and prevent dipping in the middle
- Cable ties are not suitable for tying run panels together. The hutch or run must be secured with suitable wood screws
- Plastic children’s play houses are not suitable for guinea pig housing
- Chicken coops or plastic pods are not suitable for guinea pigs – the housing area is often very small and can become damp and mouldy. It’s also a very limited space if the run area is too wet.
Make assembling your Omlet product easy and get it right first time by watching these brilliant step by step guides. Taking you through each part and how to assemble it, you can pause, rewind and follow Omlet’s expert installer in real time for complete peace of mind.
How to build a WIR 2x2x1 and 2x any length x 1
Click to download manual
How to build a WIR 2x2x2 and 2x any length x 2
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How to add an extension to a WIR
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Always and Never Products for Your Cavy
Guinea pigs, also called cavies, need certain basics to ensure their health and happiness at home. Most people think that you can just get a guinea pig, some pellet food, a cage and you are done. However, that is not the case. A guinea pig requires hay in its diet and vitamin C to survive. Always provide it.
Likewise, there are two pet products that are very common toys for other small mammals and rodents that you should never buy your guinea pig. An exercise ball or running wheel are downright dangerous for guinea pigs.
Always Have Hay Available
If you’re not experienced with guinea pigs, you might think that a pellet labeled as a complete diet is all your new little piggy needs. Unfortunately, if you only feed pellets, then you are leaving out a critical part of your pet’s diet.
All adult guinea pigs need an unlimited amount of good quality timothy hay. Not only is the hay a food, but it also makes your pet chew much more than simply eating pellets can accomplish. Hay wears down your animal’s constantly growing teeth and helps prevent dental problems.
If you have a pregnant, nursing guinea pig, ill older guinea pig, or a baby under 6 months old, you will want to feed alfalfa hay. Give all other piggies timothy hay since alfalfa is too rich in calcium and can cause health problems.
You do not need to buy a fancy type of timothy hay with herbs, dried fruit, or vegetables added. Those additions are on a par with human junk food. They have little if any nutritional value and the fruit is high in sugar. Get fresh, plain, good quality hay and feed your guinea pig vitamin-rich fresh vegetables separately.
Timothy hay also gives you many opportunities to enrich your guinea pig, and you can feed it in a variety of ways. Try stuffing it into cardboard tubes saved from toilet paper rolls or fill up a small paper bag. Or clear a spot in the cages and let each of guinea pig have a pile of hay in which to play.
You can also try a hay ball, but take off the roller frame that comes with it because that can be dangerous for piggies.
Guinea pigs, like humans, cannot manufacture vitamin C. Choose a pellet enriched with this important vitamin, and check the date on the bag to make sure the food is fresh. Vitamin C degrades quickly, so your guinea pig’s main source should come from fresh vegetables and fruits provided daily. Additionally, vitamin C tablets are great ways to increase vitamin C intake on a daily basis. Otherwise, your pet risks developing scurvy.
Never Use Exercise Balls and Wheels
Movies like “G-Force” feature guinea pigs in exercise balls and running wheels. This may look cute, but it is terribly misleading. Exercise balls and wheels are deadly for guinea pigs.
These activities may be appropriate for some pocket pets like rats, mice, gerbils, and hamsters, but they should never be used for guinea pigs. Even if the product says on the package that it is designed for guinea pigs, do not believe the marketing.
Guinea pigs have a different anatomy, and they can badly injure their backs with an exercise ball or wheel. Also, exercise balls are also too enclosed and do not provide enough air circulation which can lead to heat stroke. This condition is often fatal for guinea pigs.
If you want your guinea pig to safely get enough exercise, buy the largest possible cage and give your pet floor time in a safe area. Or provide exercise in a X-pen setup so they can safely roam around.
Lap time is also an important part of a guinea pig’s day. Although not all piggies are cuddly, many love time out of their cage to sit on their owners’ laps. Always hold your guinea pig in a towel to protect yourself from potty accidents.
Gone are the days when guinea pig owners would keep their pets alone in a hutch in the backyard with little interaction with the family or socialisation.
Now many owners are choosing to keep their guineas inside as part of the family. All guinea pigs need a palace fit for royalty – read on for our best DIY tips for creating one for your pet.
Indoor living guineas have many advantages. For one, it is easier to control their environment as you don’t need to deal with the elements outdoors. Having your GPs indoors also means they get to be more involved with the action and spend precious time with their favourite humans.
Despite being small animal, guinea pigs need a lot of room to exercise and run around to be happy pigs, and for this reason are suited best to large accommodation. Exercise is very important for healthy guinea pigs; their best way of getting the exercise they need is to run laps around their housing. If their area is too small they will get bored and are at risk of serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
A house fit for a piggie Queen or King
Indoor accommodation for your guinea pig can be fun and easy to create. It is also a great excuse to get creative and to build a perfect haven for your beloved companion.
Most hutches found at pet stores are far too small for your guinea pigs to be able to display natural behaviours and live the life they deserve.
To create a perfect and tailor-made house for your guineas then you may consider building a ‘C&C’ cage. A relatively new concept compared to the standard hutch, a ‘C&C’ cage stands for cubes and coroplast. Cubes refers to the metal grid system that forms the cage structure, and coroplast is the plastic ‘tray’ that forms the base of the cage.
Building your own C&C cage
The materials to build your cage can be easily sourced online or at hardware stores. To build a C&C cage, you will need a sheet of coroplast big enough to form the base of your cage, and the metal grid ‘cubes’ to form the walls. We recommend the following as preferred minimum sizing to adhere to ensure your guinea has all the space they need (dependant on the number of guinea pigs):
- 1 guinea pig: Area – 0.7sq m / Grids – 2×3 grids / Size – 76×91cm
- 2 guinea pigs: Area – 0.7sq m / Grids – 2×4 grids / Size – 76×127cm
- 3 guinea pigs: Area – 1sq m / Grids – 2×5 grids / Size – 76×157cm
- 4 guinea pigs: Area – 1.2sq m / Grids – 2×6 grids / Size – 76×193cm
The structure and soft furnishings inside your DIY guinea pig house can be made from easily sourced and inexpensive materials. All that is required is some time, a few basic tools and some imagination. It’s the perfect way to get creative and put your own touch on the space. Whether it is an L-shape or using different levels, building your own creation means you can have it just how you want it.
Undoubtedly the best part is seeing your piggies run around squeaking with joy at something you created for them.
The best location for your guinea pig house is a room that isn’t too warm or prone to becoming damp, as GPs don’t cope well in these conditions. Choose somewhere safe away from other pets and loud noises, but close to the family.
The best bedding
Now you have your guinea pigs’ house built, it’s time to make it a home. When exploring bedding options remember that, above all, it needs to be absorbent as guinea pigs don’t use litter trays like rabbits. Common bedding options include recycled shredded paper, wood-shavings, and layered towels and fleecing. Just be sure to avoid any wood shavings that might have a high content of volatile oils or preservatives as these can be poisonous.
Both wood shaving and shredded paper are single-use and will need to be disposed of and replaced when they are soiled.
Using layered towels and fleecing can be more efficient as these can simply be washed and re-used. You can get creative with colours and patterns of fleecing and create a unique piggie palace to suit your guineas’ personalities.
It’s all about the detail
Once you’ve created the foundations, you can move onto the furnishings for your guineas’ pad.
Guinea pigs need lots of stimulation and entertainment; the more for them to do, the better. They love running around, darting in and out of tunnels, up and down ramps and snuggling away in hiding-holes.
Tunnels can be made to any length to suit their new house and can be made from plastic or material. These can easily be made from left over fleece blankets wrapped around cardboard.
Create your own ramps that lead to a higher part of the cage. These can be made out of safe-to-use wood or plastic.
These materials can also be used to create small platforms or igloo style dens for the guineas to hide in. Take note that your guinea pigs will need an area within their new house to hide away and sleep in. This could be a ‘hutch’ that is placed in a corner of the accommodation or a purpose-built undercover section.
As long as the house and materials you use for your guinea pigs’ accommodation are safe and pose no risks to their health or wellbeing, you can set up their new home however you choose. Section it off or keep it flat with more floor space; it’s up to you. As long as the GPs have plenty of room and stimulation, they will be happy and living a wonderful life.
For more information about creating a guinea pig palace, visit these websites:
Most cages marketed for guinea pigs are way too small. Guinea pigs need appropriate room to roam, with separate spaces for a nest, bathroom area and food and water. No animal is meant to live in a cage all the time, so make sure to provide your pig with time outside their enclosures at least once a day to stretch their legs, explore and exercise.
