Category Archives: Nature and character of guinea pigs

Can Guinea Pigs Bite?

Guinea pigs are prey animals.

This means that they don’t attack other animals or humans if they see them.

They are more likely to defend themselves and run away so as to stop another animal from killing them.

This is how they have survived for centuries.

They are very good at escaping and then do fight back only if absolutely necessary such as when they are grabbed.

This is where their sharp teeth come in useful.

These teeth which are sharpened by constant chewing are quite sharp.

When they come into contact with objects and of course animal and human flesh and if they bite hard enough, they can cause some damage.

This comes in quite handy in the wild when they need to find food or to get themselves released from the clutches of a predator.

However, as mentioned they only do this if absolutely necessary and are not vicious animals like other types of mammal.

So can guinea pigs bite today and do they bite in captivity?

Yes guinea pigs can bite. Just like other animals they tend to bite only when they are provoked or they are trying to defend themselves.

There is always the risk that if you offer your hand to them to receive food from for example, they will bite it.

However, the bite will more of a nibble than anything.

They don’t tend to grip on, but they may nibble.

However, if you really grab hold of them and cause them pain them they will react accordingly.

They will do whatever they can to make you react and get you to release them.

This includes biting as hard as they can.

When i have had one of my guinea pigs bite, it does hurt for a little while but that is all, and these bites have been few and far between.

They only really bite in self defense as they are prey animals and not predators.

Can Guinea Pigs Chew On Wood?

Guinea pigs need to chew.

Their teeth are always growing and always need trimming down by chewing on stuff.

Often this can just mean having lots of hay to chew on which will suffice for them in this instance.

But sometimes it is beneficial for them to have something else for them to chew on for variety.

There are many things you can get for a guinea pig to chew on such as chew toys, but there are other things too.

So can guinea pigs chew on wood?

Yes they can and it will help them to grind their teeth down.

It can be extremely beneficial for piggies to use to keep their teeth ground down.

However, there are some woods that should not be touched by piggies.

Woods that have been treated should never be given to them as they are treated with toxic substances which are poisonous for piggies.

Any soft, resinous or aromatic woods, like redwood, eucalyptus, cedar, and air-dried pine are not good for them.

Wood that is given to guinea pigs to chew on should be untreated.

Wood from fruit trees that have a stone in the centre such as plum, peach, apricot, nectarines, and cherry are also not good for them and should be avoided.

I have also found that they are not keen on wood from evergreen trees and so avoid feeding them to piggies.

Woods that are good for piggies are fine for them include;

Lumber such as basswood, linden, aspen, poplar, and kiln-dried white pine

Fruitwoods from fruit trees such as hazelnut, apple, pear and crab apple are also good for them. They will love chewing on the twigs and branches. But again, do be aware of branches that have been sprayed with pesticides.

They will enjoy willow twigs such as weeping willow and pussy willow. However, do avoid using white willow twigs and branches.

This is because white willow contains salicylic acid which is the main component of asprin.

So do take care what woods you give to your guinea pig to chew on.

They will enjoy some woods such as fruit woods but other woods they may not be so keen on unless there is nothing else for them to chew on and they just need to grind their teeth on something.

Anything that has been treated,  any branches from stone fruit trees, cedar or pine, plus soft, resinous or aromatic woods, like redwood, eucalyptus, cedar, and air-dried pine are not good for them and should be avoided.

can guinea pigs choke

Can Guinea Pigs Choke?

Guinea pigs are creatures that love to eat.

They will try and eat anything they like the smell of and gets the approval of their nostrils. Unfortunately sometimes this can lead to some unfortunately things being eaten that shouldn’t be eaten, if we are not careful.

They are well capable of eating things that aren’t designed to be eaten by guinea pigs. So if this happens….

Can guinea pigs choke?

Yes they can choke on things. It is not a good idea to give them food which is hard for them to digest or chew as they can easily choke on it.

It is hard to know what to do if your piggie starts to choke, but with a bit of knowledge you can help your guinea pig in this kind of situation.

Sometimes, its a case of their food not being digested properly and they can easily recover, such as in this situation.


However, there may be a situation where matters deteriorate and they need further help to help them in this situation. Unfortunately, this situation does happen and a little bit of knowledge of this situation can be really helpful.

Here is a great post to help your piggie if they are choking. It is regarding choking rabbits and the Heimlich Maneuver, however this can be transferred to guinea pigs in this situation.

See here


can guinea pigs do tricks

Can Guinea Pigs Do Tricks?

Guinea pigs are capable of surprising things.

I often see them trying to clamber up the side of their cage when they know food is one the way, or leaping across the ground towards something in particular. I have seen them jump and occasionally popcorn.

