It is important to learn about your guinea pig behaviour in order to recognize its behavioural patterns, unusual behaviour, potential needs and moods that your guinea pig is trying to communicate to you. Following behavioural patterns represent majority of the individual guinea pig behaviours which indicate that your pet is functioning within normal operating parameters.
Also, please note: Guinea pigs are inquisitive and curious by nature. They are creatures of habit, so changes in routine like feeding, free-time etc, can cause some distress. It is recommended to introduce changes slowly.
Guinea pig is most active at dawn and twilight.
Running Away and Hiding From Being Picked Up
Natural defence mechanism which needs to be respected and dealt with patiently. If following Guinea Pig Manual instructions, it does not need to be interpreted as a rejection of its owner. In time, there is a high probability that all guinea pigs will come to accept being picked up for cuddles and play time out of the cage.
Begging for food
When hungry or anticipating a treat, your pet will start weeking, and as its confidence grows, it will often stand up on its hind legs (like a dog). Guinea pig becomes very excited, and focus its eager eyes in the direction of the owner hoping that the owner notices his pet and its needs.
Guinea pig behaviour which exhibits hopping up in the air, running around, quickly turning in another direction and repeating the jump. This can be done repeatedly. Can be observed especially in young guinea pigs when they exhibit happiness, excitement or playfulness. Older cavies do not usually jump as high as the young ones (they are heavier), but also tend to popcorn.
Running laps around the cage is a normal behavior for a guinea pig. It does not use exercise wheels, so it have to burn off its energy in other ways.
When guinea pig sense danger, when it hears sudden sound that it is unfamiliar with, when it is startled or uncertain about something in its environment, it will freeze and stand motionless. It is a natural reaction which animal uses when it tries to make itself seem invisible and letting others in the group know that there could be imminent danger. Freezing is often accompanied by a very short vibrating sound, which also indicates fear.
By means of sniffing your guinea pig is learning about its surroundings and potential food sources. Owner may also notice that a guinea pig will occasionally sniff the air with their head stretched out, when it is being watchful and curious, wondering what’s going on and who is out there.
To mark items as its property and/or teritory, guinea pig will rub its chins, cheeks, and hind ends on those items. Your pet can also do this outside the cage, usually in the area in which it has regular free range time.
Fidgeting (while being held)
Can be a sign that your pet needs to go to the bathroom, or it is tired of being held. It is recommended that owner returns his guinea pig to the cage for a moment to recuperate its natural surroundings.
Tossing Head Up in the Air
When getting annoyed with being petted. Way of asking its owner to stop. It is recommended to abide those wishes.
Licking (e.g., owners hand)
Most popular interpretation is that licking is a sign of personal affection, but is not necesseraly so. Can also be interpreted by the animal’s affection towards the taste of salt on owners skin. In this case, we are granting freedom for individual interpretation.
You have probably done something outside the standard operational procedure and seriously angered your guinea pig. Clacking guinea pigs teeth together is considered as a behavioural pattern of anger. If it is directed at you, guinea pig is telling you to keep away, so try to respect its wishes or you could be in danger.
Way of communication, especially for young guinea pigs who are still learning and testing their limits. If you’ve been holding your guinea pig for a while, it may nibble your clothes as a way of communicating to you that it wants/needs to go back to the cage (usually to go to the toilet).
Biting the Cage Bars
Biting the Cage Bars can be triggered by several factors:
When your pet thinks (or assumes) there is a food on the way
When it is bored and demanding attention
When living on its own, it will naturally become bored and lonely (even if the owner spends a lot of time with his pet). Consider acquiring another guinea pig for company.
When it is living in a small cage and is not getting sufficient free range time. Consider providing a larger cage and increasing its free range time.
Eating its own droppings
Indeed, it is a normal process. Formal term for eating own droppings is Coprophagia. It is usually observable when a guinea pig ducks its head underneath followed by munching. The most probable reason for this action is the fact that its droppings represents a source of vitamins B and K, produced by bacteria in the guinea pigs gut.
Does your guinea pig seem depressed? When your guinea pig is hunched up in a corner, looking sad and depressed, something is probably bothering it. Try offering your guinea pig its favourite food. If it shows no interest, take your guinea pig to the vet immediately, because depression could be an indication to some more serious health problems.
NOTE: Because of their natural instinct, guinea pigs can hide their illness. In the wild, it is a survival mechanism against predators picking out an easy target.
Like all animals and humans, guinea pigs get the occasional urge to itch. If your pet is scratching excessively, check its skin to see if it is flaky, sore or if any bald patches have appeared.
Guinea pigs do not require sleeping for a long periods as they are not nocturnal animals like hamsters. They need to take small naps during the day and night. Usually, guinea pig will relax and rest its head on the ground, and some of them will be totally relaxed and spread out their hind legs.
A guinea pig will stretch out while yawning at the same time. This is an enjoyable behavior to observe. Guinea pig is stretching and yawning just after a sleep or when it is feeling happy and relaxed. One may notice this behavior while holding and cuddling the pet for some time.
Cleaning (grooming) itself
This is a behavior one could not miss. Guinea pig stands on its hind legs and cleans itself with its front legs licking its fur. It does this when it is by itself, but when certain trust between the pet and its owner is established, it will clean itself by (or on top) its owner.
Not closing its eyes
Guinea pig often does not close its eyes (even when sleeping), unless it is feeling very relaxed (even then it is not very often). Also the result of a natural defense mechanisms and alertness.