Category Archives: Nature & character of guinea pigs

can guinea pigs be in the cold

Can Guinea Pigs Be In The Cold?

As prey animals, guinea pigs are able to survive many situations.

This includes the temperatures that they are in at that time.

They are intuitive survivors which is why they have lasted for so long down the centuries.

In the wild they will withstand extreme situations.

It doesn’t mean to say that they are comfortable, but they do adapt and try and get through it somehow.

So can guinea pigs be in the cold?

Guinea pigs enjoy the temperature when it ranges from 41 degrees farenheit to 59 degrees farenheit.

If it gets too hot, they seek the shade and time away from the sun.

If it gets too cold they will seek to huddle up with their guinea pig friends and seek the warmth of each other’s bodies to help them.

Yes they can be in the cold for a certain amount of time, but it isn’t a good thing for them.

If it gets too cold, the best thing to do is to bring them inside to a warmer more stable temperature that they will enjoy.

But if the worst comes to the worst, and you can’t do that, then keeping them outside is an option.

Just make sure they have plenty of hay to keep them warm.

Consider also putting a blanket over the hutch to act as insulation as well during winter time.

It will act to keep the warmth in.

But the best thing you can do is make sure that they aren’t left alone, so they get to keep each other warm.

If it gets below freezing then this really isn’t good for them.

At this point, they need to be at least put in a shed or outhouse out of the wind.

They really can suffer when the temperature goes below freezing and have been known to die in such temperatures.

So do keep watch on the temperature  daily to make sure that it is okay for your guinea pig.

can guinea pigs close their eyes

Can Guinea Pigs Close Their Eyes?

If you’ve ever owned a guinea pig, you will know how incredibly wide eyed they are.

They always seem have their eyes open, on the look out for something.

Even during the day or night time, guinea pigs seem to have their eyes open looking around for danger. So it possible for guinea pigs to close their eyes at all?

This may seem a strange question, as it seems quite normal for animals as well as humans to close their yes at some point during the day time.

Can guinea pigs close their eyes?

Yes they can close their eyes. Although it may not seem like it sometimes.

They close their eyes when they feel safe and comfortable and ready to go to sleep.

Guinea pigs are extremely wary animals and are always on the look out for predators.

One of the things that they can do is sleep with their eyes open which helps them guard against unwanted attention.

It is this kind of wariness which has kept them alive for centuries and helped keep them out of harms way in case of danger.

However, they only keep their eyes open if they have too.

When they close their eyes you know that they are in a comfortable place and at peace with their environment.

It is one of the ways you can tell if a guinea pig is feeling relaxed. You may even find them purring as well

In fact it can be very reassuring for an owner if a guinea pig has their eyes closed.

Just make sure it is breathing okay, and doesn’t seem in pain.

They can even blink when they want to,  but don’t expect to see them do it too often. They do it rarely and only do so when they want to clear their eyes of something, such as a dust particle.

can guinea pigs be kept alone

Can Guinea Pigs Be Kept Alone?

Guinea pigs are social animals who enjoy the company of other piggies.

Can guinea pigs be kept alone?

They can but it is not good for them.

They thrive off social interaction and being together will help them lead happier lives.

If a guinea pig is kept alone they will survive but they won’t be happy unfortunately.

Eventually it will affect not only their psychological health but their physical health as well.

An error that inexperienced owners often make

An error that inexperienced owners often make is to keep one guinea pig by themselves instead of adopting a pair of cavies.

When they are in their natural habitat, guinea pigs gather in large communities and spend vast amounts of time interacting with each other.

If they are more domesticated, guinea pigs don’t usually have the availability to that kind of social structure.

In their natural habitat, they have more opportunity for interaction.

When a guinea pig is left alone

When a guinea pig is left alone they tend to be much more on edge, more fearful and skitish as well.

They become prone to depression because they are let alone.

A guinea pig that is kept alone will also miss some of the other things they benefit from being with other cavies.

