Understanding Your Guinea Pig


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This page will help you to understand what the sounds and body language of a guinea pig mean. Sounds come first. Example:

A(ction): What the guinea pig does.

M(eaning): What the action means.

R(eaction): How you should react to the action.



A: Short, high pitched notes

M: The guinea pig is in pain

R: If you are cutting the claws, maybe you should cut off a smaller part, so that you don't hit the blood vessels. Also look if you're not making the guinea pig uncomfortable, example: handling it the wrong way.


A: Short, grumbling, continuous noises

M: Peace, the guinea pig is in a good mood

R: That's how happy guinea pigs act


A: A high pitched, insistive note

M: A demand for food, water, attention, etc.

R: Check the animal's food and water bowls, if one or more of them is empty, the guinea pig is probably hungry or thirsty, if they're full, the guinea pig might be needing attention. Or, if it "smells" the door being open, the reason might be that it is needing to be walked (let outside, or allowed to walk in the house).


A: A guinea pig (male) makes a continuous hitting sound with his teeth.

M: A warning for another male guinea pig in the same cage

R: If two males are in the same cage, one of them should be permanently moved to live in another cage, to avoid a fight. Separating the guinea pigs during a fight is not recommended, as during fighting guinea pigs are highly tensed and can bite, if they take your hand for an opponent.


A: A low, short, grumbling sound, exchanged by guinea pigs, accompanied by freezing at spot

M: Something worries the guinea pigs

R: Something worries the guinea pigs, which can be a strange sound, (like cars on the road) sudden movement, etc. Talk to your guinea pigs in a calm voice, assuring them that it is nothing to be afraid of - it works. Imagine - you're a guinea pig, you are afraid, but the master is relaxed. Surely the master won't behave like this if there was any danger.


                              Body Language

A: One of the guinea pigs throws his (or her) head up as a reaction to a small "hit" by another guinea pig

M: The guinea pig accepts the dominance (leadership) of another guinea pig

R: The guinea pig shows the soft spot on the throat, where a bite is a good way to defeat another guinea pig. By revealing the throat the guinea pig "surrenders", and accepts the fact that another guinea pig is the leader. These are often done by females.


A: A male sniffs at a female's anal opening

M: The male checks if the female is ready to mate

R: If the female is ready to mate, the guinea pigs will start mating, and pregnancy will follow. If pregnancy is unwanted, the guinea pigs should be separated.


A: A male guinea pig starts purring a continuous "brrrr" sound, slowly waggling its hind part

M: A male is showing off before a female

R: If pregnancy is unwanted, the guinea pigs should be separated. If not, I personally highly recommend to watch the piggies mate! (Here's an episode from the life of my piggies: A male shows off, receives an aggressive reply, hides behind a box, grooms himself, and tries again!)


A: A male sits himself on the back of a female

M: The male is mating a female

R: If  pregnancy is unwanted... you can't do anything now! Await the birth of at least one miniature guinea pig in about two or three months!






Copyright(c) 2003 Ekaterina Romanova. All Rights Reserved.