Why size matters
Guinea pigs are one of the largest rodents kept as pets and yet their typical cage is only marginally roomier than housing for much smaller relatives like hamsters and gerbils.
While small animal cages often utilize vertical space to increase living area and encourage climbing, digging and burrowing, guinea pigs do not jump or climb and rely solely on floor space. Ramps and platforms at low heights provide variety, but guinea pigs need room to exercise, even with daily playtime outside of the cage.
The following recommendations are meant to serve as guidelines to help you determine how much space you need for your guinea pig(s). Your local humane society or guinea pig rescue organization may have minimal caging requirements that differ from those listed here.
The sides of your guinea pig enclosure must be at least 12” high and the top may be open, so long as other household pets do not have access to it. Many guinea pig rescue organizations recommend “C&C” cages, which are enclosures made from cubes and coroplast, a corrugated plastic. Plastic tubs, glass aquariums and cages with wire floors are NOT acceptable as guinea pig housing.
- One guinea pig: 7.5 square feet, or about 30”x 36”, is the bare minimum recommended, but bigger is better. (Keep in mind that guinea pigs are highly social, so it is best to have at least two guinea pigs who get along with each other.)
- Two guinea pigs: 7.5 square feet (minimum), but at least 10.5 square feet (30” x 50”) is preferred.
- Three guinea pigs: 10.5 square feet (minimum), but at least 13 square feet (30” x 62”) is preferred.
- Four guinea pigs: 13 square feet (minimum), but at least 30” x 76” is preferred.
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Benefits to your guinea pig
Roomier cages offer many advantages that will be enjoyed by both you and your pig:
- Larger enclosures are one of the most basic types of enrichment you can provide. Guinea pigs can live five to seven years and can become bored and depressed without adequate stimulation. Imagine spending your whole life in a walk-in closet; even with occasional breaks, life would be pretty dreary.
- Adequate room to exercise means that your guinea pigs are less likely to develop medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, bumblefoot and anal impaction—saving your guinea pigs pain and suffering, and minimizing your veterinary bills.
- With a roomier enclosure, guinea pigs can exercise on their schedule, not yours. Guinea pigs tend to be most active in the morning and evening when it may not be convenient to take them out for playtime.
- Larger digs increase the likelihood of peaceful co-existence among multiple guinea pigs (and since guinea pigs are social animals, they do best when housed together).
- Larger spaces are actually easier to clean because they prevent the build-up of waste and allow guinea pigs to separate their bathroom area from other activities.
- With the opportunity to express a wider range of natural behaviors, your guinea pigs will be happier and it will be easier to get to know their personalities.
- For bedding, cedar and pine shavings are NOT recommended due to chemicals they both contain. Especially when soiled, these aromatic wood shavings can produce fumes that irritate a guinea pig’s respiratory system and feet. Use bedding made from paper. Provide two to three inches of bedding so absorption is maximized.
Location is key
Once you’ve selected the right housing for your guinea pigs, you’ll need to determine where in your home they will live. Here are some factors to consider:
Temperature: The ideal temperature range for guinea pigs is approximately 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Guinea pig housing should be located away from strong heat sources such as direct sun, wood stoves, fireplaces and heating vents. Guinea pigs cannot sweat when they become too warm and are particularly susceptible to heat stroke.
Don’t put your guinea pig’s cage in an unheated room, breezeway, garage or other chilly location. Place the cages in a draft-free area (i.e. away from doors and windows and on an elevated surface).
Guinea pigs don’t do well under humid conditions. Dampness promotes the growth of mold in their hay and bedding and can make guinea pigs more prone to sickness.
Activity level: Guinea pigs enjoy being near family activity and benefit from more attention when they’re easy to see and hear. A family room or living room works well, but make sure your pigs have a place to retreat if they need some quiet time.
Noise: Guinea pigs have very sensitive hearing and their cages should not be placed next to stereos, televisions or other loud noises.
For sanitary reasons, don’t keep your guinea pig’s cage in your kitchen or other area where food is prepared.
Make sure your guinea pig’s cage is safe from other pets who may see them as prey.
If you have young children, put the cage in an area where you can control access and supervise child-guinea pig interactions.
Reasons to avoid the great outdoors
An outdoor hutch was once considered acceptable housing for guinea pigs. But keeping a pet outside robs them of regular interaction with the family. Outdoor exercise for guinea pigs should be supervised to reduce risks and for short periods of time in good weather.
Checking in with your local humane society or guinea pig rescue group about different housing options is always a good idea if you’re unsure about what’s best for your pig!
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January 12, 2022
Few things can be more discouraging than reaching out to pet your guinea pig only for them to run and hide. You’re only trying to show them affection! In this article, we’ll cover some of the reasons why your guinea pig might be running away from you, and some suggestions on how to address this behavior.
Reasons your guinea pig runs away from you may include:
1) Your guinea pig is a prey species.
Your guinea pig’s wild ancestors evolved the behavior to run and hide at the first sign of a predator. This behavior kept them safe from being another animal’s dinner! Any guinea pig that had this behavioral advantage likely lived longer and could reproduce more often, passing on this behavior to their offspring.
Even though guinea pigs have been domesticated for a few centuries now, as a species they have been hard-wired over time to run and hide when they’re uncomfortable or anxious. Any situation that feels unfamiliar to your pet can trigger the instinct to flee. A behavior that’s been passed on for countless generations can be hard to change!
2) Your guinea pig isn’t used to affection.
Whether your pet is young and needs some socialization, or your pet is older and didn’t receive enough socialization in their early years, one of the biggest reasons guinea pigs run away at the sight of hands is that they’re simply not used to them. It will take time on your part, but it is entirely possible to get your guinea pig used to being pet, and even being picked up.
3) Your guinea pig may not entirely trust you.
While this can be hard to hear, an important step to building a trusting bond with your pet is knowing that they don’t fully trust you at this moment. It could be because you haven’t worked with them enough yet to establish a strong bond, or maybe you have tricked or deceived them a few times (more on this in the second section!).
4) Your guinea pig might be a bit of a diva.
If you’ve had your pet for a long time and they aren’t always receptive to being pet, this isn’t necessarily a failing of yours. Some guinea pigs are more “sassy” than others, and will only allow affection on their own terms, and sometimes only from their favorite people.
If your pet is a diva, rather than feeling frightened or unsure, they might not run away—your pet may simply dodge your hand by taking only one or two steps back, rather than hiding all the way in the back of their enclosure. Some guinea pigs with an independent personality just need their space, and that’s okay!
Ways to work around this hard-wired behavior:
1) (Healthy) food is the way to your guinea pig’s heart.
Guinea pigs are one of the most food-motivated animals out there. Especially if your guinea pig is a new member of the household, offering food to your pet multiple times throughout the day can go a long way to building trust.
Each time you offer them food and the interaction is positive, the connection between “you” and “receiving food” is reinforced in your guinea pig’s mind. The food you give your guinea pig doesn’t have to be a treat, either—seed heads from hay can be a favorite offering. To accelerate bonding, you should set aside time every day to offer individual fortified food pellets by hand, rather than pouring their food into a bowl and leaving your pet to eat by themselves. Fresh greens that are appropriate for guinea pigs, such as cilantro, are also huge motivators.
2) Keep an engaging, somewhat predictable environment.
While new guinea pigs benefit from calm environments as they’re adjusting to their new home, guinea pigs that are more accustomed to their families can benefit from observing the regular activity of the household. Keeping your guinea pigs in a central area of the house, such as a family room, lets your pet learn the various sounds and smells of the home. This also gives them the chance to study their humans and their behaviors. While they may run away when encountering new stimuli at first, you’re likely to find that they’ll become accustomed to your daily schedule when they realize these regular sounds, sights, and smells don’t pose a threat. Your guinea pig’s improved acclimatization to the unfamiliar, paired with their new location in the house, makes it all the easier for you to give affection to your pet every time you walk by their enclosures.
3) Don’t trick your pet!
While it can be tempting to use food to trick your pet into picking them up, try to avoid doing this unless there’s an emergency such as a natural disaster.
Providing food first, and then picking up your pet (something many prey species instinctively don’t like), will eventually change the association in their brains that food from you might mean an unenjoyable interaction is soon to follow. It takes lots of practice, but over time you will learn your pet’s specific idiosyncrasies, making it easier to pick them up. Always make sure that the unenjoyable interaction of being picked up comes first, with food provided after to make the experience end on a positive note. Learn about how to properly hold small animals here.
As with all exotic species, the investment of your time is essential to building a healthy bond with your pet. Armed with the understanding of your guinea pig’s behavior, in the coming months you should see that your pet sticks around a moment for some affection.
