In this article, I will show you how to make a DIY snuffle mat for guinea pigs and rabbits, and give you some tips on how to use it safely and effectively.
Just like humans, guinea pigs need activities to entertain them and stimulate their little brains. But what if you’re busy? Besides making healthy delicious cookies for them as an apology or giving out treat balls made out of toilet paper rolls, here is another quick DIY project for your guinea pigs – snuffle mats!
What is a snuffle mat?
A snuffle mat is basically a mat with fleece strips attached to it, creating a fluffy surface that hides treats or pellets for your pets to sniff and find. They’re a great toy to stimulate your furry friends’ brains and keep them entertained.
Can guinea pigs use snuffle mats?
Yes, most snuffle mats are safe for guinea pigs and are simple but effective toys that can provide enrichment and stimulation for your guinea pigs and rabbits.
Nevertheless, not all mats are equally suitable for guinea pigs. Some factors that affect the suitability of snuffle mats for guinea pigs are the material, the size, and the design of the mat.
Are snuffle mats durable?
The short answer? Yes.
However, not all snuffle mats are equally durable. Some factors that affect the durability of snuffle mats are the material, the construction, and of course, how your pet plays with it. So to increase the longevity of your snuffle mat, make sure to use the right materials to make it, and wash it regularly the right way.
Homemade vs Store Bought Snuffle Mat
Both homemade and store-bought snuffle mats will satisfy your guinea pigs, but here are some of the pros and cons of each one.
Store-bought snuffle mats have a variety of shapes and designs to choose from. A lot of them use a non-slip bottom pad as well, making it more durable. However, they come at a price, but usually not expensive, like this one. Nevertheless, snuffle mats will wear down through time so choosing whether to buy one or not is your choice.
Homemade snuffle mats can save you some money and are more eco-friendly, especially with this project, because we’ll be using recycled fabric and cardboard. You also don’t need to worry about buying another one when the mat wears down. On the other hand, homemade guinea pig snuffle mats are not washable and are less durable. You will also be limited on the designs you can make on the snuffle mat as well.
How are snuffle mats made?
Snuffle mats have two main components: the base and the fabric, also known as the snuffles. People make this by attaching fabric strips or snuffles to the base. This creates a fluffy toy for your pet to dig in and find the treats you hid inside.
Snuffle mats are easier to make than you think. All you need are some simple materials around the house and the knowledge of how to tie a simple knot.
And even if you don’t know how to tie the knot, no worries. I will guide you through every step of the way to make this fun snuffle mat.
Can I use a bath mat as a snuffle mat?
Yes, bath mats are a great material to use as the base of a pet snuffle mat. That’s because they have large, even holes for you to thread the fabric through.
Regardless, I will be using a cardboard piece because I don’t have a bath mat at home.
Do snuffle mats have to be fleece?
No, they don’t. Although using fleece can create a comfortable snuffle mat for your pet and it’s easier to wash, other materials such as cotton can work as well. As long as the fabric is not too thick, stretchy or has a smell, you can use it for your snuffle mats.
That being said, using bath mats with holes in them is technically better than using cardboard because you don’t need to worry about your guinea pig peeing on it.
How do you introduce a snuffle mat to your guinea pigs?
Now slip the pieces deep into the mat, into the tangled mess. The deeper inside the mat it is, the harder it will be for your potatoes. Remember to put some pieces on top to attract the toy to them.
Then, place the mat on the floor or their habitat and let them explore. It might take a few minutes for your guinea pigs to get used to the smell, but they most likely can’t resist the treats you hid inside.
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- Cardboard, 8 inch by 8 inch
- 2 colours of fleece or cotton fabric, cut into 35 1 inch by 8 inch pieces for each colour
- treats for your pet
- make some dots on the cardboard, each 1 to 1 and a quarter inch apart as shown below. These will be the holes for you to thread the fabric through.
- Using one end of the scissors or a pencil, poke the holes into the cardboard and make the holes big because you’re going to thread 3 pieces of fabric through it.
- Pick one color of fabric and you see these holes that you made in the cardboard? Slip a piece of fabric from the back side of the board and pull it from the front. To this to the hole next to it like this. Now that you have two ends of the thread, tie a knot to hold it in place.
- now all you have to do is repeat this step to all the holes. You should have 2 separate pieces of fabric in each hole like this. If you flip the cardboard over, you should see this neat pattern, and this means you're on the right track.
- Now using the second colour of fabric, make the vertical side. Starting from the first hole, insert the fabric in between the two threads, and the other end of the fabric to the hole next to it. Then tie the knot like you did with the first color.
- Repeat this step with the rest of the pieces. make sure your fabric doesn't overlap with the first colour. You might have to pull out the fabric as shown here.