The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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No one is going to be happy to find out that their home has rats. Rats are disease-ridden creatures that can infest homes in large numbers if nothing is done to take care of the issue.
You likely already know how annoying it is to deal with things like mice and rats. Most people have encountered such pests once or twice, but some live in areas where rat problems are more significant.
Have you heard someone tell you that guinea pigs might attract rats recently? Sometimes people say things such as this but they aren’t really able to give you a reason why.
Is this actually true or is the idea that guinea pigs attract rats just a rumor? Read on to dig into the details so that you can understand the truth about guinea pigs and rats.
Guinea Pigs Don’t Attract Rats
The first thing that you should know right away is that guinea pigs do not attract rats. If you have a pet guinea pig, then you don’t need to worry or think that it’s a reason why rats have appeared in the vicinity.
The guinea pigs themselves are not going to attract rats in any way. Guinea pigs don’t get along well with rats, and it’s actually the case that guinea pigs can be endangered if rats come into contact with them.
You’ll learn more about the dangers that rats pose to guinea pigs later. For now, you just need to know that guinea pigs aren’t necessarily a beacon that calls the local rat population to your home.
What can attract rats is the environment that your guinea pig is living in. You have to keep many things in a guinea pig’s habitat to take care of it, and it’s possible that some of these items could be attracting mice and rats.
Leftover Food Could Attract Rats
The most likely thing that is going to attract rats to the area is food. Many types of food items that you give to your guinea pig could potentially attract rats just as food from your other pets could.
Food items such as vegetables, fruits, food pellets, and treats will also be things that rats will enjoy. If you leave food items such as this out where rats can get to them, then it’ll attract them to the area.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent this from happening. You might be making the mistake of leaving too much food out at once.
You don’t need to leave more food out than your guinea pig is going to be able to eat in one sitting. The guinea pig already has hay that it can munch on, and the hay isn’t something that you need to be concerned about in regards to rats.
Try to only give your guinea pig the right amount of food that it will eat in a timely fashion. If you avoid leaving out too much food, then you’ll be less likely to see rats in your home.
This is also a good way to keep bug problems from popping up. Leftover food can also attract nasty bugs such as cockroaches and ants, and you definitely don’t want to have to deal with that.
A Messy Living Environment Could Attract Rats
Guinea pigs aren’t the cleanest animals, and they likely leave their cages messy all the time. Your guinea pig probably spreads food around the cage often and it likely even poops all over the place.
This means that the environment that your guinea pig lives in could be attracting rats. Rats like to search for food in messy, dirty places.
You’ll commonly find rats digging through garbage and other nasty places looking for scraps of food. If it smells food and sees the messy environment that your guinea pig is living in, then it could very well choose to enter your home.
You can mitigate the risk of rats coming around by keeping your guinea pig’s habitat clean. This is going to involve more work than usual, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Try to prevent your guinea pig from making too much of a mess. Clean the cage and get rid of poop as often as you can.
Do your best not to allow the guinea pig to spread food all over the place. Whenever the guinea pig does make a mess, it’s going to be good to clean it up before the end of the day.
Guinea Pig Poop Can Attract Rats
Excess guinea pig poop has the potential to attract rats to the area. This is pretty gross to think about, but rats will gladly eat bits of undigested food that appears in guinea pig stools.
As disgusting as that thought might be, it’s going to be necessary to put it out of your head and clean things up. You know that guinea pigs poop all over the place, and this means that you need to be on top of your game.
Do your best to clean up the guinea pig droppings each day. This will make it far less likely that you will encounter significant problems.
You should be able to do a good job if you just get into the habit of cleaning your guinea pig’s cage daily. It isn’t necessarily hard to do, but it can be a bit tedious sometimes.
Many owners will slack off for a few days, and this is when rats might start taking an interest in your guinea pig’s cage. Try to be vigilant and understand that you’re doing this for the safety of your guinea pig and for the sanctity of your home.
Rats Need Water Sources
The same as other living creatures, rats are going to need access to water so that they can live. Your guinea pig has a convenient water source attached to its cage that rats will also find quite enticing.
It isn’t unheard of for rats to come near guinea pig cages to seek out water. If a rat is desperate for water, then this could definitely be a reason why it would enter your home.
Of course, this is a less likely scenario than the others presented so far. Usually, rats are going to be looking for food. It’s mostly when rats are deprived of a water source that they will come looking for water this way.
