Use of cage space by guineapigs

Lab Anim. 1989 Jul;23(3):208-14. doi: 10.1258/002367789780810617.


Cage space requirements for laboratory animals have been established by Government Regulation and Recommendations. In order to test the adequacy of these space allocations, the use of cage floor area by breeding groups of guineapigs was studied. A computer-coupled video tracking system capable of imaging in low light intensity as well as total darkness was used to determine the average per cent occupancy by guineapigs in all portions of a cage over 12-h light and dark cycles. Simultaneous time synchronized slow motion video recordings permitted an analysis of activity to be coordinated with cage use data. Results of the study revealed that breeding groups of guineapigs utilize the periphery of the cage almost to the total exclusion of the centre of the cage. Approximately 75-85% of all occupancy in both the day and evening hours occurred in 47% of the cage floor area located along the periphery. Analysis of video recordings revealed that the animals remained active throughout the day and night with no prolonged period of quiescence that could be associated with sleep. Results of this study suggest that while guidelines for housing guineapigs based on area allocation per animal can be formulated and are easy to administer, they cannot be supported by the behavioural characteristics of these animals or careful quantitation of their pattern of cage space utilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs / physiology*
  • Housing, Animal*
  • Male
  • Social Behavior