Can Pet Guinea Pigs Survive in The Wild?

Wild guinea pigs originated from the Andes mountains but were domesticated over 3000 years ago. Over time, these creatures have adapted to being pets, depending on us to survive. So what would happen if your furry friend escaped? Can a pet guinea pig survive in the wild?

Pet guinea pigs are domesticated animals that cannot survive in the wild for long. Pet guinea pigs cannot find food, water, or shelter from harsh weather in the wild. Domesticated guinea pigs also cannot protect themselves from predators or illness.

It’s only a matter of time before nature runs its course with a pet guinea pig on its own in the wilderness. Keep reading to learn more about how long guinea pigs can survive in the wild and tips on what to do if your guinea pig escapes.

Why Can’t Pet Guinea Pigs Survive in The Wild?

If your pet guinea pig escapes, it’s definitely a need for concern. Humans have given these animals everything they need to survive, so they have not learned the appropriate skills to survive on their own.

These skills include:

  • Looking for food
  • Finding water
  • Creating a shelter
  • Protection from predators

Over time, pet guinea pigs have adapted to rely on their owners for food, water, shelter, and protection. With that being said, when they are released into the wild, they will lack the necessary instincts to survive for a long period of time.

Wild cavies blend into nature and are better adapted for survival than pet guinea pigs today.

The Search for Food and Water

Pet guinea pigs are accustomed to receiving food and water from their owners. Their typical diet includes hay, pellets, fruits, and vegetables.

Yet, in the wild, they need to rely on their instincts to search for food in the natural vegetation around them. However, since they have adapted to living as pets, they have no instincts to follow!

In an unfamiliar environment, your guinea pig will be forced to rely on his little to no instincts to find appropriate food and water to survive.

If they’re lucky enough to find a suitable nutrition source, they may also face competition from other wildlife in the area, making it even harder for them to get what they need.

After adapting to living with a human, they have lost many of their natural instincts. And without their natural instincts, the likelihood of a guinea pig finding food and water without being eaten by a predator is extremely low.

Locating Shelter

Guinea pigs in the wild will need to find shelter immediately if they want to survive. Yet, they are used to their cages, so how likely would they find an appropriate place to stay warm and dry?

Some guinea pigs will follow their instincts and begin digging a hole to burrow in. Yet, while many have been domesticated, they’ll unlikely have the skill to dig holes to hide in.

Protection From Predators

Without shelter, a lost pet guinea pig would be exposed in the wilderness, giving predators an easy kill.

Yet, shelter isn’t the only thing a pet guinea pig needs to survive on its own. Domesticated guinea pigs are used to being safe in their surroundings, so they aren’t likely to be aware of their predators.

Some common predators of guinea pigs are:

  • Foxes
  • Snakes
  • Hawks
  • Coyotes
  • Owls
  • Feral cats

Even if the guinea pig is aware of a predator and tries to hide, they have a distinct fur coat that makes them easy to follow. Plus, they only run about 6 miles per hour, making them easy prey for their speedy predators.

How Long Can a Pet Guinea Pig Go Without Food and Water?

Pet guinea pigs should be fed once a day to prevent conditions like GI stasis and eventually starvation.

To prevent illness or any health problems, guinea pigs should not go longer than 12-24 hours without food.

Guinea pigs can die from starvation within a few days if not from GI stasis before that. So if your pet guinea pig is out in the wild, they will need to find a food source quickly in order to survive.

Guinea pigs also require a minimum of 80 to 100 milliliters of water per day. They can only go up to 12 hours without water.

Guinea pigs get dehydrated quickly, and this can be fatal in as little as 48 hours. Guinea pigs in the wild will need a reliable water source to prevent dehydration and other adverse health effects.

What Should I Do If My Guinea Pig Escapes?

If your guinea pig escapes, it will be up to you to find them before nature takes its course.

To begin, start looking for any areas with holes or burrows. Look in all the nooks and crannies as your guinea pig can squeeze into small spaces.

If that doesn’t work, you can use their favorite treats to attract them back to your house. Scatter them throughout your yard, trailing back to your house so that your sweet guinea can make its way back home.

If your guinea pig still hasn’t come home, post pictures and talk with neighbors to see if it has been found. Check with local veterinarians and animal shelters in case your guinea pig was taken there.

Continue looking for days after, but remember the chances of finding your pet guinea pig after a few days is highly unlikely.

Guinea pigs can enjoy supervised time outside as long as they are in a secure enclosure.

To prevent your pet from escaping, ensure that their cage is closed and secured when you are not around.

When you are around and your guinea pig is out of his enclosure, make sure all doors and large windows are shut. If you take your guinea pig outside, be sure to put them inside an enclosure without gaps or small holes.

Also remember to never leave your guinea pig unsupervised outside in case of predators lurking around.

What Should I Do If I No Longer Want My Guinea Pig?

If you can no longer care for your guinea pig friend, or you realize that you cannot take care of them properly, take them to a vet or a rescue center.

You can also use social media to find a loving home for your pet.

Remember, DO NOT release them into the wild because they cannot survive on their own. Plus, it is illegal to abandon your pets like this.

Guinea pigs are living beings, and they deserve a happy life. If you no longer want yours, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. Do the right thing and find him a new home either at an adoption center or through word of mouth.

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs are great pets, but they won’t do so well on their own in the wild. After being domesticated, these animals have little to no instincts for hunting or protecting themselves. So if you no longer want your guinea pig, be sure to find them a new home or take them to a reputable rescue center.

And if you love your guinea pig and wish to take them outdoors, just make sure they’re safely enclosed so they can enjoy all the fun adventures that are yet to come.

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