Is your guinea pig making a series of noises and movements that you cannot seem to understand? Since they are highly sociable furry creatures, guinea pigs love to express their feelings through a wide range of vocalisations and gestures. Discover the fascinating meanings behind your guinea pig’s body language and sounds by reading the compiled list of their common behaviours below.
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Guinea Pig Body Language
Guinea pigs have several gestures and movements up their sleeves. By knowing such behaviours, you are able to perceive what they feel just by spotting the changes in their posture or motions. Here are the most common guinea pig body languages:
- Sleeping Wide-Eyed
Snoozing whilst their eyes are wide open is an ordinary behaviour for guinea pigs and they do it frequently. By keeping their eyes open, they are able to stay vigilant with what is going on around them. It is a hardwired survival instinct present even on domesticated guinea pigs. Therefore, if your furry friend is exhibiting this behaviour, there is no need to worry.
- Dragging Its Bottom
This behaviour may sound very strange but it is actually a guinea pigs way of marking its territory. By doing so, your furry buddy is smearing its scent as a way to caution other guinea pigs that it is now its territory. For instance, some guinea pigs are prone to these behaviours when their cages and beddings are cleaned since their scent markings are removed.
Popcorning is characterised by running, hopping up or jumping up in the air, and swift turns just like the way popcorn pops. It is a common trait amongst guinea pigs. If your guinea pig exhibits this behaviour, it is in a good mood. It means it is feeling playful, excited, or happy. Younger guinea pigs often do popcorning whilst the older ones only do a hop or two.
It is another ingrained defensive mechanism of a guinea pig. Since they have many natural predators, a part of their instinct urges them to react to boisterous noises or abrupt movement. Therefore, if your guinea pig feels afraid and threatened, it would usually flee, hide, and freeze. It will try to hide its motions from the predator and inspect the threat at the same time by standing still.
- Eating Poop
This behaviour is also dubbed as coprophagy. For humans, it may seem extremely strange and alarming, but for guinea pigs it is a natural behaviour. They ingest the softer and tinier poops to gain more nutrients and essential bacteria that were not absorbed during the first digestion.
It is a sign that your furry friend is exploring its environment. Licking is a signal that it is investigating a new person or object. On the other hand, guinea pigs also tend to lick the hands of their human companions. Most pet owners see this as a gesture of affection that translates to a human’s way of giving a kiss, whilst other people believe that these furry creatures just love the taste of salt on your skin. Either way, it’s a totally adorable sight to see!
There are two types of strutting that guinea pigs may exhibit. First is the rumblestrut which involves slow, swaying strides followed by a rumbling noise. It is a guinea pig’s way of wooing the other sex, also known as a mating dance. Lastly, a stiffer strut is an aggressive stance that they would use to ward off intruders. Be wary if your furry buddy is displaying this behaviour because a fight might ensue!
- Teeth Baring
It is a very ominous signal that your guinea pig is very upset about something. Other hints to look out for is the raising of fur and head, and standing on hind legs. Put your guinea pig on time out to cool its head and prevent any harmful accidents from happening.
Guinea Pig Sounds
Guinea pigs can be very vocal furry pets. They tend to emit various vocalisations that match their current mood. Learn to interpret their sounds in order to easily understand and establish a strong connection with your furry friend.
It is one of the most common but unique sounds made by guinea pigs. Wheeking sounds like a noisy loud squeal or whistle. They use it to express their glee or anticipation. On the other hand, guinea pigs also wheek when they want to get your attention. Most pet owners would usually hear this when its their furry buddy’s feeding time.
- Teeth Chattering
It is another sign of aggression that pet owners should know. Teeth chattering are usually accompanied by the baring of teeth, which looks like a yawn at first glance. However, this behaviour means that your guinea pig is sending a warning for you to ‘stay away’ or to ‘back away.’
If your guinea pig emits a sharp, high-pitched squeak, then it must be scared, alarmed, or in pain. Never ignore your pet once it shrieks because it might mean that it is injured, thus you must check up on it to make sure it is okay.
Something must have disturbed your guinea pig that caused it to whine. It means that it is annoyed or displeased. This usually happens when your pet is craving for some personal space and wants to roam freely around your home.
It is primarily used by mother guinea pigs to call the attention of their young and it is also a sign of affection. Some guinea pigs also use this vocalisation for their favourite human companions.
More Than Just Cute Squeaks and Adorable Skitters
Guinea pigs combine vocalisation and body language to reach out and communicate with their human companions. Keep these common behaviours in mind and you will be able to quickly interpret your furry buddy’s signal and understand it better. It will definitely help forge a good bond between you and your pet.