Housing your guinea pig
Proper housing plays a major role in the maintenance of healthy guinea pigs. The well-being of the animals must be a primary consideration.
What sort of housing should I provide for my guinea pig?
Guinea pigs can be housed within several different designed enclosures, the most suitable being:
- Wooden hutch with a wire front and/or sides with or without a connected run.
- An indoor plastic cage.
- A custom made house made from a plastic base and metal sides – many guinea pig enthusiasts have these now (see pic above).
Wire mesh floored cages are not suitable to use of guinea pigs due to their delicate feet and can cause bumble foot and injuries to their legs.
The minimum space required for two guinea pigs as advised by the RSPCA is 120 x 60 cm (4 x 2 ft), but more space is ideal. The enclosure can be open at the top, provided the sides are at least 7-8 inches high to prevent escape, but care should be taken to provide safety from other household pets such as cats and dogs. Enclosures that provide solid flooring and an adequate supply of a preferred bedding are best for guinea pigs. They should be easy to clean, well-lit and adequately ventilated. Plastic topped cages are not ideal as they do not provide adequate ventilation and can cause ammonia build up within the enclosure, leading to respiratory problems.
Guinea pigs seem most comfortable when they are spared exposure to excessive noise, needless excitement and other stresses. Sudden movement should also be prevented. Guinea pigs have 2 types of reactions when startled by a loud noise or sudden movement or when placed in a strange environment, they may “freeze” completely motionless (for up to 20 minutes), or they may panic; panic involves erratic running and leaping, often accompanied by shrill squealing. Groups of guinea pigs may stampede in a circle, often trampling the younger residents within the enclosure.
Guinea pigs should never be housed with rabbits, mainly because they both have different dietary requirements, rabbits may injure a guinea pig unintentionally by kicking, a rabbit might bully a guinea pig, and both species communicate in different ways so they won’t necessarily ‘understand’ each other!
If, however, you already have a guinea pig and rabbit living together quite happily, it is best not to separate them as this could cause them both unnecessary stress and cause more problems than if they’re kept together.
Do they need to be housed indoors or outdoors?
The ideal environmental temperature range for a guinea pig is 18-24°C/65-75°F; this must be considered when choosing where to house your guinea pig.
If your guinea pig is going to be housed outdoors, they should be brought inside during the winter months or at the very least moved into a heated shout or outhouse as they do not withstand drops in temperature. Outside hutches should be sheltered from the rain and not in constant direct sunlight to prevent overheating.
What bedding should I use?
Bedding must be clean, non-toxic, absorbent, relatively dust-free and easy to replace.
Wood shavings made from pine or cedar should be avoided as they have been linked to respiratory irritation and skin irritation in some rodent species.
Hay, straw and paper based bedding can be used. Some owners prefer to use vetbed or fleece and/or towels as bedding, but these should be washed on a regular basis.
What should I put in the cage?
Guinea pigs are prey species and should always be provided with somewhere safe to hide away if they feel threatened; ensure they have hides such as igloos, tunnels or log bridges. Guinea pigs also like their creature comforts, and will appreciated either an area of deep hay to sleep on, or fabric beds to curl up in.
Hay can be offered in many ways, but by offering it in a rack this reduces the amount the guinea pig urinates and defecates on it.
Water can be offered in either a bottle dripper or a bowl, or both! Pelleted food can also be offered in a bowl or scattered on the floor.
How often should I clean the cage?
The frequency with which the enclosure is cleaned depends on its design, the materials out of which it is made, and the number of guinea pigs that reside within in.
As a general rule of thumb, the enclosure and all cage “furniture” should be cleaned and disinfected once a week. Food and water containers should be cleaned and disinfected once a day. More than one set of containers should be maintained, and the soiled set should be washed in a dishwasher, if possible.
Vigorous scrubbing of the enclosure and “furniture” with hot water and soap and a thorough rinse should be followed by use of a disinfectant. Vinegar is often required to remove the scale deposited by the crystalline urine of guinea pigs.
A guinea pig run is the perfect way to let your pets exercise outdoors without running the risk of them escaping, getting lost, or eating your flowers. It is essentially a large cage which you place on the grass to give them plenty of space to explore, but whilst being enclosed in a safe area.
Guinea pig runs are generally made from a large, lightweight wooden frame, with wire mesh filling the gaps between the struts. Because of this simple construction, they are very light, and also provide your pets with lots of fresh air and sunlight. Many runs have a built in living area at one end, which allows your cavies to shelter from the sun or rain, or just get some rest after all their running around.
Wooden guinea pig runs provide plenty of space to exercise.
You can also buy runs which are made from galvanised metal, similar to the bars of a normal cage. These provide exactly the same features as a wooden run, and can even be slightly lighter. Also, while wooden runs tend to just be square, metal runs come in a few different shapes, such as those with circular walls. This makes no practical diffence, so you should buy whichever you prefer and suits your pigs’ needs best.
Manufacturers will often provide their runs in flat-pack form for ease of transporting. This does mean that you will need to assemble it when you get it home, but this is very straightforward, and all of the necessary tools, fasteners, and instructions will be included in the box.
When buying a run, make sure it has a hinged door on the top, for quick and easy access to your guinea pigs. Most runs have these as standard, but some of the cheaper ones don’t, and it can be a real challenge trying to lift your run up and grab one pig without the others escaping! Bear in mind that your pigs could potentially climb out through this door, and predators could use it to get in. To protect against these dangers, make sure the door can be secured with a clip or catch.
The hinges (labelled) allow the top of this run to be opened, providing easy access without risk of your pets escaping.
A typical guinea pig run is in the region of 1.2 metres (4ft) along each side, and 30 cm (1 ft) in height, but as with cages, the bigger the better. The more space you give your pigs, the more exercise and adventure they can get, and the more they will enjoy their run time. Pay particular attention to the height of the run – guinea pigs like to jump up and down (an activity called ‘popcorning’), and they will need space above their heads to do this.
Guinea pig runs provide multiple benefits to your pets. First and foremost, they get plenty of exercise, which will keep them fit and healthy, and help them burn off any excess fat. A slimmer, fitter guinea pig is better equipped to fight off illnesses, and is also noticeably more active and lively, making it more enjoyable to own.
Secondly, guinea pigs have an adventurous side, and love to explore their surroundings. A large run will allow them to do this, and you can even give them a selection of toys and obstacles to make things even more interesting.
Finally, you will find that your pets love to chew on grass while they are in their run. This aids digestion and helps to keep their gut healthy.
You should always place your guinea pigs’ run on a soft surface, as their delicate feet can be easily damaged on hard or rough ground. During the summer months, place the run on your garden’s lawn to provide cushioning for your animals’ feet, and something for them to chew on. Be sure to put the run on even ground, or you may find that there are gaps under the bottom of the frame which are big enough for your cavies to escape.
When the weather allows, put yours cavies’ run outside on grass. This gives them a soft surface and something tasty to chew on. Image by Nick Busse.
If possible, you want to place the run out of direct sunlight. However, due to its sheer size, it can be difficult to find a shady patch large enough. Try to get at least part of the run in shadows, so that your pigs have a place to shelter if they get too hot. They can also hide in the run’s built-in shelter if it has one.
From time to time, you should move your pigs’ run to a different location. This will give them some fresh grass to chew on and help stop your lawn getting a bald patch!
In the winter, the ground outside is too cold for your guinea pigs to walk on, and the poor weather and cold wind makes conditions unsuitable for outside exploration. However, you can still use your run inside if you have a large enough room. Again, you should put the run on a soft surface – carpet is ideal, or you can cover a hard floor with towels and sheets to make it suitable to use.
Using a guinea pig run really couldn’t be simpler – just set it up, pop your pets in, and let them roam free. It can be tempting to put them in and then leave them alone, but you should really supervise them at all times. This will allow you to react quickly if one tries to escape, and it will also help to keep any predators away. You should never leave your guinea pigs in their run overnight – they will be scared, susceptible to the weather, and prone to attack by predators such as badgers and foxes.
You should never put your guinea pigs in their run with other animals, such as rabbits. There is a danger that they may attack each other, or of a larger animal accidentally injuring a small one.
Combined Hutches and Runs
As well as dedicated runs, there are a number of products for sale on the market which combine a hutch and run to provide an all-in-one housing solution. These generally come in two types.
The first type consists of a hutch with a run underneath it. The idea behind these is that they provide both areas without taking up any extra floor space. Unfortunately in most cases, neither area is big enough to properly serve its purpose, so ideally these should be avoided in favour of two separate, properly designed units.
If you decide to buy a combined hutch and run, make sure that both areas are large enough.
