Just How Fast Can a Guinea Pig Run? Prepare to be Surprised!

Guinea pigs can cover ground at a surprisingly speedy pace. While they may not look like highly toned athletes, as prey animals, cavies have developed a few useful tricks to get themselves out of harm’s way. One of these is being able to turn on bursts of sudden speed. Usually, slow, laid-back herbivores may dart across a room, which may make you wonder how fast guinea pigs are.

Healthy domestic guinea pigs can move at speeds of up to 6 mph. Wild cavies can run faster. As prey animals, they are able to run quickly over short distances but cannot maintain the pace for long. Individual speed is affected by health, fitness, age, and breed. Young pups can run soon after birth.

There are many factors that can affect individual piggy speed. Let’s find out how fast guinea pigs can run and why your cavy may sometimes move around at full throttle for no particular reason.

How Fast Can Guinea Pigs Run?

The record for the fastest guinea pig over 10m (32.81ft) is held by a piggy from the UK. In 2009, a cavy called Flash outpaced several competitors to cover the distance in 8.81 seconds.

While not all pet piggies are quick enough to set world records, most healthy pet cavies can reach top speeds of around 6mph. Wild cavies can run much faster but usually weigh less and are more agile than our pampered companions.

Individual piggy speeds are affected by things like age and fitness level. In the same way as not every human could compete in an athletic event at the Olympics, some guinea pigs are able to move faster than others.

Things that affect guinea pig speed include:

On the other side of the scale, senior guinea pigs may also be less active and speedy than younger herd members. Younger piggies are often fitter and dart about enthusiastically. They may even popcorn excitedly while running.

  • Fitness – The size of a guinea pig’s cage will affect its speed. An animal housed in a large cage with plenty of space to move around and explore will invariably be fitter and faster than one kept in cramped conditions.
  • Health – Diet and overall health affect how energetic and speedy a piggy may be. A balanced diet, a clean, spacious cage, and plenty of floor time are the best ways to encourage your piggy to feel energetic. An obese piggy is unlikely to be able to move as fast as a fit, healthy cavy.
  • Breed and genetics – Some cavy breeds are naturally more agile than others. Genetics are not only about the physical characteristics that make piggies cute and appealing but also play a role in body structure and muscle composition.

Why Are Guinea Pigs So Fast?

To evade predators, guinea pigs have evolved several tactics to avoid becoming a meal. One of their best-known strategies is to freeze. Standing dead still makes them less noticeable, and hopefully, they will avoid detection.

Wild guinea pigs always forage near places where they can quickly hide. If a threat is detected, they make a speedy dash for cover. The short bursts of high speed, which is a feature in all piggies, is how they get back to their home base safely.

Linked to their impressive speeds over short distances, herds of cavies show incredible cooperation when faced with predators. Instead of all moving predictably, they typically split up and dart in different directions to confuse the attacker.

Are Guinea Pigs Slow Or Fast?

Guinea pigs are surprisingly swift over short distances. Of course, they are not as speedy as a cheetah or rabbit, but for tiny, low-slung rodents, they can cover ground quickly when they need to.

Many people think of guinea pigs as slow, lumbering little creatures when, in fact, they are highly energetic. Youngsters, in particular, enjoy darting around. Providing a spacious cage or outdoor area for piggies to run around and play can make them fitter, healthier pets.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Running Around The Cage?

Since pet cavies don’t have to worry about escaping from predators, it can be confusing to find them zooming around their cage at top speed for no apparent reason. There are several reasons why piggies may decide to run around energetically, and owners need to monitor the context to discover the reason.

Most of the time, when pet guinea pigs run, rather than amble, they feel energetic or happy. You may be carrying a treat toward the cage, or the little rodents feel excited because they are about to have floor time. Some other reasons why a piggy may be running include:

  • It is stretching its legs and using some extra energy. This beneficial movement should be encouraged by providing lots of stimulating toys and activities inside a spacious cage environment.
  • Wild cavies flee when they are scared. An anxious pet guinea pig may also run around in irregular patterns. If you find your piggy running around nervously, provide plenty of cozy hideaways, cuddle sacks, and hiding places in the cage. Then, try to determine the source of its fear.
  • Excessive energetic activity can be caused by health issues like fur mites. Uncomfortable itching can cause guinea pigs to run around in an agitated state, which, if left untreated, can be fatal.

How Do I Exercise My Guinea Pig?

Healthy guinea pigs can run at speeds of up to 6mph. Unfortunately, pet piggies often spend long hours in their cage, which can limit the amount of exercise they get. Less active lifestyles can result in conditions like obesity.

Cavies naturally love running around and foraging. The best way to get the little critters in shape is to give them plenty of space and interesting things to do.

There are many things you can do and many things you must never do to encourage your guinea pig to move around more. Safety must always be the top priority when embarking on a personal training program for your pet guinea pigs.

Safe ways to exercise guinea pigs

Activities that are unsafe and must be avoided

  • Provide the largest possible cage. There should be plenty of room for the piggy to run around and explore.
  • Keep more than one guinea pig. They are social animals that will play and interact with each other.
  • Have regular floor time. Guinea pigs should have time out of their cage every day to be able to run at full speed and explore.
  • Create a safe outdoor area where they can spend time in mild weather. The emphasis must be on safety from predators, potential toxic plants, and unexpected weather changes.
  • Provide plenty of toys, like tunnels, tubes, balls, and exciting items, to keep them interested and engaged throughout the day.
  • Hamster balls and wheels are not safe. Guinea pigs’ fragile spines can become severely damaged from being forced into an unnatural position.
  • Guinea pigs cannot be walked like dogs. Cavies are rodents. They do not enjoy being out in the open, and their fragile bodies could easily be injured from being jerked on a harness or lead. They could even escape, run away, or hide from being terrified.
  • Never force a guinea pig to swim. They do not enjoy it, and the temperature change can be extremely dangerous to their health.
  • Never put piggies outside for exercise time without supervision. Although cavies love being outside, it is essential to create an enclosed outdoor space where they can scamper around safely.

Conclusion

Guinea pigs have many different speed settings, from motionless to racing along at 6mph. Younger cavies are likely to run around more than their older cage mates, and speeding around is usually a sign of happiness as they burn off excess energy. Excessive running could also signal anxiety or be a health issue and should be checked out.