Can Guinea Pigs Use Hamster Exercise Wheels?

We all know that small pets need exercise just like us humans do, hamster, rats and mice often love a wheel in their cages, travelling miles and miles each night, so can a Guinea Pig use a wheel like their fellow rodents?

Can guinea pigs use exercise wheels?

No.

Guinea Pigs should not use wheels for a variety of reasons I will detail below.

Spines:

  • Unlike some other rodents Guinea Pigs have very inflexible spines, running on any sort of curve could damage their very sensible spines. It’s important to note at this point that hamsters too are often placed into wheels that are too small for them. An adult Syrian hamster should have the very biggest wheel you can fit in their cage.

Bad eyesight:

  • Guinea Pigs do not have very good eyesight at all. This bad vision paired with a moving wheel is a recipe for disaster.
  • This is one of the reasons that Guinea Pigs are not natural climbers, it’s hard to jump off something if you can’t see where you will land.
  • Guinea Pigs like to be on the ground. A rotating wheel is a recipe for disaster.

Not built for speed:

  • Guinea Pigs are designed to be a firm, sturdy, stocky animal not lean running machines.
  • No matter what a pet shop says no wheels are going to be big enough for a Guinea Pig.

Won’t somebody think of the herd?:

  • As herd animals they are designed to move with their herd for food not search for prey. They are herbivorous grazers like sheep not omnivorous predators like hamsters.
  • Guinea Pigs are sprinters not marathon runners. They will run in short bursts to avoid a predator, avoid the snapping mouth of a herd mate, zoom with joy or get to the best food first.

So please do not buy a wheel for a Guinea Pig. At best they will be scared and ignore it, at worst they will be seriously hurt.

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