So can guinea pigs do tricks?

Yes they can do tricks. They are well capable of doing tricks and being taught them. You just have to know how to teach them and have the patience to help them along.

If you spend time getting to know your guinea pig, helping them get to know you. Helping them to become tamer and more familiar and trusting with you, you can train them to do tricks.

This is a good site to use to train your guinea pig

Do bear in mind that they are intelligent creatures and can be trained to follow simple commands so as to do things like tricks.

To make sure that everything goes okay, ensure that you look after your guinea pig well and make sure that they are happy and content in their everyday life.

Each guinea pig is different and unique in their own way. It may be that your guinea pig takes that bit longer to catch on to what you are doing and trying to teach them.

This is why its important to keep being patient with them.

Positive reinforcement is a good thing to use with them and then with patience and understanding, they will gradually be able to follow some basic commands and then over time some more advance commands as well.

Check out these tricks you can train your guinea pig to do;

can guinea pigs feel emotions

Can Guinea Pigs Feel Emotions?

Guinea pigs are creatures that sure do enlist emotions from us as owners.

They are animals who have been known to help people overcome problems such as anxiety and depression because of their calm nature.

Owners have been know to take them into psychiatric hospitals to show them people to help their mental health improve such is their nature.  Indeed it has become a more recognised treatment to present suitable animals to patients to help with their therapy. See here

But when it comes to their own nature and emotions, what do guinea pigs feel?

Can guinea pigs feel emotions?

Yes they do have the ability to feel emotions. Guinea pigs are very sensitive creatures and feel the emotions of their pack leader or their owner.

So if their owner is feeling sad, they will pick up on it. If their owner is happy they will pick up on that as well.

It does depend though on how much time the owner spends with the guinea pig.

If the owner spends a lot of time with the guinea pig, then the piggie is more likely to pick up on the emotions of the owner.

Can Guinea Pigs Feel The Cold?

Guinea pigs are popular pets who come from the family Caviidae. They were first distinguished geologically during the Miocene period and have survived to this very day as prey animals.

They consist of three genera and over 20 different species which are found in South America. Over the years, guinea pigs have been hunted for food and for their coats by humans. However, only the species ‘cavia’ have been domesticated.

As hystricomorph rodents, guinea pigs are originally from the Andes Mountains region in South America.

As part of the rodent family they are related to rats, mice, hamsters, squirrels and chinchillas. They still live in South America today and enjoy living in the wild amongst the mountains of the Andes.

They live in rocky areas, forests and grass lands.

The temperatures can range from warm to cool and so they have learnt to adapt to different kinds of temperature depending on what they come up against.

They are hardy creatures who are great survivors. Guinea pigs have learnt to keep going and protect themselves.

They are intelligent creatures who’s first instinct is for preservation. Piggies will protect themselves when they are hungry, thirsty, hot and cold.

They have similar instincts to many creatures in the animal kingdom.

So can guinea pigs feel the cold?

Yes they can feel the cold.

Whenever the do get cold, guinea pigs go into self-preservation mode and more often than not will snuggle up with each other to warm each other on the warmth of each others bodies.

I have also seen guinea pigs shivering from the cold. This means that we really need to be careful with what temperatures we expose our guinea pigs to.

They should be kept in temperatures ideally between 41 to 59 degrees Celsius for them to feel comfortable.

If you want some ways to keep your guinea pig’s warm, then here is a post which will help with this and give some ideas on how to make this happen.

Do Guinea Pigs Know When They’re Full?

One of the funny things about guinea pigs is their appetite.

They just love to eat.

They always seem to be hungry and are always on the look out for food.

The slightest sound of my footsteps, the creaking of the door into where they are, and they are suddenly wheaking away!

They sense food is coming!

In fact they seem like they can eat forever.

So do guinea pigs know when they’re full or do they just keep eating and eating with no regard for themselves??

In my experience, yes they do know and understand when they are full.

Often when i leave their food ready for them in their bowl, they will eat some of it for a while.

Then after a time, they will leave it, often unfinished and go do something else.

Now, this maybe because they are bored, but in my opinion, they know that they have had enough food for the time being.

They will come back to their food later and recommence eating.

In my experience, guinea pigs love to have food available all of the time so that they can eat when they want.

Sometimes, I return to their living space and there is still food in the bowl often many hours later. There are times when they just aren’t that hungry or they have just had enough.

It is often hard to know how much food to give them. Over time, you will get a feel for how much your guinea pig needs.

In this case, it is better to over feed your piggie rather than underfeed it.