Just do your best to secure your guinea pig’s cage so that rats won’t be able to get in easily. If your guinea pig is near your location, that will make it less likely that rats will decide to bother it since rats should be fairly wary of humans.
Rats Need Nesting Spots
Nesting spots are another reason why rats might be attracted to the area where your guinea pig is staying. If a rat is desperate to find a nesting spot and it’s getting cold outside, then it might find your guinea pig’s habitat to be ideal.
Sometimes rats will try to steal hay or other things to build a nest somewhere. But the rat could also just try to take over the guinea pig’s habitat.
Of course, this isn’t going to end well for the rat since you’re likely going to notice pretty soon after this happens. This doesn’t mean that your guinea pig won’t be in danger, though.
It’s going to be best to take certain precautions to protect your guinea pig from rats. If you do this, then you’ll be far less likely to encounter issues.
Spray Peppermint Essential Oil Outside Your Home
Rats hate the strong smell of peppermint essential oil. If you want to use a natural rat deterrent, then this is going to work nicely.
The best idea is to take the time to spray the essential oil around the perimeter of your home. If you do this every so often, then it can create a barrier of protection that will keep your home from getting invaded by rats.
You might not want to rely on peppermint essential oil alone, but people do say that this works well. Rats certainly don’t like it, and it’ll be something that you can do that won’t cost you a lot of money.
It’s important to note that guinea pigs don’t like the scent of peppermint essential oil either. You should avoid spraying it near your guinea pig, and that is why it is suggested that you spray it around the perimeter of your home.
Consider Using Rat Traps
Rat traps are great when you’re trying to kill rats that have entered your property. If you know that there are a few rats around somewhere, then you can simply set some traps to try to kill them.
Standard mousetrap designs work pretty well to kill rats, and you don’t really need anything fancy. You’ll just want to ensure that you buy a heavy-duty trap that can kill a rat and not one that is too flimsy.
Rats can be much bigger than mice, and this means that buying specific rat traps is probably for the best. There are also types of non-lethal traps that you can purchase, but many people would prefer to just kill the rats.
Some people even use rat poison to get the job done. This works nicely, but it is kind of dangerous because other pets in your home could eat the poison and get sick or die.
Also, if you have young children in your home, then it isn’t recommended to use rat poison. It’s best to err on the side of caution and try not to do something that could harm your family or your pets.
You can decide which route you would like to take based on your sensibilities. Once you’ve taken the steps to get rid of the rats, it’ll be a lot easier to rest easy knowing that your guinea pig is safe.
Get a Cat
Cats will be able to kill rats pretty effectively, and getting a cat might even keep rats too afraid to enter the house. If you have a cat that is good at hunting mice and rats, then you might not need to worry so much.
Granted, cats are likely to scare your guinea pig half to death as well, but you could try to keep your guinea pig in a room that the cats don’t have access to. This is a good idea that many people use to try to keep rats from being a problem.
The only downside is that rats carry diseases and they could be harmful to your cats. If your cat eats a rat, then it could wind up getting very ill or dying.
This isn’t always the case, but you should know that the risk is present. Letting your cat hunt rats isn’t completely without risk, but it’d also be hard to stop your cat from doing so if a rat was to get in your house.
Can Rats Hurt Guinea Pigs?
Yes, rats can hurt guinea pigs in several different ways. Rats could easily be carrying harmful diseases, and these diseases could get passed to your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs have died due to being exposed to diseases from rats. It’s also true that rats have caused physical harm to guinea pigs.
A guinea pig isn’t going to be able to stand up to a rat in a fight. Your guinea pig could get severely harmed or killed by a rat under certain conditions.
This means that using the advice above to keep rats away from your guinea pig will be important. You care about your guinea pig and you want it to be able to thrive for a long time under your roof.
You’re going to want to do all that you can to keep rats out of your house. Guinea pigs don’t directly attract rats to your home, but the environment that your guinea pig lives in could attract rats.
There are steps that you can take to keep things from getting out of hand. Keeping the guinea pig’s environment clean and ensuring not to leave too much food out should make a difference.
You can also try to keep rats away by taking precautionary measures. Peppermint essential oil might keep rats from wanting to come around, and you could keep cats as a way to scare off rodents.
Just know that you will need to be vigilant if you want to protect your home and your guinea pig. So long as you’re being careful you’ll be able to expect good results.