When two guinea pigs are kept together

When two guinea pigs are kept together, they look out for each other.

If one develops an ailment, they other has been know to help them by giving them food.

Maybe one becomes stuck in some kind of uncomfortable situation, then another may wheak for attention.

If the guinea pigs form a close bond together, they may develop more empathy with  one another.

Not every guinea pig forms such a close bond with another cavy, but they have a better chance of living a better quality life.

Guinea pigs that live together will also help keep each other lead a more active life.

They naturally enjoy chasing around and playing.

Even cavies that don’t actually get along that well, can help each other as they can keep each other active and alert when it comes to making sure that each other has the right amount of food.

A guinea pig that is kept alone is more likely to stay still and be much less active.

In the end, it can have a negative effect on their health.

 There are cases where a guinea pig that is kept alone can bond with their owner.

However, this requires a great amount of time and attention on the part of the owner.

Unless you have 2-3 hours a day to spend with them they are not going to get the best from you that they need.

It is much better to adopt another guinea pig to keep them company.







why do guinea pigs eat hair

Why do guinea pigs eat hair?

Sometimes you may find that a guinea pig of yours is eating hair.

Why do guinea pigs eat hair?

When a guinea pig eats or chews hair it is called barbering.

What is barbering?

Barbering is a behavior where guinea pigs will chew or tear their own or each other’s hair. It often occurs in relation to conflicts between adult males or between adults and juveniles.

Barbering also occurs when a guinea pig is;
  1. Being bullied by a cage mate
  2. Has dominance over other cage mates
  3. Is in an environment that is too small for them.
  4. When they are frightened by predators or excessive noises.
  5. Housed with unsuitable cage mates
Symptoms of barbering are;

Where the skin is inflamed, bruised or carrying other signs of injury

There are very short, chewed hairs over an an area which looks like a bald patch on their fur.

Before deciding whether your guinea pig is barbering, make sure that any hair loss is not due to other things.

Hair loss can also be caused by;
  1. Problems with their metabolism
  2. Skin conditions
  3. Mites
  4. Genetic problems
  5. Dietary deficiencies
  6. It can also be caused by aging.
  7. Younger guinea pigs who are weaning from their mothers will have thinner hair than adults who have coarser hair.

How to prevent barbering

If your guinea pig is suffering from barbering then it needs to be separated from the offending animal and keep it away from from the dominant guinea pigs.

Provide it with hiding places to help them feel safe and relieve the stress that they will be under.

By removing them from this situation you will lower the stress levels which have helped to cause this situation and put them in a more peaceful environment.

If they are self-barbering, removing them from this aggressive environment, will also help to reduce this type of behavior.

Make sure you take them to a guinea pig friendly veterinary surgeon who will help to nurse them back to health and address the wounds that have been caused.


For further reading on this subject, check out Pet MD which has a particularly good article on the subject


can guinea pigs be in the dark

Can Guinea Pigs Be In The Dark?

When you first get a guinea pig, it can be quite disconcerting to leave them at night.

When we are used to going to winding down our day and going to sleep, leaving a guinea pig in the dark can seem a weird thing to do.

It can be tempting to leave a light on for them to be see what they are doing, or them to feel comfortable and able to not feel scared.

So can guinea pigs be in the dark?

Yes they can be in the dark.

They have very good eyesight for dark environments and are able to guide themselves around much better than we can.

They have been able to acclimatize to many different environments over the centuries

This is to make sure that they can get about and run when ever they need to.

Doing this has helped them evade many a predator and keep themselves intact and able to breed their way into the 21st century.

As prey animals they don’t attack other animals and much prefer to defend themselves

They do not sleep in the same kind of patterns we do.

Whereas humans sleep at night and then are awake during the day time.

Guinea pigs tend to sleep in short stints, and can wake up at a moment’s notice ready to get away from harms way if it is approaching.

This means that they are very used to the dark and pretty much treat it like the light.

It doesn’t have the same affect on them as it does to us humans.

