Understanding the nature of your guinea pig pets plays a key role in helping you take care of them. While some domestic animals can live well alone, others perform well as a group. Which category do cavies belong to – Do guinea pigs do better in pairs?
Yes, guinea pigs perform nicely as a group because they are social animals. Although these small pets can live alone it is advisable to pair them for different reasons, including social interaction. Just ensure their cage is large enough, always clean, and safe for living.
Now you know that it is important your guinea pigs should live as a group. But come to think of it, what’s so special about cavies living in pairs? Why do guinea pigs do better in pairs than others?
Read on as I provide an answer to this question and others in this guide.
Do Guinea Pigs Do Better In Pairs Than Others?
Yes, guinea pigs do better in pairs than other animals, whether big or small. They are not independent of one another and can only live a good life being in a small group. But some animals don’t have this nature.
Cats, for example, enjoy being alone as long as you give them food, and lots of attention. Apart from the domestic cats, some animals also like being alone; they are fine with or without their mates. Giant pandas, leopards, and skunks belong in this category.
But it is not common to see a single cavy living alone in the wild. Guinea pigs enjoy the company of others to play and feel safe with themselves. In other words, they get pleasure from being in a group rather than being alone.
As you know, animals can experience boredom as humans do. When a single cavy is living in a cage, it may feel lonely and constantly go through stress. Sometimes, this may lead to aggressive behavior like biting your fingers or making strange sounds.
Other times, your lonely cavy may refuse to eat or play with toys. Keep in mind that no matter how nice or expensive a toy is, it can never take the place of other guinea pigs.
READ ALSO: DO GUINEA PIGS LIKE TO BE HELD AND PETTED?
Is It Better To Buy Guinea Pigs In Pairs?
Yes, it is better to buy your guinea pigs in pairs as it gives several benefits to them. Just like humans, animals have social needs that can only be met by their kind. If your guinea pigs’ social need is not met, problems may happen.
Here are a few advantages of having more than one guinea pig in a cage;
1. Mental Stimulation
Lack of social activities or relations with other cavy pets can cause stress in guinea pigs. Stress, on the other hand, can change a seemingly quiet guinea pig into an aggressive creature.
So, it is always better to allow your little cavies to mingle with one another to keep them mentally alert.
To have a happy and healthy life, guinea pigs love to be in the company of their mates. They’ll be able to play with one another even if there are no toys around. A single cavy in a large cage will likely lose interest in everything around as a result of loneliness.
As a pet owner, there’s a chance that you won’t like the behaviors of your lonely guinea pig.
3. Regular Exercise
Like most small animals, cavies get pleasure in playing in their cage, especially when a few of them are active. Physical activities throughout the day can improve your pets’ overall mental and physical health. They’ll always feel happy, and healthy all day long.
4. Safety Purpose
Naturally, guinea pigs are prey animals because of their small size. In other words, there are several animals out there that want to eat them. They usually feel safe as a group, especially if there are males around than when alone.
Even in the wild, these little pets run in different directions when predators are coming just to confuse them. This is one of the natural ways the cavies protect themselves outside captivity.
5. Long Life
Social interaction among one another can increase guinea pigs’ lives. Note that these small pets have an average lifespan of five to seven years. Factors like a good diet, sound health, comfortable living conditions, and social relationships can increase their lifespan.
One of the most effective ways to ensure your cavies live long is by allowing them to enjoy one another’s company.
READ ALSO: DOES A GUINEA PIG MAKE A GOOD PET?
Are Guinea Pigs Better In Pairs In Winter?
Yes, it is better to keep your cavies in small groups during winter for health reasons.
Usually, the winter months provide relief from the summer heat, but only for a little while. Remember that your furry friends function well in temperatures between 70°F to 90°F (21°c to 32°). Exposure to extremely low temperatures can cause respiratory or skin diseases if you don’t take precautions.
Keeping your guinea pigs in pairs during the winter months will help them feel warm till the period passes. Sometimes, they may be chasing one another around the cage, which is a form of exercise to keep warm. Other times, they may come together thereby transferring body heat to one another.
Just ensure you pair your cavies correctly in a cage to prevent them from harming one another. There’s no limit to what these small pets can do to hurt themselves when you don’t pair them the right way.
READ ALSO: DOES GUINEA PIGS BITE?
Can Male And Female Guinea Pigs Be Housed Together?
No, avoid keeping both male and female guinea pigs in a cage, unless they are not sexually mature. One major reason you should consider keeping female guinea pigs in a cage with the males is for mating purposes. However, the females should be 8 months old and above for health’s sake.
Female guinea pigs can produce their young as early as three to four weeks old. At this age, when they become pregnant, there may be a serious problem on the day of delivery.
Also, if your female cavies give birth constantly when they are not yet fully mature physically, it may result in untimely death.
Can 4 Guinea Pigs Live Together?
Yes, you can keep 4 guinea pigs in a cage without problems. Do not forget that these small pets are social animals that enjoy the company of one another. However, it would be best if you place guinea pigs with different personalities together so that they won’t be fighting all the time.
For example, you can keep dominant and calm cavies together in the same cage; they’ll connect quickly. Also, avoid keeping sexually mature males and females in the same cage, unless the females are physically ready to give birth.
Can 3 Male Guinea Pigs Live Together?
Yes, 3 male guinea pigs can live together depending on three factors.
First, your male guinea pigs’ personalities are important when planning to keep them in a cage. It will be difficult to prevent 3 dominant guinea pigs from fighting each other when living together. This means you must study the behavior of each of your tiny pets before keeping them in a cage.
Secondly, their cage must be large to house them conveniently. Make sure their habitat is not too tight, dirty, or exposed to predators. By this, they’ll be able to live together without attacking one another.
Thirdly, ensure you introduce the three male cavies to the cage at the same time. Note that male guinea pigs are territorial; they don’t like other males around their space. Adding a new mate to the pair can lead to long hours of biting and scratching.
Can 3 Female Guinea Pigs Live Together?
Yes, 3 guinea pigs can live together as long as you introduce them to one another at the same time. Without doing this, there will likely be an issue because those in the cage would have gotten used to each other. And the third cavy will be an “unwanted guest”.
Although two female cavies make the best roommates, adding a new member is not bad. But it is always better to introduce all of them at a time so that they can grow on one another. Placing a new pet into the cage after several weeks or months can result in fights.
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Guinea pigs are social animals that do better in small groups than when living alone. Some of the benefits of keeping pairing your cavies include companionship, mental stimulation, long life, and good physical health.
Also, remember that guinea pigs are better in pairs during winter because they’ll help one another to keep warm.
Finally, combining your tiny pets to live in a cage is very important to their general well-being.
It is better to have a small pleasant group in a cage than a large number of aggressive guinea pigs living together.
If you find this article helpful, share it with your guinea pig-lover friends!