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
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.
Thanks very much!
- Thanks for the Memories