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Hiding Spooked!

tiggertoo

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My 2 female guinea pigs, which we have had for 3 weeks, are suddenly spooked out of their minds about something at one end of their cage. They will barely leave their hideys, even to eat and drink. I have to put the food right next to their hiding spot, whereas before “The Incident” they would run to me at meal time, and wheek when they heard my footsteps.


I cleaned out the cage, changed the bedding, took out any accessories that were possibly spooky, put a board at the end so there was nothing to see there, and gave them (too) many treats. Still won’t venture to the other side of the cage. The only change I can think of happening right before they started acting this way was I sewed a U-Haul blanket to the fleece and put it in the cage. When I changed the bedding after the spookout, I put the original fleece and towels down, but it did not seem to make a difference.


They are still happy and popcorning at floor time, but it has been 4 days and they are still spooked in their cage (although one is more than the other). Before this, they loved any and all changes and additions I would make to their environment.


I have searched this forum and read other posts on this subject, but would love to hear some other advice or comments. My cage is fleece lined, 2 x 4 C&C.
 

pinky

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Can you post a photo of the cage so we can see what might be scaring them?
 

tiggertoo

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I will give it a try tonight, Pinky, thank you!
 
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RubyRain

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I wonder if it's a smell. If there's nothing visual, a smell could keep them away from an area. Do you have other animals? Could a cat have sprayed an area without you knowing?
 

tiggertoo

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No other domestic animals are allowed in their area. I was thinking maybe a spider....? I washed the cage down with vinegar, just in case it was a smell.

The big question is, how do I get them un-spooked?
 

pinky

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I have one that gets spooked when we cast a shadow on her. Is it possible that could be the problem? We noticed that Wolfbane runs as soon as she sees a shadow cast in the cage. It happens more often when it's sunny out or if we have one particular lamp on.
 

tiggertoo

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That is a good idea, Pinky. I will check on the lighting in the room.
 

Onetwo

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Is it possible that they are sick or injured? Guinea pigs that hide and stay away from their favorite foods is something serious. If they dont eat and drink often their digestive tracks can die (if they dont eat something every 6 hours MINIMUM). You need to make sure that they are eating weather inside or outside the cage. If they wont eat anything you need to start hand feeding them. Guinea pigs are prey animals and are fearful and can be freaked out. I find that my guinea pigs get over any fear pretty quickly when lettuce is involved. I would rule out illnesses at this point because NOTHING would keep my piggies hiding for 4 days...
 

tiggertoo

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Onetwo, they are eating all their veggies, pellets, and hay, as long as they are on the "non-spooky" side of the cage. I just can't coax them to the other side.

When they are out of the cage, their behavior is normal. They explore and play the entire floor area, and are not afraid of any new items.

I am now thinking I need to move the cage. This is very helpful, bouncing ideas around!
 

tiggertoo

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Pinky, I couldn't upload a picture, but here is the update:

I rearranged their cage so it was a "mirror image" (I just switched everything to the other side...) and they liked it! They are getting back to normal, and are now using the entire cage again. Whew!

I hope soon they will be ready for their toys and accessories to return to the cage, but I will give them more time to settle in, and introduce new things slowly.

Thank you everyone for all your help and advice! I still don't know what caused this, but a shadow or spider seems most likely.
 

pinky

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Pinky, I couldn't upload a picture, but here is the update:

I rearranged their cage so it was a "mirror image" (I just switched everything to the other side...) and they liked it! They are getting back to normal, and are now using the entire cage again. Whew!

I hope soon they will be ready for their toys and accessories to return to the cage, but I will give them more time to settle in, and introduce new things slowly.

Thank you everyone for all your help and advice! I still don't know what caused this, but a shadow or spider seems most likely.

I'm happy to hear it all worked out. I think prey animals just get spooked easily.
 

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