Once you've built a play area for your furry friends, what do you put in it?
Play areas need things that cater to guinea pigs' instincts to tunnel, explore, and hide. These objects do not have to be fancy or expensive, though you’ll want to maximize the benefits of playtime by providing different items and toys than what your pigs have on a regular basis in their cage.
- Take a paper grocery bag, cut a hole out of at least one side, and lay the open bag in the play area, creating both a tunnel and a hideaway.
- Cut the bottoms out of empty super-sized oatmeal containers (and remove the plastic ring typically found at the top of the containers) to create usable, chewable, disposable tunnels.
- Take a small paper bag, cut random holes on the top and sides, and then stuff it with hay (preferably something different than what they ordinarily have in their cage).
- Take a segment of a wrapping paper tube, cut random holes in it, then stuff it with hay or with lettuce leaves. (Wrapping paper tubes typically do not have the glue on them that paper towel and toilet paper tubes do.)
- Take a new, clean plastic dishpan, cut one or two holes at opposite ends, and turn the dishpan over to create a sizable combination hidey house and tunnel that’s washable and affordable.
- Purchase the large-sized Chube or Chewbular tunnels, which are colorful, chewable, and disposable. These are perfect for even the pudgiest adult guinea pigs.
- Purchase PVC pipe or landscape tubing, both of which make for washable tunnels. Both are available at places like Home Depot, typically at half the price of the plastic tunnels found in pet stores. You can often find Y- and T-shaped tubes, as well as elbow (curved) and straight tubes. Where adult guinea pigs often outgrow the diameter of the plastic Funnels in pet stores, most of the landscape tubes and PVC pipes are wide enough to accommodate all but the pudgiest pigs.
- Fiddle Sticks tunnels/houses, which are big enough to accommodate a couple of snoozing guinea pigs.
- Fleece and fabric tunnels, tents, cozy cups, and cozy sacks. You can make your
own, or purchase them; they're often found in the same aisle as ferret
As your budget will allow, have a variety of toys that you can swap out every few weeks to give your pigs new combinations of toys to entertain themselves with. You’ll have as much fun watching them respond to your creative ideas for their playscape as they’ll have playing in it!