The second type has a full-sized hutch and a full-sized run attached side by side. These can be ok in the summer months, provided each is big enough to fulfil its role. However, in the winter you will need to detatch the run and seal up the adjoining hole to prevent your pets getting cold or wet. Additionally, a run is not very secure, and can provide an easy way for predators to break in and attack your animals.
Build Your Own
Because of their simple construction, anyone with some basic know-how and equipment can design and build their own guinea pig run. You can buy or create your own plans, which should consist of a simple wooden frame with supporting struts, which is covered in wire mesh. With just a few hours work you can build a run to your exact requirements, making it a very cheap and effective alternative to buying one.
A guinea pig run provides a convenient, effective way to exercise your pets and allow them to enjoy some fresh air. It should be considered an essential item, second only to a good-sized cage. By providing your pets with a large exercise area, you will help to keep them active, healthy, and contented.
Guinea pigs are tiny little pets, but they need a lot of space to be happy. Although these pets are small, they still need a lot of physical exercise and mental stimulation. While you cannot be with them every second of the day, there are things you can add to their cage to make them happy!
1. Carefresh or Similar Paper Substrate Fleece
On the bottom of any cage, there needs to be a material that catches the urine and feces of a guinea pig, while also being biodegradable. Guinea pigs are simple creatures that love little things like shredded paper.
These small critters can eat and chew the Carefresh or paper substrate fleece without feeling any negative effects since it is completely safe. This makes them happy by providing them with something to do and they can consume it without hurting their stomachs.
2. Paper Bags and Hiding Places
Technically, you can purchase a small bag and tape it to the inside of the cage, but it is more fun to make one. Fold the paper into the shape of a bag that can hold your guinea pig, based on their size and weight.
Your furry companion will have lots of fun jumping in and out of their new hiding place. This is a creative idea for people who like to do crafts and have the time to make the small accessories for the cage.
It is important that you only use paper! Guinea pigs like to chew on everything and if you use materials like metal or plastic, they can hurt their teeth or accidentally ingest it.
Adding tunnels is a great addition to your guinea pig habitat. In the wild, these animals make their own tunnels by digging. The tunnels should be large enough to just fit your guinea pig, they may not like it if it is too big. Tunnels need to feel tight.
4. Fresh Vegetables
Guinea pigs love fresh vegetables! These large nibbling animals enjoy fresh foods and will love you for putting it in their cages. Just be careful when adding vegetables. Try and slice them up into smaller chunks. For example, instead of providing your guinea pig with a large carrot, use baby carrots.
Also, vegetables can rot in your guinea pig’s cage. If you notice that they don’t like a specific type of food, eliminate it quickly. This way, you don’t attract bugs and bacteria that can harm your guinea pig.
5. A DIY Maze
Did you know that guinea pigs love mazes and are extremely active? They love to zoom around, and when happy they’ll “popcorn”. That’s guinea pig language for “cute little jumps in the air”. You can create a mini-DIY maze using household materials. Your pet will thank you for it!
A great way to start this project is to find paper towel rolls and combine them together with safe to eat tape. Try not to use glue as your furry friends will probably chew on their maze.
You can also purchase a maze from a store and attach it to your guinea pig’s cage to expand it. The larger it is, the more room your furry friend has to run around and stretch their legs. These lovable pets like having something to do and with a maze strengthen their mind and physical bodies.
To encourage your guinea pig to use the maze, you can add treats to the very end of the maze or entice them with toys. There are lots of jingling toys that make noise that attract guinea pigs. The noises stimulate their senses and gets their attention quickly.
6. Grass Chew Ball Treats
Who doesn’t love treats? Guinea pigs have sensitive stomachs and should only be fed a strict diet to ensure that they don’t have any digestive problems. This doesn’t mean treats are off the table, though! There are special grass chew ball treats made with ingredients high in fiber.
One of your guinea pig’s favorite things to do is chew! They like to eat and nibble on things to sharpen their teeth. These chew ball treats not only taste delicious and stimulate their senses but are also safe to consume! You should limit the treats though to ensure that they maintain a proper diet and remain healthy.
Guinea Pig Roundup
To recap, guinea pigs are great family pets that can provide years of enjoyment and happiness provided they receive the proper care. Our veterinarians recommend annual exams for your exotic companions! Remember, although small, guinea pigs need a large cage with lots of toys, tunnels and treats to keep them entertained. Overall, these cute pets don’t need a lot to be happy!
If you have any guinea pig questions, give our team at All Kinds Veterinary Hospital, animal hospital in Callaway, MD, a call at (301) 994-9919 .
I adopted my first guinea pig in 2016 and immediately fell in love with her sweet and spunky personality. My obsession began when I adopted my second Guinea pig two months later. I have not regretted it for one day. They are always there being cute and always happy to see me (I tell myself this, but I am sure they are always looking for food). I wanted to make their lives as fun and fulfilled as possible! They spend most of their lives in a cage, and since I am their owner, I should be providing them with everything they could ever need (and want) I started by thinking where I wanted them in my house and how to keep them safe from my cat. I went to Habitat for Humanity to find a tall table with ledges. First, try I saw it, and for only $10! I thought I would be waiting and shopping for weeks, but I got lucky.
If you cannot find an appropriate table, the floor is always fine (unless you have cats, dogs or small children that can harm the Guinea pigs). Stackable cubes for storage can also be used for caging and a table! Be sure it is stable! You can even make your table make it sturdy, and it is best if it has a lip on it (so poop doesn’t go flying out of it and the cage will fit MUCH better and won’t slide off the table). Next step was to gather the supplies to make the caging. The list is fluid so whatever works for you is okay. Be sure the cage is sturdy and extremely reinforced. Guinea pigs love running, jumping and pop-corning which causes lots of movement.
What you need:
- Zip ties and Large paper clips
- Wire cube caging (Amazon, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond)
- Foam mats for flooring
- Enrichment (Huts, fleece forests, Wood logs, tubes, soft beds, water bottle, food dish etc.)
Caging size is very important! Allow as much space as possible for your piggy friend to run and popcorn around. The more room they have, the more fun you will have to watch them (which increases their quality of life, and trust me, they will appreciate it!)
Take your time measuring and laying out the caging. Be accurate and safe with it. Since I used a table, I pre-made the grids and placed them on the table. Some did not fit on perfectly, so I overlapped them and used tons of zip ties. Once I had the first-floor outline done, I moved onto the second floor. I made the second floor and started adding the walls and roof. (Second floor is the roof on the first floor).
Once I had a general outline of what I wanted, I moved onto the ramp for them to run up. At first, I was going to use stairs, but I was nervous about my older guinea pig pulling something or taking a tumble.
I used a dollar store dish shelf to allow a smooth transition off of the ramp. They can jump on and off of the small jump (it is maybe 4 inches tall, and they can layer underneath it). I also made sure they were unable to jump off the sides of the ramps by using coroplast and extra caging.
Once the second floor and ramp were completed, I covered the grids with Coroplast (you can use a hard plastic) that I was able to zip tie to the caging to make sure it stayed in place while they ran on it. I also put a layer of Coroplast on the top floor to make sure their feet did not get stuck or fall through.
Be sure to use foam (puzzle pieces available at the dollar store) underneath your flooring of choice. It adds extra softness, and if they jump they have some form of cushion underneath and not a hard table. I put it directly on the table and have the caging over the top so the blankets cover it, and my guinea pigs cannot eat it! I also have a tablecloth over the foam to be sure no fluids can leak through the blanket and ruin the foaming in place. Once finished I made sure to make the cage as fun as possible by adding huts, hay sacks, clean water and food dishes (cleaned daily) and some fleece forests.
Since I use fleece for their flooring, I do spot cleans daily and every other day I change entirely out all bedding and carpet. Enriching your guinea pigs lives is extremely fun and enjoyable. Watching them run and squeal with excitement when you put new things in their cages is fantastic. Good luck and enjoy!
Order a Cavia run easily and quickly at DRD Rodent Shop ® The online Cavia Webshop for your Cavia!
The guinea pig run is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The run gives your guinea pigs more space and security. For a suitable guinea pig run you have come to the right place in our guinea pig webshop! You will find different types and brands of guinea pig run for an attractive price. Ordering is always easy and fast!
For a good run, it is best to connect several runs together. Trixie’s runs also allow for expansion by adding additional panels. That way you can make the run as big as you want. or rather as your guinea pigs want!
The run should be spacious enough to be able to walk around, run and of course popcorn!
The guinea pig can be used both outdoors and indoors. Anyone who thinks that the run is only intended for outdoor use is wrong, because guinea pigs also enjoy the run indoors. By connecting a run to an existing enclosure, you significantly increase the habitat of your guinea pigs.
