Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Happy

By Marta Sarasúa, Psychologist. November 7, 2022
Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Happy

Guinea pigs are friendly rodents that are becoming increasingly popular as pets. They are small, intelligent and have the ability to adapt to living in an apartment. Although guinea pigs can be nervous or skittish at first, with consistent, gentle handling they usually become tame very quickly and are able to form deep emotional bonds with their caretakers. Guinea pigs also have a very extensive language that includes a variety of sounds, behaviors and body expressions that they use to express their feelings.

In the following AnimalWised article, you will learn how to tell if your guinea pig is happy and how to interpret their behavior.

You may also be interested in: Guinea Pig Sounds and Their Meaning

They do little hops and jumps

The term popcorning refers to a brief but intense episode in which the animal runs very fast, changes direction abruptly, and occasionally makes small, showy jumps. It is called popcorning because it resembles the popping of corn kernels in a pot.

If you are not familiar with popcorning in guinea pigs, you may think your pet is having a seizure when you first see it. But do not worry, because it's usually a sign of excitement or joy. Guinea pigs often run and jump when they are allowed out of their cage and have plenty of room to explore and interact with their keepers or other guinea pigs.

Although joy is the usual reason for popcorning, sometimes fear is the cause. Pay attention to what is happening when your guinea pigs popcorn. If it appears that they are doing it more out of fear than fun, you must find out the cause of the fear.

You may be interested in this other article, where we explain why your guinea pig shakes and trembles.

They seek physical interaction

If your guinea pig is happy with you, they will find ways to express it through their body language. If your pig comes out of the cage and wants to go exploring with you, it is a very good sign that you have made a friend.

One of the ways you can tell if your guinea pig is happy is that they seem relaxed in your presence and seek physical closeness. Remember that guinea pigs are very sensitive animals and can easily become stressed. So if your guinea pig sleeps or rests next to you, accepts food from your hand, and lets you pet it, it generally means it trusts you.

You may be interested in this other article, where we explain how to tell if your guinea pig loves you.

They lick or nibble your hand

As mentioned earlier, a guinea pig seeking physical interaction is a good sign. In fact, another common sign of guinea pigs' affection for their caretakers is when they gently lick the caretaker's hands after sniffing them. In addition to licking, they may also nibble continuously and painlessly.

In contrast, if your guinea pig bites you roughly and hurts you, this indicates that they are really uncomfortable or scared and need some space.

Guinea pigs can bite you for a variety of reasons. The animal may suffer from pain or pathology if this occurs frequently, so it is crucial to figure out exactly what is bothering your guinea pig.

You may be interested in this other article, where we answer whether guinea pigs can recognize their human keepers.

They socialize with other guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are social animals that live in moderately large groups in the wild. Guinea pigs are lovable and very social animals that crave the company of their pig friends. In fact, if you choose to keep only one guinea pig, keep in mind that they will likely be unhappy.

Guinea pigs are social animals that thrive on interaction with other animals of the same species. If they interact and play with you or other guinea pigs, it is a clear sign that they are happy and love their lives.

Keeping several guinea pigs and building a good relationship between them requires socialization and gradual, controlled introductions.

Equally important is an enclosure that is large enough to accommodate several animals and has all the necessary elements to make each of them feel comfortable (food, bedding, shelters, water dispenser, comfortable temperature, adequate lighting, etc.).

Also, it is not appropriate to confine guinea pigs in a cage 24 hours a day. For a guinea pig to be happy, they must have the opportunity to explore, run, jump, play and socialize. If kept in an unsuitable environment and given too little exercise, even the most docile guinea pigs will develop aggressive behaviors.

You may be interested in this other article where we explain how to help a sad looking guinea pig.

Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Happy - They socialize with other guinea pigs

They are active and playful

Guinea pigs are very active rodents. It is normal for them to run around, explore their surroundings, play with their toys, climb up and down platforms, etc. In order for your guinea pig to live out their energy and be happy, you need to provide them with enough space, as well as let them out of their cage daily.

It is equally important to keep their mind active. Therefore, we recommend playing with your guinea pig, giving them challenges they can overcome, or even teaching them new tricks. You will be surprised how smart guinea pigs really are.

An apathetic guinea pig that spends most of the day lying down or sleeping most likely has a health problem. Such a health problem can be either physical (due to disease) or psychological (depression, anxiety, stress, etc.). In this case, you should consult a veterinarian to assess the health of the animal.

You may be interested in this other article, where we explain how to tell when a guinea pig is sick.

They have healthy sleeping habits

Another way to determine if your guinea pig is happy is to analyze their sleeping habits, as these are just as important as activity.

These animals sleep mainly at night, although they may take short naps during the day. In the wild, guinea pigs like to rest in burrows. So make sure your guinea pig has an enclosed, quiet, dimly lit room where they can get the rest they need.

Remember that these animals are prey animals by nature, so they tend to always be alert to what is going on around them. In fact, many guinea pigs sleep with one eye open. A guinea pig that is not happy and at peace, will not be able to relax and fall asleep.

Learn more about guinea pigs in this other article about the most fascinating facts about guinea pigs.

Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Happy - They have healthy sleeping habits

They make certain sounds

As we mentioned earlier, guinea pigs make a variety of sounds to express themselves. Of course, not all of these sounds are associated with negative emotions; some of them indicate that your guinea pig is happy.

For example, a series of high-pitched, repetitive squeaking sounds may indicate that your guinea pig is feeling relaxed and safe, or that they want your attention. On the other hand, "chutting," a low-pitched sound similar to the dripping of a faucet ("chop, chop, chop"), expresses the animal's well-being and comfort. If you hear this sound while petting your guinea pig, it is a very good sign.

Learn more about the sounds guinea pigs make and their meanings by watching the video below.

If you want to read similar articles to Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Happy, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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