Escaped Guinea Pig, indoors

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Post   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:24 am


I searched for this question in the forum and found that some advice had been given for catching an outside guinea pig who escaped, but not indoors. Please delete and refer me to the proper topic if this has been discussed before. And thank you in advance for your help.

I have two male Guinea pigs who live in a Living World XL habitat. Yes, I realize that it barely meets the minimum size requirement. I live in a small apartment and do not have a place where I could set up a C&C. But that isn't what I'm here to talk about. I would appreciate it if no-one would derail my actual question by telling me that I need to get them a larger cage. It's the largest commercial cage I can find in the US and they have plenty of space to run around.

Two weeks ago we were cleaning the cage when our youngest pig, Nibby (short for Nibbles) decided to make a break for it. We've had him since birth (he's almost 2) and he's never liked to be held. He won't come to us and he's now free in a bedroom with lots of large furniture for him to hide under. As soon as you walk in the room or your foot hits the floor to get out of bed, he dashes for cover. We have been putting down hay, pellets, water, and veggies for him daily. I've picked up everything that I think could be dangerous to him and we already had the electrical cords covered.

Normally when a small pet gets out I will just set their cage on the floor with the door open. Within hours the pet always returns to the safety and familiarity, not to mention the food, of home. But I can't do that in this case because a) the cage is very large and heavy and b) we have another guinea pig in the cage. I don't want to displace him trying to catch Nibby. I do not have another guinea-pig-suitable cage to set on the floor; only a small critter trail hamster cage that we use when cleaning the hamsters' homes.

First I hoped to lure him into the bathroom where there is really no place to hide. But right after he got out, for two days I put food and water in the bathroom for him and left the door open. The bathroom has two entrances so it would be easy to keep one door closed and go in the other door. Well, for that two days none of the food was touched. I couldn't have him starving and going without water so I decided to feed him in the bedroom. He seems to feel more comfortable close to our other pig, Snickers, because he generally hangs around under furniture close to the cage. The bathroom door is on the opposite side of the room.

I tried just throwing the towel over him when he's in an open space but he is so quick and suspicious of me that he runs at my slightest movement toward him. By the time the towel hits the ground he is long gone.

I almost caught him by placing a large plastic house on the floor. It's one of those large plastic houses that is shaped to give them a step to get on top if they want to. He can go inside and his whole body is under the house. I placed food he loves under the house. When he ran in to eat I threw a towel over the house. He was confused about how to get out and couldn't find the door. I got down on the floor and stuck my arm under the house to grab him. That gave him just enough room to dash through the small space beneath my arm and get away. I didn't realize that guinea pigs have such good memories. I tried it again but now as soon as the towel covers the house he is able to find the door and run. But I have continued to place treats beneath this house daily so that he has some safe shelter besides the furniture. I've made it his kind of "home base," feeding him there and setting down a blanket. He stays hidden under the bed most of the time but has become used to coming to the house to eat. I'm also hoping that I can find another way to trap him using the house.

So now here I am two weeks later with a "guinea pigs gone wild" story (Lol). I wonder if anyone here has faced a similar situation and, if so, what did you do? How do you catch a skittish little animal when he has lots of places to hide out of your reach? I should also mention that both myself and my SO are older and he just had hip replacement surgery two months ago. I have back and knee injuries and am riddled with arthritis, so getting down on the floor is not something we enjoy doing. When we do, it's really difficult to get back up. I really don't have a way to block off access to all under-furniture areas without obstructing movement in the room.

He still knows who his momma is. He responds to me when I call his name. He wheeks excitedly when I come in the door just like his brother. He even runs around on top of my feet while I'm putting down his food. But I'm not quick enough to grab him. He is having a great time and seems to think it's all a big party. I feel an urgent need to get him back into his cage. Without thinking of the safety concerns, I'm afraid Snickers might not accept him back if he's gone too long. I hear them talking to each other, or they seem to chirp back and forth anyway. I'm just afraid something will happen. We have two cats who are not allowed in the bedroom because one of them _will_not_ leave the small animal cages alone. I don't want the cats knocking over one of the hamsters and scaring or hurting him even if the cage is secure enough to keep the cat out. Nibby is a big guinea pig but he's defenseless against a cat. If one gets in the bedroom I worry that he will be hurt. My cats are only 10 months old and I'm hoping that when they mature I'll be able to have them in the bedroom without them harassing the little ones. I've had other cats who ignore the small animals so I know it's possible.

So if anyone has an idea for me, please share. I need to get my baby boy back to safety.

Thank you in advance,
Penny aka Shadokat

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Post   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:22 pm

Do you have any of the grids that are being used to make cages? Do you have some large and small cardboard boxes? You need to put a barrier up to confine him to one section of the room. Then set up a large cardboard box with a couple small ones inside so he has to turn some corners to get in the center. The outside box should be on its side with a flap open that you can close. Put a trail of his favorite food and hay from the room to the center of the box. Sit on the bed and talk to him and wait. When he follows the food, close the outside flap and slowly turn the whole box right side up. He shouldn’t be able to climb or jump out. Then give him a stern talking to!


Post   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:02 pm

This is a really good idea! But I don't have grids or anything like them. I have plastic totes and plenty of Amazon boxes of different sizes. I wonder what I could substitute for the grids. Thank you!


Post   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:04 pm

Not had that exact situation but we have used tunnels/Tubes in order to be able to get wayward piggies back in the cage or pick them up for weighings. However as you say it only works a few times before they associate it with being picked up. We have also used a soft hidey that we have for floor time that is shaped like a big strawberry and has a base. We put food in as the lure and when the piggy goes in we can roll it back so the hole is at the top and then reach in and calm and pet them before picking them up.

Paper Grocery bags also work, the big ones with handles. Lay them down with some food in and the when the piggy goes i approach from the side opposite the opening and gently (but quickly) flip it upright.


Post   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:17 pm

You know, yesterday we went shopping and brought home some black cloth bags with handles. We were just discussing using one of these bags like a hide to put more stuff out for him while he's loose. How that I think about it though, I've got some larger bags made of a vinyl material that's stiffer. Between the two ideas you guys have suggested, I have an idea. Maybe I could rig a box or one of these bags with a rope and string it through a drawer handle. Lure him into the bag/box with food while sitting on the bed and then simply pull the rope to Pull the box or bag upright. Then I don't have to approach and he doesn't get as tense. Hmmmm. I'm going to dig around the house.

Thanks very much!

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Post   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:42 pm

Sounds like you have a plan and that piggie won’t be free-range much longer! Good luck!


Post   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:34 pm

Good Luck!


Post   » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:20 pm

Curiosity is getting the better of me, how did you do? Did you manage to "Bag" him?


Post   » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:08 pm

He's a wily little dude. I cordoned off an area of the room with boxes and put his food in the center in a flipped over box. He went in the box but when I started to upright the box he managed to jump high enough to get on top of the other boxes and ran away. Now he won't go back over to that area. I'm trying to figure out another place to try to get him but there is only so much clear floor space in the room.

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Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:29 pm

Something we did with a hamster was we built a ramp into a trash can and put food in there, so he got hungry, went into the trashcan, and then was trapped. You might be able to do similar with a sterlite container. Otherwise you might have to try a have a heart trap or clearing out the entire room. Can you borrow a baby gate/portable playpen thing?


Post   » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:24 pm

Did you catch him?

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