Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Easy DIY Rodent Hideouts

My guinea pig, Remnar, is rarely out in the open, unless he is looking for food. If he hears a bag rustling or, heaven help us, the fridge door opening, he is right there, wheeking incessantly until he gets a handout. Otherwise, he prefers to watch the world from the safety of his cage. Even when he plays, he mostly runs from cover to cover, only stopping to explore ares he deems safe.

Rodents are naturally skittish creatures. As prey animals, it makes sense that they prefer to have cover. If you own rodents, you will absolutely need to provide hideouts--areas where they can go to feel safe. Here are a couple of super easy hideout ideas.

If you have a cage with an open area, meaning it does not have a top, the simplest thing you can do is drape a blanket over the side of the cage. I used a small, no-sew fleece throw, but any blanket will do, as long as it fits over the side of your cage.

This happens to be Remnar's favorite hideout. He spends most of his time snoozing here, and it's big enough to share with his stuffed animal friends (or other piggies in the future...).

I like to tuck some of the blanket under the cage for my pet to lay on. This keeps the floor clean, and makes it easy to pick up any stray droppings.

Speaking of droppings, Remnar seems to like "doing his business" in privacy. In an attempt to potty train him, we made a privacy curtain for the corner of his cage. It has helped to keep the mess contained to mainly that corner. Although, he often takes naps there, especially when there is a lot of activity in the room. He likes being able to keep an eye on everyone while still feeling safe enough to doze off.

For this type of hideout, you need a cage with a wire top, and a high-corner litter pan. Measure the height of your cage. Add 5 inches to allow room for tying at the top and tucking on the bottom. Now measure across the front of the corner litter pan. Subtract 5 inches to allow for entrance/exit room on the sides. From a scrap of fleece, cut a triangle using these measurements.

Cut 1/2 inch off the top of the triangle, then cut a 3-inch slit straight down to form the ties. You can use the hideout as-is. Or, if your pet likes a little more visibility, cut a hole in the center of the triangle big enough for your pet to fit through with some wiggle room. Leave at least 3 inches in-tact on the top and bottom to make sure you can still secure it to the cage and pan easily enough. The nicest thing about this hideout is that it doesn't have to be perfect. Your measurements do not have to be exact, and it's okay if you cut it a little crooked. Fleece is very forgiving in that regard.

To install it, tie it to the top corner of the cage. Drape it down over the pan and tuck the bottom edge underneath. All you have to do to change the bedding is pull out the pan, dump it, refill, and tuck it back into the corner. No need to undo the ties.

Best of all, both of these hideouts are super easy to wash! When they get full of hair and other rodent by-products, just shake them out and throw them in the wash with your towels.

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