Why Do Guinea Pigs Dig? (Explained)

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Guinea pigs are becoming increasingly popular as pets in recent years. They are gentle, loving animals that make wonderful companions.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why guinea pigs dig and provide some examples.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Do guinea pigs dig?

Guinea pigs do not typically dig like other small animals such as hamsters or gerbils. While they may enjoy burrowing in hay or cozy bedding, digging is not a common behavior for guinea pigs.

They are more likely to create tunnels or nests by pushing around their bedding rather than actively digging.

Why do guinea pigs dig?

Guinea pigs dig primarily out of instinct and foraging behavior. In the wild, they dig to find food, create burrows for shelter, and establish territories.

Digging also helps maintain their teeth and claws. Providing guinea pigs with appropriate toys and digging materials can help satisfy this natural behavior in a safe and enriching way.

However, guinea pigs will also dig because they are bored.

If your guinea pig is not getting enough exercise or stimulation, it may start to dig as a way to release energy.

So we can summarize that guinea pigs dig for the following reasons:

  • To find food
  • To create a safe space
  • To mark their territory
  • Because they are bored

They may also dig because they are excited or nervous, so it is important to provide them with a safe space to hide if they feel overwhelmed.

Why do guinea pigs burrow in the hair?

Guinea pigs like to burrow into human hair because they are looking for warmth and security. Guinea pigs don’t have a thick layer of fur like some other animals, such as cats and dogs, so they must seek out additional sources of warmth and safety.

When a guinea pig finds a warm body, like a human’s head of hair, it makes for a safe and comfortable place to nestle down in. It’s also something fun for them to do!

Can guinea pigs dig holes?

Guinea pigs can certainly dig holes. In the wild, they are known to make burrows and tunnels in order to find food and water, escape predators, and create a safe space to raise their young.

Domestic guinea pigs often inherit this natural digging instinct and will start to dig in their cage if they’re bored or feel like they need more space to explore. 

If your guinea pig is starting to dig holes in their enclosure, there are a few things you can do to redirect this behavior.

  • Provide them with more toys and enrichment items like hay fleece houses or cardboard tubes to keep them occupied.
  • Give them a larger enclosure so they have more space to explore.
  • Add more substrates for them to dig in like shredded paper.
  • Consider getting another guinea pig so they have a friend to play with.

Because guinea pigs are social animals, they may start to dig if they feel lonely or isolated.

If you think this might be the case, consider getting your guinea pig a friend.

What about covering your guinea pig cage at night? Do they like it? have you ever thought about it before?

If so, check out my recent article, where I go over everything you need to know about covering your guinea pig’s cage at night.

Can guinea pigs dig tunnels?

Yes, guinea pigs can dig tunnels. Some people provide them with specially-made cardboard boxes or tubes that allow them to tunnel around.

Other guinea pigs will simply create their own tunnels by digging in the substrate of their enclosure. Now, of course, if you have a guinea pig in a domestic cage, the chances of them being able to create an extensive tunnel system are slim.

But if you have an outdoor enclosure for your guinea pig, they may be able to create a small network of tunnels.

Why do guinea pigs burrow?

Guinea pigs are interesting creatures with a variety of behaviors that can be intriguing to watch. One such behavior is burrowing, which guinea pigs often do in the wild to create a safe space for themselves. But why do guinea pigs burrow?

There are a few reasons.

  • Burrowing can help guinea pigs to regulate their body temperature. They are more susceptible to heat than cold, so by burrowing into the ground, they can stay cool in summertime weather.
  • Burrowing is also a way for guinea pigs to mark their territory. By leaving their scent in a particular area, they are claiming that space as their own.

Do they like to dig?

They love it! Guinea pigs are curious creatures that love to explore their surroundings.

One way they do this is by digging, which can be a fun activity for them if they have the right environment to do so.

Providing them with a large enclosure or specially made cardboard tubes can give them the opportunity to dig.

Why do guinea pigs burrow in their bedding?

Guinea pigs are notorious for their love of burrowing, and they will often bury themselves beneath their bedding in search of a cozy place to sleep.

While this may seem like a quirky behavior, there is actually a very practical reason behind it. In the wild, guinea pigs live in burrows that provide them with protection from predators and bad weather.

By burrowing in their bedding, domestic guinea pigs are simply engaging in a natural behavior that makes them feel safe and secure.

So, it is important to provide your pet guinea pig with plenty of soft, clean bedding material to encourage this instinctive behavior.

That said, guinea pigs may also burrow in their bedding as a way to escape from something they perceive as threatening.

If your guinea pig is suddenly starting to burrow more than usual, it may be a sign that they are feeling stressed or anxious.

In this case, it is important to take a look at their environment and see if there are any changes that might be causing them distress.

For example, if you have recently added a new pet to the household, your guinea pig may be feeling overwhelmed and may be trying to escape the situation by burrowing.

If you think this might be the case, try to provide your guinea pig with a safe space to hide and avoid handling them too much until they have had a chance to adjust to the new pet.


Before we move on to the conclusion, we’ve summarized this article into a short list of key points for you to remember:

  • Soft bedding for burrowing in provides comfort when your guinea pig is sleeping or resting in its cage.
  • Burrows offer guinea pigs a way to stay dry and clean if there’s wetness at the bottom of their cages, such as urine or food dishes spilled over with water.
  • Burrowing in human hair is a way for guinea pigs to seek out warmth and safety.
  • Domestic guinea pigs may dig to create tunnels if they are bored or need more space.

Final thoughts

In this article, we’ve gone through a lot of various topics.

I discussed the different reasons why guinea pigs might dig and also whether or not they can actually tunnel or burrow. Then, we went over some practical tips that you can use to redirect this behavior if your guinea pig is starting to dig holes in their enclosure.

Finally, I talked about why guinea pigs burrow in their bedding and what you can do if your guinea pig starts to burrow more than usual. I hope you found this article helpful and that it gave you a better understanding of guinea pig digging behavior.

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