The Guinea Pig would also like to have the following parts in the run:
Shelter to hide in
Hay to nibble on
Toys to have fun
We recommend filling the run with the above parts. The Cavia will certainly appreciate it. A furnished run is not only pleasant for the animals, but also provides activity! Toys can be, for example, intelligence toys, which the animals can play with.
You can do this if the Guinea pig is a bit shy
Guinea pigs can be shy when first placed in the run. This does not have to be the case with all Guinea pigs, because there are certainly also specimens that immediately love it and start snooping around curiously. However, we advise to put the animals at ease as much as possible by offering something to nibble on and the shelter options.
It can also help to initially place the run in the room where the accommodation and accommodation are located, the Guinea pigs will find that less scary than in a foreign environment. It may also help to place toys or other items of familiar housing in the run so that the animals can smell their own scent. Once the animals have become accustomed to the run in the familiar space, the run can also be placed in a different place.
Run outside for the Guinea pigs
If the run will be placed outside and the animals are not always supervised, it is very important that the run is properly closed so that other animals cannot reach it. This will be less common in urban areas, but in rural areas, predators (birds of prey, mink, foxes) can pass by and endanger the guinea pigs.
Run down in the grass
It is of course great to put the run in the grass for the guinea pigs! They can roam through the grass and the paws suddenly feel a completely different surface than what they are used to. That gives a nice variation on the standard ground cover! However, this must be taken care of. Grass in the spring is a lot more protein-rich. If the guinea pigs eat too much of this protein-rich grass, they can develop intestinal problems. Build this up slowly.
Placement of the Cavia Ren
Never place the run in the sun. Even though the animals have shelters, never place the run completely in the sun, as overheating is a risk. Part in the sun and part in the shade is possible. In addition, on hot days, provide sufficient cooling so that the animals do not get too hot and if the temperature outside gets too high, bring the animals inside.
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6 Panel Guinea Pig Run with Net 58 x 38cm
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Trixie Outdoor Galvanised Rabbit/Guinea Pig Pen with Cover 144 x 58 x 116 cm (62451)
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Trixie Outdoor Galvanised Rabbit/Guinea Pig Pen with Cover 216 x 65 x 116 cm (62452)
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Guinea pigs are one of the most endearing small pets. They seldom bite, they rarely get ill and they are both clean and quiet. Indeed, normally the only sound you will hear from your pet is a wonderful “churring” or squeaking when he or she realizes that food is on its way.
However, despite the popularity of guinea pigs as pets, many owners misunderstand the needs of their pets when it comes to housing. The purpose of this article is to provide some common-sense guidance on guinea pig cages to help you keep your pet safe and secure.
The Purposes of Guinea Pig Cages
Before we start to investigate the types of guinea pig cages available it is important to stop and think for a moment about what we are hoping to achieve. By better understanding the needs of your guinea pig you will be in a better position to provide the perfect home for your squeaking pet.
In this respect there are four main factors that need to be considered:
Guinea pigs are relatively shy animals. They are easily startled and may run around madly when surprised or scared. The first consideration in terms of your guinea pig cage should therefore be towards offering this much-needed security.
The easiest way to accomplish this and help make your guinea pigs feel safe and secure is to offer “visible barriers” – quite simply places where your guinea pig can hide away from view. This means that either your guinea pig cage should offer enclosed corners where they can hide, or you should include items such as piles of hay or wooden houses in which he or she can hide if scared.
Next up, of course, your guinea pig cage should prevent your pets from escaping. Whilst guinea pigs very rarely jump it is wise to fully enclose your pet. This means that cages with sealed lids are generally preferable to open cages.
Your guinea pig cage also needs to protect your pet from outside interference, especially predators like foxes if kept outdoors. Once again this means that a solid cage which will not allow people or animals access to your juicy guinea pigs are advisable.
Lastly of course your guinea pig cage needs to offer a high level of comfort. This means that your pet is able to avoid the worst of the weather, to stay dry and to move about in a reasonable space.
Guineas Pig Cage Dimensions
In terms of space, the next question is really how big a guinea pig cage should really be. Here, fortunately, we have some conclusive answers. The RSPCA recommends a minimum cage size of 120cm by 60cm by 45cm for a pair of guinea pigs. Remember that guinea pigs are sociable animals so keeping more than one can be beneficial.
While this sounds like a lot of space for two tiny guinea pigs it is worth remembering that guinea pigs can be quite active pets. If such a space is not possible, consider getting the largest cage you can possibly accommodate, and supplement this with regular exercise, such as in a separate run.
Types of Guinea Pig Cages
There are three main types of guinea pig cages for sale in pet shops or online. Broadly speaking these are categorized as outdoor guinea pig cages, indoor guinea pig cages and guinea pig runs. Each has their own unique strengths and weaknesses so when shopping for a guinea pig cage try taking into account the above points. In doing so you can feel certain that your guinea pig is housed properly.
Guinea Pig Hutches / Outdoor Guinea Pig Cages
The most common form of housing are guinea pig hutches. These are large wooden boxes with mesh over part of the front. This mesh then allows sunshine and fresh air to enter the cage, creating a more natural environment.
Outdoor guinea pig cages however do have their critics. For one, it is important that your pet can stay warm and dry in winter, which can be difficult with an open-fronted cage. For safety, therefore, try to ensure that your pet has a secure bedding area packed with fresh straw so it can get out of the worst of the weather.
In addition to this it can be wise in the worst weather to lightly cover the mesh – using something breathable like a bit of old sacking – to keep out the worst of the rain. Even better, consider moving your guinea pig hutch indoors over winter, bringing it back out into the garden in the nicer months.
Indoor Guinea Pig Cages
Gaining in popularity over the last few years are indoor guinea pig cages. These typically consist of a solid plastic bottom, with a clip-on cage area on top. The plastic base helps to make your pet feel secure, while keeping in mess from wood flakes, excess food and so on. They look, in short, like an oversized hamster cage.
The open cage top allows in light and fresh air, and also facilitates an excellent view. That said, in a guinea pig cage with a completely open top it can be easy to startle your pet, especially when you will typically looking down at it.
In such cases it can be smart to cover up one end of the cage, thus offering extra privacy for your pet. If possible, also consider raising the cage up off the floor. In this way your pet will avoid drafts, be less startled by passers-by and will be just as easy to see.
Guinea Pig Runs
The final options in terms of guinea pig cages are the many runs that are available. These typically provide more overall space than the average guinea pig cage, which can be good for your pet’s health, as well as allowing for more extensive exercise.
Note that the open-topped runs are really only safe for indoor use. If you want to allow your pet to run around outside you will want a fully-sealed unit to protect it from cats and foxes. In addition, guinea pigs allowed to make use of an outdoor run should be properly shaded to prevent overheating in summer.
Putting your guinea pigs into a run can be a great idea and add lots of environmental interest. It can also be great for your lawn, assuming no chemical weed killers have been used on it recently.
Guinea pigs need space to run and play to maintain good physical and mental health. But guinea pig runs can be bulky, heavy and awkward to move around. A folding guinea pig run can make life easier, as they can be folded away when not required. When it’s exercise time, your folding guinea pig run can quickly be unfolded and assembled, giving Gertie and Gordon a safe space to play!
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LANGXUN Metal Wire Storage Cubes Organizer, DIY Small Animal Cage for Rabbit, Guinea Pigs, Puppy | Pet Products Portable Metal Wire Yard Fence (Black, 16 Panels)
VivaPet Octagon Rabbit/Puppy/Hamster/Guinea/Pig/Cat/Kitten Run Cage Pen With 8-Panel, Silver, Small (34-Inch Wide, 8-Inch High)
Deuba Cadoca Outdoor Enclosure Metal With Sun Protection 180x75x75cm (71x29x29 IN) Garden Rabbit Hutch Small Animal Run Guinea Pig Tortoise Green
VivaPet Indoor Outdoor Run Cage Play Pen Enclosure For Rabbit Puppy, Duck, Chicken, Guinea, 55-inch, Galvanised, Silver, With Sun Protection Net Cover
Portable Small Animal Playpen Breathable Pet Cage Tent Pop-Up Exercise Fence Transparent Yard Fences Folding Play Pen for Guinea Pig, Rabbits, Hamster, Chinchillas and Hedgehogs
Bunny Business Pet Supplies Apex Run with Enclosure Rabbit/Guinea Run Hutch Hutches, 4ft Triangular Runs (RED)
BUNNY BUSINESS Fully Folding Sheltered Rabbit Run Hutch, 48-inch
COZY PET Rabbit Run Playpen 8 Panels 55 x 55 inch’s with Protective Cover Guinea Pig Pen, Dog Puppy Cage Ferret Play Pen RR02. (We do not ship to Channel Islands.)
