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Guinea pigs present a special challenge for enrichment

Guinea pigs present a special challenge for enrichment. These animals exhibit unusual rigidity in behavior, and do not welcome changes to food, feeders and water containers. Some common enrichment items may be met with skepticism or even fear. Guinea pigs may protest these intrusions by refusing to eat.

What types of enrichment items are acceptable? Food enrichment, such as hay blocks, dried corn on the cob, and corn husks allow the animals to graze throughout the day, occupying time and offering variety. Fresh greens such as kale are a nutritional treat, providing an additional source of vitamin C. Guinea pigs are chewers, tasting everything in sight. Make use of this behavior by offering chew sticks and other small but sturdy items.

Guinea pigs are timid by nature; shelters offer a sense of security. PVC tubing large enough to accommodate the animal provides a comfortable haven, allowing the animal to choose to be alone. Other types of shelter are also well accepted. Guinea pigs are not nesters, but do much better on contact bedding because of their delicate feet. And of course, another guinea pig is a great form of enrichment.

 

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