Why Do Guinea Pigs Flip Over Their Houses? (Explained Here)

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Are you tired of trying to figure out why your guinea pigs flip over their houses? Is it hard to constantly put their huts and hideaways back in the right spot? I bet you’re wondering what could be causing this behavior.

Guinea pigs flip over their houses because their cage is too small or if they’re upset or bored. They’ll also flip over their houses to rearrange things in their cages, to get your attention, or because it’s fun.

a guinea pig wondering why guinea pigs flip over houses

I know some of the reasons stated above sound ridiculous (because why are your guinea pigs flipping over their houses because they’re upset. Drama queen, much?). Either way, this article will expand further on why exactly your guinea pigs flip over their houses.

We’re going to talk about how to make them stop doing this. Plus, we’ll explain why they mess up their cages. So, stick around to find out the why’s and how’s.

1. Cages Are Too Small

Guinea pigs are very active animals. If they don’t have enough space to release pent-up energy (like their zoomies), they’re more likely to become restless.

And what do active guinea pigs do? They run and play like crazy all over their enclosures. And when that enclosure is too small, they usually flip over their houses – by accident.

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If your guinea pig’s cage is too small, then you should definitely upgrade to a bigger one. A good rule of thumb is that every pair of piggies should have at least 10.5 square feet of living space. The table below will give you an idea of how much space different types of cages provide.

an infographic that explains why guinea pigs flip over their houses

Another thing to remember is that cavies are more active in the mornings and evenings. So, if you want to cut down on the number of times they flip over their houses, try to take your piggies out of their enclosures during those time.

Putting your fur babies into floor time will also give them a chance to explore and play.

2. Wants To Rearrange Cage

Tapping into their inner interior designer, guinea pigs will flip over their houses or huts just because they want to rearrange them.

(Okay, so maybe they’re not quite as talented as an interior designer, but you get the point.)

Maybe your little are trying to tell you that they don’t like their cage the way it is. Maybe the bedding or food isn’t in the right spot for them. Or, maybe they just want to see if they can get the hay in a different corner this time.

3. Upset

Yes, some piggies will flip over their houses when they’re upset, annoyed, or anxious.

I know it sounds just like babysitting your neighbors ‘ kids when they won’t stop whining, but guinea pigs really do this. But, it is what it is.

Some other signs you should look out for to know your guinea pig is upset include:

  • A lack of interest in playing and other everyday activities
  • It will start chattering its teeth
  • It will fluff up its fur
  • Or maybe it’ll send you a look that shrieks, “How dare you be late with my veggies?”

4. Don’t Like the House

Another reason that might seem ridiculous is that your guinea pig just doesn’t like the house. It could be that the house is too small for them…or maybe there’s only one entrance and they’re feeling a bit claustrophobic.

Some guinea pigs also don’t like the feel or texture of a certain material. Or maybe they don’t like the smell of the house.

That’s why it’s usually best to experiment with a few houses or hideaways to see which one your fur babies like the best.

5. Fun

So you know that cavies are generally very active and playful, so this reason shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Baby guinea pigs especially like to explore the world and play. And what better way to do that than flipping over their houses?

Depending on what the house is made of, they’ll probably also start chewing on it (which is natural for them at this stage).

6. Get Your Attention

Just to get your attention, your guinea pig will – get this – flip their houses over. There’s actually lots of ways that piggies will try to get your attention: from biting the bars of their cage or running around it to vocalizing and chattering their teeth.

It is ridiculous to me as it is to you, trust me.

If they know that tipping their houses over will make you come to them and interact with them, don’t be surprised when they do it regularly.

Again, it’s just like babysitting, isn’t it?

At any rate, it’s a learned behavior. Kinda like when your dog scratches the door to go outside. And then you stroll on over and open the door to let them out.

If you think your fur babies are flipping over houses in order to get your attention, try ignoring them when they do (unless you think they’re doing it for a real emergency situation).

Instead set a routine of playing with your little friends every day. This will reinforce the positive behavior and hopefully decrease the chances of them doing it in the future.

7. Bored

Because of their playful nature, guinea pigs require regular mental stimulation and play.

They can tip over their houses or cages to entertain themselves if they’re bored or have been in their cages for too long.

(Think about it. Don’t you do off-the-wall things when you’re bored, too?)

Here’s a few reasons why your fur babies get bored:

  • They feel lonely because they’re mostly in the cage alone all day (most piggies need a friend for companionship)
  • You don’t have enough toys to entertain them (chew toys and tunnels are a great way to keep them amused)
  • There’s not a lot of playful interaction between their owners and cage mates
  • Floor time is nonexistent or very limited
  • There’s no variety in their diet (yes, eating the same thing day in and day out can get boring for them, too)

Is It Normal for Guinea Pigs to Flip Over Their Houses?

Yes, it’s perfectly normal for guinea pigs to flip over houses. So, try not to freak out over it if you notice that your fur babies have gone on a house-flipping spree.

When you do notice your guinea pig doing this, know that it is trying to communicate with you.