The Hutch Company Canterbury Folding Rabbit/Guinea Pig Run
Why your guinea pig needs a run
Your guinea pigs need plenty of space to burrow, hide and run. In the wild they’re very active, particularly at night. Some species are very able climbers, scrambling up rocks and low shrubs. Giving your piggies the facilities and space they need to exhibit their natural behaviours helps to keep them happy and healthy.
A fold up guinea pig run provides a safe and convenient area for your adorable rodents to run around in, without the need to permanently section off a large area of your house or garden for a guinea pig zone.
Features of a folding guinea pig run
Besides, of course, being folding or collapsible, these runs usually has one or more access doors or roof panels. It should be quite lightweight so that it’s easy to move around and assemble/collapse in the house or in the garden. A folding guinea pig run is easier to store than a conventional one, and easier to transport if you’re:
- Moving house
- Going on holiday
- Taking Gordon for a visit
- taking Gertie to the guinea pig sitter’s house!
Choosing the right folding run
To find the right folding guinea pig run for you, your home and your piggies, consider:
How much space do you have for the run, both when it’s erected and when it’s stored? How many guinea pigs do you have? For one small guinea pig, a small folding run of 4ft or less will be fine. But look for a large guinea pig run if you have two or more guinea pigs, so that they can give each other some space!
While a rectangular folding guinea pig run is the norm, you can also buy square or triangular runs. Choosing the right shape may help you fit the run into a space you hadn’t considered.
A folding guinea pig run will have side access, roof access or both, so think about where the run will be, and the easiest places to access it when popping your piggies in or taking them out.
Indoor use, outdoor use or both?
If you’re going to use the run outside, even occasionally, ensure the run you choose is suitable for outdoor use. Folding guinea pig runs aren’t cheap, so buy a model that’s sturdy, well-made, and designed for the area it will be in. Make sure wooden runs are made of strong timbers and that outdoor runs are waterproofed.
Several companies produce folding guinea pig runs, including The Hutch Company, Bunny Business and VivaPet. If you find the choice overwhelming, it can be helpful to seek the true opinions of people who have bought runs and used them for a while! Read folding guinea pig run reviews to find out which runs stand the test of time and prove easy to use, access, assemble, collapse and store.
Our top pick for folding guinea pig runs
Here in the UK, we think the best folding guinea pig run currently on the market is The Hutch Company Canterbury Folding Guinea Pig Run. This bestseller has great reviews, and it’s easy to see why.
- Sturdy: It’s constructed using Scandinavian timber and 1″ x ½” galvanised wire, and made in Great Britain
- Sustainable: The timber used is sustainable; the manufacturer plants two trees for every one cut down
- Weatherproof: this run is weatherproofed with an animal safe, water-based, wood preservative, protecting it against rain and sun
- Accessible: hinged top opening and two side doors
- Value for money: available at a good price, with free delivery, on Amazon
- Easy to assemble and transport: reviewers love how easy it is to assemble, collapse and transport this run
Frequently asked questions
How do I make my own folding guinea pig run?
If you’re good at DIY, you may have considered building your own folding guinea pig run. It’s important to use good quality materials and of course, the safety of your guinea pig is paramount! Make sure there are no sharp edges – and no holes or flexible areas that a determined piggie could squeeze through. There are YouTube videos that can help make a basic guinea pig run, and also this Wikihow guide of how to make a guinea pig run, but making a folding guinea pig run that’s easily transportable is an extra challenge! Unless you have plenty of skill and time, buying a custom-made run is much simpler.
How do I assemble my run?
Assembly is usually quite simple, but always follow the instructions carefully and allow plenty of space and time to do it, especially on your first attempt.
Can other small animals use a folding guinea pig run?
Yes. They’re suitable for other small animals and rodents such as rabbits, rats and hamsters.
Still not sure which run to buy?
If you’re still undecided on the best folding guinea pig run or can’t narrow down your shortlist, then search for ‘folding guinea pig runs on Amazon’. You’ll be able to see a wide range of available models and read reviews from owners who have tried and tested the runs that have caught your eye. Then all you need to do is purchase your favourite and await piggie happiness!
FOUR PAWS International
Given the right living conditions, guinea pigs can be kept in an apartment
They must be provided with plenty of space – which means conventional indoor cages won’t be suitable.
Guinea pigs get along just fine indoors with no enclosure at all, so if you have enough space in your home, you should give them an entire room to themselves. When keeping small animals at home, it is very important to arrange their habitat appropriately. If guinea pigs are given exposed, open areas, they will tend not to use them, choosing instead to spend most of their time in their hutches. The space must be arranged so that it offers plenty of areas of cover. If you have some DIY skills, you could construct a second, raised level for them. This has many advantages: the animals can hide underneath it or use it as a viewing platform, and they can get some extra exercise climbing up and down the ramp. The more opportunities they are given to carry out their natural behaviour, the happier they will be.
When you’re setting up the indoor living space, you should remove anything that might present a risk to the guinea pigs. This includes electric cables, toxic plants, open doors, other animals, furniture with toxic varnish, sharp and angular objects, visitors who are unaware of the animals, etc. If you want to be on the safe side, fence off the area in which the guinea pigs move about. This will make it safer for them to explore beyond their enclosure.
However, if you want a completely safe environment for your guinea pigs, you should opt for a vivarium. For two to three animals it should be at least 2 m² in area (the same rule applies when keeping them anywhere else in the apartment) and any further animals will need an additional 1 m² each. An open-topped vivarium (in the shape of a tub) made of Plexiglas has several advantages over one made of wire: it allows you to see the guinea pigs better, and gives them a better view out.
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Vets in Scarborough
How to house a happy Guinea Pig
With proper care and attention, your guinea pig can live for up to 10 happy years and sometimes longer. 4 – 5 years is typical though for a domestic guinea pig. As children are their main owners, here are some guidelines on keeping your guinea pig healthy and happy.
Guinea pigs are friendly, chatty and very responsive to caring owners. They each have their own character which makes them endlessly fascinating. They are herd animals and would naturally live in large groups.
They are also known as cavies as they originate in caves and rocky areas in South America where they live in colonies as a form of defence against ever present predators.
As they are so gregarious, they do get lonely and it is best to keep at least 2 together, but beware the speed with which a mixed pair will breed. If you do want to breed, the sow must be between 5 and 9 months before she has her first litter.
You can keep any number of females together. Males or boars are best kept in pairs – if a younger male is introduced to an older one, he must have a tube or pipe he can hide in initially to hide from his bigger new hutch mate.
Do not keep guinea pigs and rabbits together if they have not already been used to each other from a very young age. Rabbits have strong back legs and uncontrollable urges in uncastrated males to mate. This may lead to sometimes potentially fatal wounds in your guinea pig.
Ensure that the hutch they live in is large enough for your guinea pig to stand on its hindlegs without its head touching the roof.
Outdoor hutches should have a sloping roof with an overhang to protect it from bad weather and covered with roofing felt to prevent it leaking.
It should be away from draughts and direct sunlight. It should be raised off the ground and have mesh with holes that are very small to prevent mice from entering. This happens commonly as mice are attracted to your guinea pig’s food. They can spread disease.
Guinea pigs are heat and cold sensitive so never keep them in greenhouses. Do not keep their hutches in garages that house cars as they may be affected by the car fumes.
Their enclosure can be brought indoors if it gets too cold but keep them away from other pets, the TV and radiators.
They will need an enclosed outdoor run – the tent-shaped varieties are very good as predators such as cats and foxes are unable to enter. Ensure that there is always somewhere it can hide – a tube or drainpipe is adequate just in case it sights a predator. Outdoors is where you can watch your guinea pig running around and squeaking happily.
Any signs of lethargy, not eating or scratching means we will need to see your little pet.
We advise feeding guinea pig food to your pet. Guinea pigs are unable to process Vitamin C and require supplementing.
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Not unlike some cats do after a snort of catnip, guinea pigs — without pignip — will sometimes up and zip around their available space really fast, be it their enclosure or a secure pen. Such behavior could indicate a number of emotions, from pure joy to apprehension. Context is handy for determining what’s fueling frenetic cavy behavior.
Popcorn as a Verb
Frequent rapid running around points to a giddy streak in a guinea pig. If your cavy is in good cheer, you might notice him running in circles, constantly shifting his course, whether inside of his enclosure or in a bigger designated play section of your home. Running in happy guinea pigs is often accompanied by leaping. These behaviors together are referred to as popcorning. If your guinea pig is popcorning, he’s probably feeling jovial. Perhaps he spots that nutritious and yummy treat in your hand and simply can’t contain his enthusiasm. Popcorning is particularly common in youthful cavies.