They won’t necessarily feel scared about being in the dark. They are just as wary about being in the light as well as they are in the dark.

So don’t be concerned about leaving them in the dark, they won’t mind at all.

Are Guinea Pigs Affectionate?

When you get a new guinea pig, it can be a strange thing for both owner and guinea pig.

A guinea pig in new surroundings can often appear very reluctant to get close to a human and can often run away when approached.

They will often react to humans attempting to touch them or pick them up by running away and hiding.

So if this is the case are guinea pigs affectionate at all?

The thing with guinea pigs is that they respond to the treatment that they receive.

In fact, they can be very sweet and affectionate pets to keep, if they are treated well.

They are known for being very therapeutic and people have done things like taken them around nursing wards to cheer people up because of their therapeutic character.

They are most known for showing affection by purring but they can also wheak and popcorn as well. But you do have to earn it.

Here are a number of things you can do which may increase its affection for you.

1.Be nice to your guinea pig.

Like humans, guinea pigs respond when you are kind to them. In fact the kinder you are to em, the kinder they will be in return. It’s true. I’ve seen it with my own, as they intelligent creatures and do respond to the way you are.

2. Feed them often.

Just like us they are not happy if they’re not fed, they get fidgety and restless and are always on the look out for their next meal. They are content when they’re tummies are full and have been fed well and are more likely to be affectionate. Why not try and feed them treats from your hand. They will get to know your smell, and that you are kind to them and want to show them affection. They do sense it.

3. Keep them in a good environment.

Guinea pigs best temperature to live in is between 10 degrees to 25 degrees. It’s at this range that they’re at their best. They aren’t shivering in the cold or snuggled up to each other to keep warm and they are not sheltering from the sun looking to some shade.

4.Handle your guinea pig often.

Guinea pigs really don’t mind being handled, if they know you are going to handle them well. This takes time to build up trust but once it’s gained and hey know you’ll give them plenty of stroking then they’ll return affection in he form of lots of purring

5. Play with them.

Another way to gain a guinea pigs affection is to spend time playing with it. Let it run around on your room floor and sit yourself in the middle and give them Inge to do such as things to run through, jump on and chew. They really respond to attention.

6. Speak to your guinea pig. 

Guinea pigs respond well to you speaking to them. They don’t understand what you are saying to them but respond to the tone and intonation in how you say things. Speak gently and softly to them, in whispers even. They will enjoy it and love the attention that they are getting from you.

By doing these things your guinea pigs will hopefully respond to you being affectionate and respond in kind. It takes patience though and the more patience you show, the better chance of you achieving the desired result.

For more on this subject, check out this post

Can Guinea Pigs Freeze?

Guinea pigs are prey animals.

They are hardy creatures who will look to survive where they can. They are always being hunted in the wild and will seek to keep living as long as possible. This is how they have lived so long and haven’t died off up to this day.

They are creatures who enjoy living in temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees farenheit. This is a comfortable temperature range for them and means that they can live in an environment that they enjoy.

However when temperatures get too hot, they start to look for places where they can keep cool. You will notice them keep out of the sun and sitting in the shade. You may even find them digging a place for them to get cool.

When temperatures get cooler though and below 50 degrees farenheit, they start to look for ways of keeping warm.

So can guinea pigs freeze in cold weather?

Yes they can. As mentioned, if temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit they start to get a uncomfortable.

They will never complain as we know it, but they will look to huddle up when temperature starts to get cold.

Guinea pigs are great survivors and they will look to protect and preserve themselves as much as possible.

Once temperatures drop below freezing then piggies have been known to suffer if they are kept outside.

If you must keep them outside when it get then there are some great ways of keeping a guinea pig warm in this post here.

Make sure they are kept dry and with lots of straw. The best way that they keep warm is by huddling together so that they can get warm from each other.

If it snows don’t let them touch it as they will get damp and it is hard for them to get dry. The damp can kill if they do not dry off.

However, when it gets cold, the best place for a guinea pig is inside where they can keep warm at room temperature.

