Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Guinea Pig Behaviour: What Is My Guinea Pig Trying To Say?

Guinea Pig Behaviour: What Is My Guinea Pig Trying To Say?

Wouldn’t you love to have a slight clue to what your Pet is trying to say? This thought also applies to small domesticated animals like Guinea Pigs— they too, have their own set of intricate behaviours and personalities. Learning and discerning these body languages can bring about a happier Pet-Owner relationship, greatly reducing the chances of misunderstanding and/or regrettable actions.
So until an incredible device is built for translating the common tongue for specific Pets, take a look at the following guide with 10 common signs you can read off your Guinea Pigs! To make matters simpler, we have categorized them into two segments, Body Language, and Sounds.

Body Language

1. Staring Into Blank Space  Okay, we all have moments where we daydream, or "space out". You'd notice that our Cavy buddies are experts at that, except for the fact that they aren't really spacing out. As prey animals, keeping their eyes peeled and staying alert is just one crucial key to survival in the wild. 

Fun Fact #1      Guinea Pigs take frequent naps with their eyes opened, So the next time you spot them zoning out, they could actually be catching some Zzz’s!

Video via The Noodle Pups

If you’re fortunate enough to catch your Cavy’s eyelids shut, you should be extremely proud of how far your friendship has come— because this only means your pet Guinea Pig trusts you enough to shut their eyes and he/she is relaxed around your presence ☺

2. Halt Right There!  A common sight for all Guinea Pigs; stopping in their tracks abruptly. This behaviour is most likely due to a sudden noise or unfamiliar movement in the midst of their surroundings. Freezing is your Cavy’s way of going unnoticed, yet another handy prey instinct!

 "Is It Safe Now Buddy?"

Fun Fact #2      Guinea Pigs can recognize and sense danger from Cavy friends around the same area, a sudden stop could be sending a message of eminent or potential threat(s)— leaving a trail of halting Piggies, all at the same time.

3. Running Away There are two essentials to surviving in wild as preys; if you can’t stay low, you run and hide. The faster you run, the sooner you get to safety. Take some time for your Guinea Pig(s) to familiarize with you, and this behaviour gradually improves as they ease up.
What Is My Guinea Pig Saying?
Hot Tip      For starters, try not to startle them with sudden movements as you try picking them up. Be patient and don’t despair if your Piggies start bolting the minute you come close— that's just a natural reflex J

4. Popcorn  A series of movements similar to that of a Binky (Quick hops and twists) for Rabbits. Well Guinea Pigs are the same! When you see this, know that your pet Guinea Pig is excited and extremely happy about something. All that popping and bouncing around has had this behaviour fondly nicknamed Pop-corning.

5. Licking Being the fastidious creatures that Guinea Pigs are, most do not require a water bath unless it is absolutely necessary. Self-grooming is carried out by a series of licking throughout the day, a behaviour not unlike Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Hamsters or any furry Pet. When they do lick YOU however, it is a clear sign of affection— as how they would groom their friends and family.
What Is My Guinea Pig Trying To Say

6. Rubbing Bottoms By dragging or rubbing their bottoms on surfaces, Guinea Pigs mark their territories. A pretty adorable and ticklish sight as their scent glands are actually located where their tiny hypothetical tail would have been (they do not have tails!). Excretion of natural oil/grease is how a Guinea Pig leave its scent around. Dirt or oil build up may cause a stench and even lead to infections if left unattended, so be sure to keep their scent glands clean! 
What Is My Guinea Pig Saying?
Hot Tip #2      Love the smell of coconuts? An effective solution for cleaning a Guinea Pig’s scent gland is using Coconut Oil. Leave a small amount on their scent glands to break up the oil or dirt build-up, then clean off gently with a damp towel. Dry thoroughly after!   

7. Heads Up! Plain observation might bring no explanation to this behaviour, however, studies have shown that this is an act of dominance within a group of Guinea Pigs— the higher your head is elevated, the more respect you are demanding from peers.

Fun Fact #3      This behaviour can also be seen when a male Guinea Pig is trying to display his readiness to mate!

8. Standing On Hind Legs — Higher ground always gives you a better overview or your surroundings, agreed? When Guinea Pigs are standing on their tiny hind legs and sniffing the air, they are trying to pick out the scent of a certain location, all whilst getting a bird’s eye view of its surroundings.
What Is My Guinea Pig Saying?

9. Chewing Chewing is a huge part in any Guinea Pig's life. They chew on food and toys, which keeps their ever-growing teeth in check. But if you do find your Cavies chewing on their own cages, there's a high chance they're trying to express boredom and the need to be let out!
What Is My Guinea Pig Saying?
Hot Tip #3      Keep your Guinea Pigs entertained by placing sufficient toys and obstacle courses in their homes. When you are home, allocate some free-roaming time outside of their cage/enclosure.


  Now that we’ve covered the common basic body language of Guinea Pigs, let’s move on to noises they make!

1. Wheeking This is no typo error, a pretty well known noise to Cavy owners. Guinea Pigs are actually pretty vocal when expressing themselves, despite being preys in the wild— Wheeking refers to a sound your Guinea Pig may make when they are extremely excited.

Wheeking is mostly heard when they notice you holding out their favourite food, or even as a greeting when you’re home. At times, you may hear soft noises and vibration of their little bodies when you pat them, a sign of comfort and trust.☺

2. Shrieking & Squealing Sounds not to be mistaken with Wheeking, namely because they mean the complete opposite of one another. Sharp squeals or shrieks, even low rumbling noises is a Guinea Pig’s way of saying “I do not like what you are doing, stop it!” Also another way of warning their fellow Cavies when they sense danger or threat. If you do not sense anything out of the norm, check to be sure your Cavy isn’t hurt anywhere!

And if you do see any baring of teeth, steer clear, because it could mean that it's really angry, or feels really threatened by something. Do not attempt to hold your Guinea Pig at this moment, give them some time to calm down!  

What Is My Guinea Pig Saying?
There you have it, some movements and noises explained for you to better understand and bond with your Guinea Pigs, spend a little more time with them and you'd start to notice all these common behaviours. This time, you'd be pretty well prepared. If you are a first time Cavy owner, perhaps you might want to start off with an American Short HairJ

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