Guinea Pig Behavior
In order to take the best care that you can of your pet cavy or guinea pig, you need to learn all you can about guinea pig behavior. Any sudden change of behavior may mean that your guinea pig is sick. Take your pet to the vet right away. In the meantime, here is a basic guide to guinea pig behavior.
Guinea Pigs are Prey Animals
Although guinea pigs have been domesticated for thousands of years, they still retain the instincts of their wild ancestors. When they are startled, they will act as if they are being pursued by a predator. They may freeze when confronted with something new. This freezing behavior makes guinea pigs great photography models. If they are terrified, they will run. For such dumpy animals, they can run surprisingly fast.
Guinea pigs often hide when scared. If your guinea pig is missing, start carefully searching dark places in your room. The guinea pig’s wild ancestors would dive into underground burrows when a predator was spotted. The pet guinea pig will dive under furniture, blankets or under bushes in order to hide.
Guinea Pigs Need to Learn What to Do
Guinea pigs are not born instinctively knowing what is good to eat or what places are safe to burrow into or even how to hide from predators. Baby guinea pigs need to learn all of this behavior from their parents, from their litter mates and from any other member of the colony or cage.
Some people think that guinea pigs know how to take care of themselves in the wild if they are turned loose. These stupid people dump their pets in forests or fields when they no longer want their guinea pigs. The guinea pigs are clueless and soon die from starvation, exposure, traffic or become meals for stray dogs or cats. If you can no longer take care of your guinea pig, please take your pet to an animal shelter.
Guinea Pigs Should Only Live With Guinea Pigs
Despite what you may see on movies or television, guinea pigs should only be kept with guinea pigs. Never keep guinea pigs with other pets, even rabbits. Some old guinea pig care books state that rabbits can co-exist with guinea pigs, but this is wrong. Rabbits are too aggressive for the shy, smaller guinea pig.
Never give a guinea pig toys or equipment meant for other pet rodents. They will know what to do with them or will be much too large to safely play with them. Good guinea pig toys are empty plain brown paper bags.