Can Guinea Pigs Live in a Hamster Cage? Expert Answers!

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“Can a guinea pig live in a hamster cage?” That’s a question I’ve heard more than a few times as an experienced guinea pig parent!

The short answer is no, but let’s discuss why that is [1].

Guinea pigs and pet hamsters might be cute and fluffy, but their needs – especially regarding housing – are quite different.

So, to ensure your guinea pig lives its best life, let’s dive deeper into this topic and ensure your piggy is housed properly!

Key Takeaways

  • Guinea pigs cannot live in hamster cages due to significant differences in size and housing requirements. Hamster cages fall short when providing enough space and amenities for guinea pigs.
  • Housing plays a crucial role in the health and well-being of guinea pigs. They need larger cages for exercise, hiding spots, and separate areas to eat, sleep, and use the bathroom.
  • Choosing an appropriate habitat for guinea pigs, such as an appropriately sized cage, ensures they can thrive, stay active, and enjoy their environment.

Characteristics of Guinea Pigs Versus Hamsters

When comparing guinea pigs and hamsters, some fascinating differences make both unique. An obvious starting point would be the size.

As an owner of both, I can tell you that guinea pigs are generally larger than hamsters. They have a sturdy build and can reach sizes of 8-12 inches.

guinea pig in wild but can guinea pigs see in the dark

On the other hand, hamsters are more compact, averaging around 4-7 inches. It’s quite a difference when it comes to their overall measurements.

These two creatures also differ when it comes to exercise habits. Guinea pigs are social animals that thrive on interaction and require regular exercise to maintain their health.

They love exploring their habitat and benefit from having space to roam. But hamsters are more solitary and prefer smaller areas to burrow and run on their exercise wheel.

Lastly, let’s consider their typical habitats. Cavies need spacious enclosures with plenty of floor space and hiding spots.

Hamsters feel safer in smaller cages with tunnels and comfortable bedding. In addition, it meshes better with its tiny figures.

Our next section will look deeper into typical habitats. I’ll discuss the dimensions needed for an ideal hamster and guinea pig cage.

Read more about which is easier to care for, hamsters or guinea pigs.

Guinea Pig Cages Versus Hamster Cages

Typical hamster cages are like cozy little condos, ranging from 12 to 24 inches long. It’ll provide ample space for our furry hamster pals.

hamster in cage, do hamsters need sunlight

However, piggies require more real estate with their social personalities. Their cage requirements are at least 30 by 36 inches, allowing them to strut around adorably [1].

But it’s not just about the cuteness factor; the right cage size is vital for their health and well-being. 

Cavies need room to exercise, stretch those little legs, and even pop in a hideout. So, bigger is always better for your baby piggy when it comes to cage size!

Notable Issues with Guinea Pigs Living in Hamster Cages

Let me tell you; there are some severe issues when housing our little fluffy pals in hamster cages. Of course, the biggest problem is the space constraints.

Hamster cages are too small to accommodate a cavy’s needs. These energetic critters require room to stretch their paws, run around, and indulge in popcorning (look at this adorable video).

The lack of space can have detrimental effects on their health. It’ll cause boredom, obesity, and even muscle and joint problems.

It’s like trying to fit a watermelon into a lemon-sized container – it just doesn’t work! But it’s not just about size; it’s also about design.

Hamster cages are designed with features that cater to hamsters’ specific behaviors and preferences. A few examples include narrow tunnels and small hideouts.

Guinea pigs, however, have different needs. They require more expansive spaces, flat surfaces, and plenty of hiding spots to feel safe and secure [3].

Putting a cavy in a hamster cage is like asking them to navigate a maze meant for a tiny creature. It’s just not fair to our fluffy animal friends.

As responsible pet owners, we must prioritize the well-being of our pets. Keeping guinea pigs in hamster cages goes against this principle.

Their habitats should allow them to express their natural behaviors. It must also promote their physical and mental health and ensure their happiness.

Opting for suitable guinea pig housing or a spacious, cozy enclosure meets these needs. Plus, it shows our commitment to their welfare.

So, let’s ditch the idea of squeezing cavies into hamster cages and give them the room they deserve. It’s just a bad idea.

guinea pig in stress but why do guinea pigs cry

Trust me; they’ll be forever grateful and reward you with their irresistible squeaks and cuddly antics!

Alternatives for Housing Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs, those adorable balls of fur, deserve a cozy abode. So thankfully, there are acceptable housing alternatives to a traditional hamster cage to meet their habitat needs.

Let’s explore some exciting and creative options to make your furry friend squeal joyfully!

#1 Cage Designed with Piggies in Mind

Guinea pigs are notorious for their love of space. So why not treat them like royalty with specially designed guinea pig cages?

These spacious cages offer plenty of room for your guinea pig to roam, play, and exercise to their heart’s content. I’ve never seen a cavy who doesn’t enjoy them.

Look for cages with multiple levels, ramps, and hideouts where they can explore and relax in style. Your guinea pig will thank you for their deluxe accommodation!

#2 DIY Cage Options or Customized Enclosures

If you’re a little adventurous and want to put your DIY skills to the test, why not create a unique cage for your favorite pet? The possibilities are endless!

The DIY route allows you to unleash your creativity and provide a comfortable habitat. I’ve even built several by re-purposing old furniture to create a more personal touch.

Just remember to ensure the materials are safe for your furball. You’ll also want to offer plenty of ventilation and easy cleaning options.

Check out this video on how to make a DIY guinea pig cage:

#3 Indoor or Outdoor Playpen Setups

Who says piggies can’t enjoy a bit of fresh air and sunshine? Indoor or outdoor playpen setups allow them to experience the great outdoors safely and supervised.

Indoor playpens can be set up with tunnels, obstacles, and toys to create a mini adventure park. Meanwhile, outdoor playpens offer sun basking and munching on tasty grass.

But always keep a watchful eye on your little explorer to ensure their safety. You never know what predators who see them as prey animals are waiting to pounce.

Ensure your pet’s comfort by delving into myr useful guide, “Platform for Guinea Pig Cage,” to learn about enhancing their living space effectively.


Overall, hamster cages are not suitable homes for our beloved piggies. Their differing size, social needs, and exercise requirements make it impossible.

So it’s essential to use housing alternatives that cater to their well-being. A few options include cages specifically designed for them, DIY options, and indoor/outdoor playpens.

couple shopping for hamster's cage

Remember, choosing a suitable habitat is about the space and providing mental stimulation and social interaction. It’s crucial to tailor your piggy’s living space accordingly.


1. The Humane Society of the United States. Guinea pig housing [Internet]. The Humane Society of the United States. 2019. Available from:

2. Welfare concerns related to inadequate guinea pig and rabbit housing [Internet]. [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:

Linda Simon
Linda Simon

Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS is a locum veterinary surgeon who has worked in London for the past 8 years. She graduated top of her class in small animal medicine from UCD, Dublin. She is currently a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Linda is the resident vet for Woman magazine and a frequent contributor to People’s Friend Magazine, the Dogzone website, Vet Help Direct and Wag! Linda also writes content for the CVS veterinary group, Vetwriter and a number of other establishments.

As well as working in clinic, Linda is an online vet for www. where she has been providing online advice for thousands of owners since 2018.

In her spare time, Linda enjoys baking, yoga and running around after her young son!


Read her latest articles HERE
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