The thing you can do for them is to leave out hay for them to chew on all of the time.

By leaving out hay for them to chew on, they can grind their teeth on it and ensure they are at a sufficient level so as not to cause them pain.

So in conclusion, yes guinea pigs do know and understand when they are full. They will eat what they want and leave what they don’t need.

Guinea pigs seem like they know themselves well and will hold back if they’ve had enough or don’t like something.

They are quite intelligent creatures in this sense.



When Are Guinea Pigs Most Active?

Its often easy to think that guinea pigs share the same waking up and sleeping patterns as we do.

This is an easy assumption to make as they always seem to be awake when we are and are especially alert at the sign of any kind of food!

However, some times they take naps, sometimes they appear to be awake all of the time.

So when are guinea pigs most active?
In the wild

In the wild, when they are in semi-natural and natural settings, guinea pigs have crepuscular activity rhythms.

This means that they are active primarily during twilight which is the time between dawn and sunrise, or between sunset and dusk.

In captivity

When they are in captivity, guinea pigs may display continuous activity under conditions of either constant illumination or constant darkness.

They can give them impression that they are always awake.

They have the ability to rest and even to sleep without even closing their eyes.

This helps to show all who see them that they are awake and ready to respond to any movement or worse, any danger.

They are very good at adapting to their environment

Guinea pigs are very good at adapting to their environment and can change what they do in order to fit in with where they are.

So in summary, when they are in their most natural setting they are most active during the early morning and late afternoon.

However, in captivity when influenced by us as humans, they are active during day and night.


Can Guinea Pigs Die Of Cold?

Guinea pigs are creatures that are sensitive to temperature change.

To be comfortable they need to be a location which ranges between 15 degrees celcius/59 degrees farenheit to 25 degrees celcius/77 degrees farenheit to feel comfortable.

If it becomes any hotter or colder, they become uncomfortable.

They will not tell you this, but they will suffer in silence instead.

For example, they are not able to sweat at all as they do not have eccrine sweat glands on their body.

So instead, they use their internal homeostasis so when they get cold, the blood that flows to their skin goes down so as to conserve heat and protect organs in their body.

When they get hot, their blood vessels dilate so as to pump more blood to the skin so their body’s can cool down and give of heat through convection.

So what about when they get cold, can guinea pigs die of cold?
When they get cold, guinea pigs will tend to shiver and also puff up their fur so as to give themselves more warmth.
They will also try and huddle with other guinea pigs so as to feed of the warmth of each others body.
If the temperature drops to 0 degrees celcius/32 degrees farenheit they can survive as they huddle together and make the best of what they have. But it is not comfortable for them as you can imagine.
They are prey animals and so it is within their character to survive
However, there is a risk that if it gets too cold they can suffer from hypothermia and eventually heart failure due to the intense cold.
The humidity and wind factor can also play a part in this as well so it is not just about the temperature.

For example, if the humidity of the environment goes under 30% or above 70%, the guinea pig will suffer as a result.

Likewise, if the environment is damp then mold will be more prevalent and may cause the guinea pig to get sick.

So yes they can die of cold, which is why it is important to look after your piggies well and make sure they have an environment that is comfortable for them so they can enjoy a good quality of life.

Bring them inside, it is the best place for them when it goes below 15 degrees celcius/59 degrees farenheit.

can guinea pigs dig

Can Guinea Pigs Cry?

Guinea pigs are affectionate and emotive creatures who are very sensitive to their environment.

Their ability to sense what is going on in their environment has helped them become who they are today.

As predator animals they know their surroundings, the sounds and the smells and what they see.

As social creatures, they sense what is going on with each other and if you have had piggies for any length of time, you will know that they have a good way of communicating with each other.

Piggies have an ability to feel happy and sad, angry and agitated, although they hide their feelings very well.

But what about the other things that we can do to express our feelings, such as crying?

Can guinea pigs cry at all?

Yes they can cry, but not in the way that a human would. Instead their cry sounds totally different.

A guinea pig’s cry is very intense squeaks like below.

In fact, it’s more like a shriek as it is very sharp and high pitched. They often let out this shriek if they are in pain such as if they have been held roughly, been pinched, or been bitten by a cage mate for example.

They also shriek when trying to warn a fellow piggy of an impending danger or if they are warning them to back off if they are fighting. It’s a sound that is made out of fear and panic more than aggression.

Shrieking can also mean an alarm call. Young guinea pigs calling to their mother or a piggy calling to a cage mate. This can happen if a guinea pigs cage mate is out of the cage or they have been seperated for whatever reason.

Guinea pigs are quite non-confrontational and so they would rather be left alone than be engaged in a fight.