They will much prefer living in this type of environment.

can guinea pigs die of fright

Can Guinea Pigs Die Of Fright?

Guinea pigs are timid creatures.

They can scare easily and will run for cover at the slightest sight or sound that alarms them.

A guinea pig who is unfamiliar with their surroundings can be especially timid.

They will run for cover whenever there is the slightest sound that scares them.

Piggies do not hang around to wait until they see what is happening.

They will get out of the vicinity.

This is what has kept them alive as a species and preserved them to this day.

This instinct to run has meant that they can evade other predators and get them out of harm’s way.

As guinea pigs are very timid creatures, they can often look scared and on edge because of their state of being.

So can guinea pigs die of fright?

Yes they can die of fright unfortunately.

Guinea pigs are very sensitive animals and feel what is around them.

As prey animals, they are always looking out for danger in their natural environment.

Unfortunately, guinea pigs have been known to die of fright when confronted with shocks such as dog and cat attacks, snake attacks and even when the animal does not actually touch the guinea pig, they can fatally impact the piggie.

Just the knowledge that a predator is attempting to eat it is enough to trigger a heart attack and a shut down of their system.

It can set up a massive fear reaction.

They can also suffer what is known as tonic immobility which is a behavior in which an animal becomes temporarily paralyzed and unresponsive to external stimuli.

In most cases, this occurs in response to an extreme threat such as a being captured or attacked by a predator.

They can appear to be dead and not responsive often for even a day or more.



Can Guinea Pigs Feel Sad?

Guinea pigs are very social creatures who enjoy spending time with others whether with other guinea pigs or with humans inside a home.

They enjoy spending time with others.

Guinea pigs don’t give off emotions as much as we do

However, they don’t give much away in terms of what they are thinking and feeling.

They can be quite placid creatures and their facial expressions don’t tend to change a great deal.

For example, you can’t tell if a guinea pig is feeling pain as they won’t give out any emotions to let you know that something is wrong.

You have to look for other symptoms such as looking at their eating habits, the state of their poop or wear or tear on their bodies.

Whether or not guinea pigs get emotional is something that has been questioned by owners throughout the centuries.

Their abilities as prey animals

As prey animals, they have the ability to sense emotions that maybe others can’t.

If they do sense that the one that protects them is sad, they will want to know why and come to be sad as well. If they sense that their owner is scared they will be scared too.

Prey animals do have the ability to protect and watch out for one another.

This is even the case with their protectors.

It is usually quite easy to see when a guinea pig is happy.

A guinea pig who is happy will enjoy making sounds and move around, investigating new things, running, and eating lots.

But can guinea pigs feel sad?

Can guinea pigs feel sad?

In my opinion, guinea pigs do get sad. If they have the ability to feel happy then the opposite is true.

You just can’t tell that they are sad as you can with some other animals.

How do you know if your guinea pig is sad?

When I have felt that my guinea pigs aren’t quite themselves when they have usually been very quiet and subdued.

They will sit on their own and not make a sound.

As mentioned above, a happy guinea pig will be fun, alert, noisy and full movement.

A subdued and sad guinea pig won’t do this and it is a sign that things aren’t right with them.

You often get this when guinea pigs are kept on their own and do not have regular interaction.

This can affect a guinea pig as they need the stimulus of social interaction with other guinea pigs.

What to do if you think your guinea pig is sad?

There are some things you can do if you feel your guinea pig isn’t quite themselves.

  1. spend time with them. Give them quality time and attention. Speak to them often and spend time at their cage with them.
  2. If they are on their own, consider getting another guinea pig as a cage mate. This can be a tricky process at times to put two stranger guinea pigs together but it can be done. Our article about putting two guinea pigs together is a good place to start if this is something you are considering.
  3. Check if there isn’t anything medically wrong with your guinea pig. Check for physical symptoms and it might even be worth taking them to the vet for a checkup. It is better to be safe than sorry in these circumstances.