He Might Be a Fitness Buff
When your guinea pig runs around in his cage, he may be doing no more than simply getting a little exercise. If his enclosure is roomy enough, the lively sprinting could mean he’s stretching out his legs and releasing some of his extra energy. Since regular physical activity is vital for guinea pig health and weight maintenance, this is usually a good thing.
But He Might Be Scared
While leaping and fast running can mean your guinea pig is content, they also can mean he’s in terror mode. If something scared your cavy suddenly, you might see him jump and run around in irregular patterns. He might give off a lot of piercing squeaking sounds while he’s doing this, too. Many things can trigger such nervous behaviors in cavies, whether unfamiliar surroundings, abrupt motions or jarring sounds from outside. If your guinea pig does this once he arrives at the veterinary clinic for a checkup, don’t be surprised. If he does this during a particularly noisy thunderstorm, don’t be surprised, either.
And He Might Be Sick
Speedy running in guinea pigs can sometimes be an indication of health issues, too, perhaps fur mites. Some typical indications of fur mites in cavies, apart from running around quickly, include loss of weight, greasy or dry patches of skin, itching and missing clumps of fur. If you’re concerned that your pet’s running might be related to any health ailment, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian immediately.
Keep an Eye on Him
If you think your guinea pig’s fast running is driven by terror, monitor him. When guinea pigs are in heightened fear modes, they often neglect to notice things that are going on around them. Yours might run so fast that he hits his body against the wall of his enclosure. He might even collide with one of his cage mates, which could lead to injuries in himself or in the other party. When guinea pigs participate in persistent running due to fear, they often do so until they become extremely fatigued by it all.
Guinea pigs are adorably social rodents who make вЂњweet weet,вЂќ chirping and purring noises to communicate with each other and the humans who care for them. We love the chorus of вЂњweet weets!вЂќ that greet us when we enter our guinea pig house. When guinea pigs are particularly excited, they make quick hopping movements called вЂњpopcorning,вЂќ itвЂ™s so cute!
Guinea pigs were native to South America but after years of being hunted for pets and food, they no longer exist in the wild. Guinea pigs have become very popular household pets. Queen Elizabeth I, President Theodore Roosevelt, and even Princess Diana had pet guinea pigs!
Guinea pigs are excellent swimmers
Guinea pigs live 5-8 years and are incredible swimmers, some have been known to swim for up to 5 hours at a time. Wild guinea pigs traveled in herds (we would LOVE to see a wild guinea pig herd running by!) made up of males (boars), females (sows), and young guinea pigs (pups). In the wild, they wouldnвЂ™t dig burrows but preferred to find shelter in other animalвЂ™s burrows, crevices, and small caves.
Because they are prey animals, they have several evolutionary adaptations that assist them. A guinea pig pup can run when theyвЂ™re 3 hours old, helping them to evade predators at a young age. They also sleep in short 4-10 minute bursts for a total of 4 hours a day, this allows them to constantly be aware of their surroundings. Guinea pigs’ teeth grow continuously throughout their lives! In order to keep their teeth filed down, they adapted to gnaw and chew on wood, their food and pretty much everything else around them.
A long history with humans
These little rodents were first domesticated as early as 5000 BC for food by tribes in the Andean Region of South America. There are actually guinea pig enclosures built into many of the ancient ruins in South America! Make sure to look for them if you go visit. Guinea pigs can not make their own Vitamin C. Because of this evolutionary quirk they share with humans (we donвЂ™t make our own Vitamin C either!) they were frequently used as experimental subjects in the 19th and 20th centuries, resulting in the epithet вЂњguinea pigвЂќ for a test subject.
Image via Chertamchu/Shutterstock
Guinea pigs (also known as cavies) have been domesticated for over 3,000 years. In fact, statues and other archeological findings in the Andean region of South America, where they originate, date them as living side-by-side with humans even longer than that. We’ve had many years to learn about guinea pigs and their needs, especially when it comes to setting up a healthy living space for them.
The Basic Guinea Pig Cage Setup
From a health perspective, the perfect enclosure space needs to meet a few requirements to ensure your guinea pig can thrive. One is space. According to Javier Nevarez, DVM, PhD, DACZM, DECZM, and associate professor of zoological medicine at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, guinea pig cages should be at least two feet wide by three feet long. The cage’s floor space is important, because guinea pigs don’t make as much use of vertical space as other small rodents do, according to the Humane Society. And take care not to use a wire bottom cage. “The cage should have a solid bottom to avoid damage to their feet,” Nevarez says.
While glass aquariums and plastic tubs might meet the size requirements, Nevarez says they are better avoided, as they limit ventilation. “The cage can be open top if there are no other pets in the house (dogs and cats), or it can have a solid plastic bottom with a wire cage top,” says Nevarez. “If open top, the cage should be at least 8-10 inches tall.”
Nevarez recommends keeping cages away from windows to avoid overheating and drafts. Because guinea pigs can’t sweat, their enclosure should not be placed where there’s a risk of overheating, such as a heat vent or direct sunlight, which could be fatal.
Stocking Up Your Guinea Pig’s New Home
Once you have the right space for your guinea pig, your next goal is to make sure it feels like a home. Nevarez recommends adding a guinea pig house so your guinea pig can hide and rest as needed.
Because guinea pigs produce large amounts of very strong urine that can soak into their skin on their feet and cause ulceration, Nevarez emphasizes the importance of keeping cages clean – which means cleaning the cage and removing waste daily.
You will also need safe guinea pig bedding. “Cedar and pine bedding should be avoided because of the risk of respiratory tract irritation from inhaling dust and oils associated with wood bedding and/or impaction from ingesting it,” says Nevarez. “The best substrate is soft recycled paper products and newspaper.”
To avoid contamination and to make sure the water stays clean, water should be offered in a drinking bottle instead of a water dish. “The bottle must be monitored daily to ensure the pet is drinking and the water is not leaking, as guinea pigs are very prone to dehydration,” Nevarez says.
Avoiding Stress for Your Guinea Pig
“Avoid loud and sudden noises and anything else that seems to agitate them,” Nevarez says. “Most owners quickly learn to recognize the noises they make, including those associated with being scared.”
Guinea pigs can be prone to stress, so the cage should be placed in an area where there isn’t a lot of noise or traffic. One good option is placing the enclosure in a room that’s visited regularly but that doesn’t have constant traffic. A little hide box, such as an upside down cardboard box with a door cut in one side, in the cage will also help control stress, he said, as your guinea pig can then hide and feel safe.
Pet owner Matt Kovacs got two guinea pigs for his daughter, Audrey, two years ago. Dottie and Kathy, named after Audrey’s grandmothers, live in a wire cage with a green hideout structure.
“We put Kathy and Dottie in Audrey’s play room, so they would get views throughout the room and out the front window to the outside world,” says Kovacs. “The cage is on top of a desk to provide easy access when they are taken out to play, as well as to give them the best views.” Be sure that if you use a wire cage, however, that the floor is solid, so that the pets don’t develop sores on their feet from pressure on the wire, and that the wire doesn’t contain metals, such as zinc, which guinea pigs can become sick from chewing on.
Play Time for Guinea Pigs
Because guinea pigs are more sedate and less likely to run away than other rodents, they do really well during play time outside their cage—but that doesn’t mean they can be left unsupervised. “Ours watch TV with my wife, Becky, and Audrey in the morning, along with our English Bulldog Lulu,” says Kovacs. “They also get to play on the carpet in the playroom, as well as on a wooden ramp structure that is movable.”
The Kovacs also created an outdoor enclosure for their guinea pigs, which is made of wire fencing that encloses the guinea pigs safely as they explore the grass and flower beds. If you let your guinea pigs outside, be sure that they have shade and water to prevent overheating and that they are protected from wild predators such as hawks, foxes, coyotes, and neighbor’s dogs and cats.
This article was verified and edited for accuracy by Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Dipl ABVP
Published: 11:52, 04 May 2022
| Updated: 20:32, 04 May 2022
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A guinea pig expert from Deal is reminding owners to house the animals inside following Ben Fogle’s family’s heartbreaking loss.
Last week, the broadcaster revealed that his family were devastated after their pet guinea pigs were eaten by foxes.
Lucy Meadway, author of The Happy, Healthy Guinea Pig Guidebook, recommends the pets are kept inside
The 48-year-old revealed he, wife Marina and children Tamara, 11, and Ludovic, 12, had been left in tears after the sudden loss which occurred while he was away from home filming.
Posting from his Instagram account, the New Lives in the Wild presenter said: “We lost our little Guinea Pig friends Q and Patch
“They were taken by a fox who dug into their hutch.