Be attentive and try to figure out why this type of behavior is happening so that you know how to react accordingly.

Also, you must know, asides from houses, guinea pigs also flip over their food bowls and toys – and that’s also perfectly normal.

Annoying? Yeah, kinda.

But, this kind of behavior can also be a good thing. It shows your guinea pigs still have enough energy for activities.

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How to Stop Guinea Pigs from Flipping Over Their Houses

I know you’ve been waiting to get to this part of this article – don’t worry, I got you. To get your guinea pig to stop flipping over its house, you could try out the following tips:

  • Increase the house or cage size: The right cage size for one guinea pig should have a minimum measurement of 30 x 36 inches. However, more space is way more beneficial, so don’t be limited by this.
  • Include enough play toys, hiding places and chew items in your piggies’ house – basically, provide it with enough mental stimulation
  • Also, think of buying or making a really heavy house or hut your fur babies won’t be able to flip over as easily.
  • Put other destructible items in the cage so they could flip those over instead, like hay cubes and tunnels.
  • Pay attention to your cavies’ emotions to predict how they feel and to understand why they feel that way.
  • To keep your little friends active and mental stimulated, periodically add new toys and items to their cage. To minimize boredom, rotate the toys in and out so they always have something new to play with.
  • Last but not the least, spend quality time playing with your guinea pigs every day. This can be done either outside of the cage or inside it.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Mess Up Their Cage?

Guinea pigs are very active rodents and can mess up their cages in the process of all the activity. Some reasons why your guinea pig will mess up its cage include:

1. Chasing each other

When your guinea pigs are chasing each other in the cages, they can mess things up (like tipping their food bowls over).

To avoid this, set a feeding schedule, so they don’t knock things over and scatter everywhere in the middle of playtime.

In fact, your guinea pig will appreciate a feeding schedule.

2. Hungry

If your guinea pig is hungry or if it feels like you’re late in giving it food, it might make a mess everywhere just to get your attention.

The ridiculousness just keeps going on and on, doesn’t it?

And get this – if your guinea pigs also don’t like the food you gave to it, they’ll sometimes make a mess just to get their point across. (Yes, it’s a thing that some piggies do).

3. Just to Get Your Attention

It’s a no-brainer at this point to know that your guinea pig will make a mess just to get your attention.

If they are full and not hungry at all – and just want you notice them – they’ll mess up their cages.

Because they are cheeky little rodents, they know that messing up their cages will bring you over to them. So they’ll do just that.

4. To Rearrange Their Cages

I’ve discussed guinea pigs flipping over their houses just to rearrange them.

They’ll also mess up their cages to rearrange the items in it – probably because they don’t like the position an item is in.

Rearranging is also fun for them, so they are prone to doing this frequently.

So, they’ll keep pushing and moving stuff until they can get it in the most comfortable position. And if it makes a mess (like flicking hay and bedding all over the place)…well, that’s just a side effect of their creative endeavors.

5. Boredom

Since guinea pigs are really active animals, they can quickly get bored. They need regular and steady playtime, a constant show of affection from you, and consistent entertainment so that they don’t get bored.

To carry out their frustration when they’re bored, they might mess things everywhere just because – especially if they know it can bring you to them.

Wanna Give Your Piggies
the 5 STAR Treatment?

Stop getting dirty looks from your piggies, because you forgot to do something for them...AGAIN. These colorful, chore charts will help you keep track of when to feed your fuzz butts, clean their cages, and much more. 

FREE

Final Thoughts About Why Guinea Pigs Flip Over Their Cages

So, don’t think that your guinea pig is acting weird because it is flipping over its house – it is perfectly normal. You just have to be extra observant to know what to do and how to react.

Don’t forget the tips given here – from increasing the size of the cage to introducing new play items to your guinea pig to keep them active.

They need mental stimulation and activity, so they don’t get bored.

Don’t freak out. Your guinea pig just needs all the love and attention it can get from you – so give it to them.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Flip Over Their House? (n.d.). Guliana. Pocket Sized Pets. https://pocketsizedpets.com/why-do-guinea-pigs-flip-over-their-house/

Why Do Guinea Pigs Flip Their House? (28 April 2021). Paul. The Guinea Pig Expert. https://theguineapigexpert.com/why-do-guinea-pigs-flip-their-house/

Why Do Guinea Pigs Flip Over Their House? (Causes and Solutions). (n.d.). Nila. Atractivo Pets. https://atractivopets.com/why-do-guinea-pigs-flip-over-their-house/

Enclosure ideas for your Guinea Pig. (n.d.). PDSA. https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/small-pets/the-ideal-home-for-your-guinea-pig

Having Fun with Your Guinea Pig. (14 September 2015). Talia Starkey. Pet Place. https://www.petplace.com/article/small-mammals/general/having-fun-with-your-guinea-pig/

If you know anyone who would need this article, why don’t you send it over to them? I’m sure they would appreciate it.

And so would their little fuzz spuds.

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