A rat/mice infestation can be a pain for you and your guinea pigs, especially when you don’t know why they are coming and how to get rid of them. Could it be that your guinea pigs attract rats? Or is there something else to it? As a curious guinea pig owner, I did some research, and here is what I found out!
Guinea pigs don’t attract rats directly towards them; however, their food, unmaintained living environment, or poop buildup might do so. Rats are scavengers that have an instinct of scavenging through piles of trash and other places for food. If your guinea pigs cage has lots of uneaten food and an untidy living environment, then it can be a significant attractant for rats.
From my personal experience, I can say that rats can be frustrating to deal with. Especially when they pay a visit to your guinea pigs enclosure.
Are rats/mice dangerous to guinea pigs?
Did you know that rats can hurt your guinea pigs badly? I have heard of some instances when rats have even harmed some guinea pigs.
Apart from the threat of injury, rats also carry a danger of spreading diseases. Your guinea pigs might get infected with Hantavirus, Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), Tularemia, and Salmonella.
These diseases are transmitted either through a rat bite, their urine, droppings, or via many other mediums. The viruses spread via rats are not only dangerous for your guinea pigs but their owners as well.
Thus, it is a wise decision to make sure you keep your guinea pigs well protected from rats. So, to prevent rat infestation, we must first understand what the significant attractants of rats are. Once we know that, we can quickly fix the problem.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Attract Rats?
As I told earlier guinea pigs don’t attract rats on their own. However, their living environment can. Here are some of the major attractants of rats around guinea pigs.
The leftover food is one of the primary attractants of rats around your guinea pigs. Here the food doesn’t include hay, as hay is the least concerned food item.
However, other food items, including Vegetables, Fruits, Pellets & Treats, can be a major one.
Many guinea pig owners make a mistake of putting too much food at once i.e., because for two reasons, either they don’t have enough time or they don’t have the right information.
If you have a lot of food in your guinea pig cage, then it is obviously going to attract other animals, including bugs and rats.
Improper living environment
The improper living environment is the second major attractant of rats towards your guinea pigs. By now you already know how messy can your guinea pigs be.
They love to spread their food around their cage and poop all around as well.
That can lead to a major rat infestation as rats love to search for food in trash and dirty places where the probability of finding something is high for them.
They also look for such places to nurse their young.
Does guinea pig poop attract rats?
Yes, it might sound a little gross, but guinea pigs poop does attract rats. Rats are attracted to all kinds of food, even undigested food remaining in the poop.
So, if you have a poop buildup in your guinea pigs enclosure, then there is a high chance that rats are being drawn in towards them.
Source of water
During hot summer months, when water is scarce in the area, rats might give a visit to your guinea pigs cage in search of water as well.
Although this is a rare occurrence as most of the time, they are looking for a food source.
However, if they find a reliable source of water in your guinea pigs cage, then they might come for it as well.
Looking for nesting spots
Rats are warm-blooded animals, and they do need a warm and cozy place to build their nest.
Especially during a harsh winter, rats might find the well-insulated enclosure of your guinea pig as a perfect nesting spot that can quickly draw them in.
How Do I Get Rid Of Rats Around My Guinea Pigs?
Now that you know what are the significant attractants of rats around your guinea pigs, we can quickly fix the issue of rat infestation. There are a few tips you can apply to get rid of rats.
Get rid of spare food
As we had discussed earlier, one of the significant attractants of rats is excess food lying around the cage. Now you can fix this issue by following two simple steps:
- Instead of serving all veggies and fruits at once, serve it in small portions 2-3 times a day.
- Remove any uneaten food from the enclosure within a few hours itself.
By following these steps, you can ensure that whatever food is being served to your guinea pigs gets over within a few hours only, and there is no leftover food that can attract other animals.
Use peppermint essential oil around your garden
Peppermint oil is an excellent DIY natural remedy to get rid of rats from your home. Rats don’t like the smell of it and thus remain away.
You can simply dilute the oil in water and spray around the potential entry area to keep the rats away from your guinea pigs.
An Important note: Guinea pigs have a strong sense of smell and can get ill due to the scent of essential oils. It will be wise to keep your guinea pigs away while spraying the same. Never do so around the area where you house your guinea pigs.
Use a rattrap
Using a rattrap might sound something traditional, but it still works in the present. You can use the rattraps to catch those ugly rodents and leave them free somewhere far off.
Some traps can hurt the rat as well, but it will be a wise move to stay away from those unless you want your hands dirty.
Also, if the rats pass away at some inaccessible location, then it might make your home stink like anything unless you track them down and get rid of them.
Raise the enclosure
Raising the enclosure doesn’t ensure safety or can get rid of rats directly; however, it does add to the challenge of climbing up high for food instead of being accessible at the ground.
If you are using a hutch as an enclosure, try adding some legs for additional height. You can also add height to your C&C cage by designing a loft using some additionals grids.
If you are using a midwest cage or something like that, then you might need to keep it above some table or something so that it gets a little challenging for the rats to reach to your guinea pigs.
Busting Myths: Do guinea pigs keep rats away?
No, it is just a myth that guinea pigs can keep the rats away. It is often seen recommending people to keep guinea pigs around the aviary to keep the rats away.
However, in most cases, it won’t work. Rats are quite aggressive, and guinea pigs stand no chance against them. Thus make sure you keep rats away from your guinea pigs.
Do guinea pigs attract rats? No, guinea pigs don’t attract rats; however, uneaten food, soiled living area, and hunt for a comfortable shelter may attract rats towards your guinea pigs enclosure.
Rats are not good for your guinea pigs, as they can cause a wide variety of diseases among piggies. Thus, it is recommended to keep rats away from your guinea pigs at all costs.
Sources: Rats and mice – prevention and control, Mice and Rats, Rat infestation
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