“I’m surprised by how sad I feel.
“They were so much more than just rodents. They were our friends, a part of our happy family.
“It’s amazing the relationship we can build with those we care for, no matter how big or small, hairy or scaly.
“They brought us so much happiness, joy and laughter. They taught the children so much about responsibility, love and now grief, but above all, they reminded us that however hard the pain of loss, it’s still worth it.
“As the great Dr Seuss said, ‘don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened’.”
Now, Lucy Meadway, a 30-year-old guinea pig expert and author of The Happy, Healthy Guinea Pig Guidebook, has issued her advice to help keep the animals safe.
She said: “I urge people to keep their guinea pigs indoors.
Lucy Meadway from Deal is a guinea pig expert
“I believe that guinea pigs should never be kept outside as there is no such thing as a fox proof hutch or run.
“As Ben Fogle has said, guinea pigs are such fantastic creatures who can make a surprising impact on their owners, with their funny noises, behaviours and affectionate nature.
“Gone are the days where guinea pigs should be left outside in a hutch.
“They make brilliant companions indoors and love the company of their humans.
“My two guinea pigs, Nugget and Luna live in my home where they can live in complete safety.
”I urge people to keep their guinea pigs indoors’
“If space is limited in the home, then a secure shed can make a great alternative and provide a much bigger space than a hutch.”
Ms Meadway, also known as Little Critter Lucy, has run her own pet sitting business for five years.
Her self-published guidebook, available on Amazon and Kindle, explores the joys and pitfuls of owning guinea pigs, what to consider before buying one, what to feed them and generally how to make them happy.
She said: “I’ve had rabbits and hamsters and I look after lots of different pets but guinea pigs, to me, are the best.
“They’re able to fit into a busy lifestyle while being self sufficient and really affectionate.”
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A former Ottawa mayor has filed nomination papers in a bid to become mayor again as the dash to the municipal ballot box officially begins.
Bob Chiarelli, 80, kicked off his campaign for mayor by registering at the city’s elections office Monday morning.
Chiarelli was elected the first mayor of the amalgamated city of Ottawa in 2000, and served two terms before losing in the 2006 election. He is also a veteran of provincial politics, serving as a Liberal cabinet minister.
“I’m not doing it to satisfy my ego or pad my resume in any way, shape or form,” Chiarelli told CTV News at Noon on Monday. “I’m a citizen like any other citizen, and I think there’s a strong consensus among us that a lot of things at city hall are moving in the wrong direction.”
Chiarelli singled out the city’s growing debt, LRT issues, and the city’s response to the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests in February as issues he thinks the current council could have handled better.
“The councillors are very divided on a lot of issues and they’re not working together as a team,” he said.
Monday is the first day candidates for mayor, councillor and school board trustee can file their nomination papers to run in the 2022 municipal election on Oct. 24. Candidates can begin accepting contributions and spending money on their campaign once the nomination forms have been filed and approved by the city.
There will be a new mayor and at least seven new councillors at Ottawa City Hall after the election.
Jim Watson has announced he will not be seeking re-election after three terms as mayor of Canada’s capital. Watson was first elected mayor of the amalgamated city of Ottawa in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014 and 2018.
Councillors Diane Deans and Catherine McKenney both announced in December they would be running for mayor.
Chiarelli, asked why at his age he’s running for the city’s top job again, said it’s up to the voters whether that matters.
“That’s something for the voters to decide,” he said. “We have six months. There’s a campaign with a lot of energy, I’ve got a lot of ideas on how to solve some problems, some new initiatives to bring forward . that’ll be up to the public to decide.”
Four councillors have said they will not be seeking re-election – Jean Cloutier, Keith Egli, Jan Harder and Scott Moffatt. And a new councillor will sit at the council table this election, as Ottawa adds a 24 th ward to address the growing population. The new ward is “Ward 24 – Barrhaven East.”
Candidates for mayor, councillor and school board trustee have until Friday, Aug. 19 to submit their nomination forms.
Some councillors were on hand Monday to sign up for re-election. “From my mind, this is going to be the four years of true fiscal responsibility that we have to maintain,” said Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney.
Shawn Menard, the councillor for Capital Ward, said he’d like to see more accountability in the next term.
“At the end of the day there’s been a lot of positive movement on some files,” he said. “We need to continue that work but make sure there is good debate and there’s accountability and I don’t think we’ve seen that as much this term and I really hope that changes next term of council.”
Rebecca Bromwich, also running in Capital Ward, said she could help bring a level of decorum to the council chamber.
“I’m a mediator by training and I think I can bring a level of professionalism and decorum and collegiality.”
Brandon Bay, who is running for mayor, says housing is a key issue.
“Top of mind I think for a lot of residents and for me as well is the price of housing right now,” he said.
This election will also be the first where voters city-wide can use mail-in ballots to vote.
“This is an opportunity for anyone or any elector who may not feel comfortable going to a voting location or just prefer that method of voting to sign up and to receive their special mail-in ballot,” said municipal elections and French language services manager Michele Rochette.
By Anjali Enjeti, Special to the Star Tribune
May 06, 2022 – 7:45 AM
King Rao in Vauhini Vara’s thrilling debut novel, “The Immortal King Rao,” is not exactly royalty. But on a coconut plantation in his Indian village of Kothapalli, his prosperous Dalit family raises the auspicious firstborn son of a firstborn son to believe in his inherent greatness. In 1974, as a computer science graduate student, Rao moves to Puget Sound, where he meets and later marries Margie, an equally curious and keen striver. Together, they design a personal computer, one of the first of its kind.
Decades later, nationalism and a pandemic sweep the globe and further destabilize nations. Rao and Margie’s dogged pursuit of technological advancement eventually yields catastrophic results. Their innovations lead to the dismantling of governments, which in turn accelerate the climate crisis on what will come to be known as Hothouse Earth.
Vara has penned a dynamic and haunting world. The new international and corporate-run influencer empire, Shareholder Government, utilizes Social Capital as its main currency. An all-knowing “Algo,” employing a master algorithm, doles out punishments for misdeeds and extracts Capital for services. The Blanklands, islands outside of Shareholder Government’s jurisdiction, serve as the home to anti-tech resisters who lead analog lives and reject the new order’s authority.
Vara deftly paints Rao, who lives for more than a century, as an eccentric genius whose childhood memories shape his entrepreneurial spirit. He names his computer Coconut, the exalted fruit of his family’s livelihood, and carries with him the words of his beloved paternal uncle, Chinna: “If you just make the world better than when you got here, that’s a good life.” Unfortunately, Rao badly misconstrues “better.”
At its heart, “The Immortal King Rao” is a jarring and meticulous critique of how progress is often confused with goodness. Can faster, more efficient and more accurate technology bring about equality? Can code find a way to deepen human beings’ connections to one another? It is only in his twilight years that Rao begins to hold himself accountable for the disastrous circumstances he has wrought. But his solution, as always, lies in yet another new invention — one that can transfer memories between people.
The first recipient of his own memories is also the book’s fearless narrator — Rao’s 17-year-old daughter, Athena. She is born to a surrogate when her father is in his 90s and serves, unknowingly, as his guinea pig. They live on Blake Island where Rao, long exiled from Shareholder Government, keeps his daughter’s existence a secret. Her childhood seems idyllic until, during adolescence, the horror of her father’s grievous sins fully come into focus.
Not long after Rao is murdered, Shareholder Government imprisons Athena. It is here where she makes her case to us, her audience (who she addresses as “dear Shareholder”), as if we are both judge and jury. It is a clever narrative choice on Vara’s part, but also, highly effective. For aren’t we all, as fervent believers in technology, equally complicit in her fate?
Anjali Enjeti is the author of “Southbound: Essays on Identity, Inheritance, and Social Change” and “The Parted Earth.”
Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, Center for Cardiovascular Biology, and Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology (E.K., C.E.M.), University of Washington, Seattle.
Correspondence to: Charles E. Murry, MD, PhD, University of Washington, 850 Republican St, Brotman Bldg, Room 453, Seattle, WA 98109. Email
Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, Center for Cardiovascular Biology, and Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology (E.K., C.E.M.), University of Washington, Seattle.
Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine (C.E.M.), University of Washington, Seattle.
Department of Bioengineering (C.E.M.), University of Washington, Seattle.
Sana Biotechnology, Seattle, WA (C.E.M.).
- This article is a commentary on the following
- In Vitro Matured Human Pluripotent Stem Cell–Derived Cardiomyocytes Form Grafts With Enhanced Structure and Function in Injured Hearts
The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the editors or of the American Heart Association.
For Sources of Funding and Disclosures, see page 1429.
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