Guinea pigs make great pets. They are generally friendly and good-natured – although some may tend to be on the shy side. Like any other animal, guinea pigs have a natural language for communication. As a curious guinea pig owner, being able to understand some of the more common “messages” from your little pets will make your experience with your pigs more meaningful, memorable and enjoyable.

When a guinea pig shows you his teeth and chatters them, he is communicating that he is angry or scared. Take this as a warning. He is aggressively telling you to “back off”. You may see this behavior when an unfamiliar pig is introduced into your pig’s territory. It can also occur when someone (especially a stranger) tries to pick your piggy up. This is a warning to leave him alone. We have also seen this behavior from sick or injured pigs who are feeling grumpy and “just want to be left alone”.

Occasionally you may stick your hand into the cage, and get bitten by your guinea pig. A quick nip may be a warning to you or a sign of aggression. However, guinea pigs are generally friendly and charming little pets and, in most cases, a bite is just a simple mistake. This is most likely the case – unless your pig is showing other signs of aggression such as making its hair stand on end or chattering its teeth. Usually the bite is just a gentle non-aggressive nibble. Just like a human infant who explores everything by shoving it into her mouth, this light nip is just an exploratory probe as your piggy tests to see if your finger is good to eat.

Many pigs like to bite and tug at the bars on their cage or chew loudly on their wooden nest boxes. If there are multiple pigs in the cage together, they will often line up and chew loudly together.

This is usually a sign that your pigs want to eat – NOW. You will often observe this behavior when it is near their mealtime. Also, seeing you begin to prepare their food or hearing the rustle of plastics bags full or carrots or other piggy veggies, may also trigger this frantic behavior. It is usually preceded by or accompanied by a loud chorus of “weeking” and squawking.

Guinea pigs have a language all their own. If we take the time to learn a few of their common communication behaviors, we will find that our experience with them becomes less puzzling and more fulfilling.

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Categories: Guinea Pig Care and Feeding


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