If you have observed tears within your Guinea Pigs eyes, then you naturally may wonder if they are crying. Is this possible or is there another reason why tears may form? This question has fascinated me for some time, so I decided to conduct some research into the topic. Here is what I have found.
So, do Guinea Pigs Cry? Guinea Pigs do not cry in the conventional sense. While Guinea Pigs have an impressive emotional range, tears that form are often a natural response to keeping their eyes moist and healthy.
Let us now look at this topic further, identifying potential causes for tears, what this means and what you can do about it if this is a concern for you as a Guinea Pig owner.
Do Guinea Pigs Cry?
People tend to have a bad habit of personifying animal behaviors. Although we do share a lot of the same emotions, humans and animals generally have very different ways to communicate them. This is especially true for animals that are a little more distant to us – including rodents and Guinea Pigs..
Animals can feel hurt and upset. There is no doubt about that. Animals like rats, rabbits, and Guinea Pigs can even suffer from forms of depression.
For Guinea Pigs, while they do have an impressive emotional range, they do not cry in the conventional sense.
A lot of times, we misinterpret their behaviors and try to make it more understandable by thinking about it from a human perspective.
Its important to understand this distinction as it gives us a better insight into their emotional state. Having a better understanding of to interpret guinea pig behavior can help you keep them happy and healthy.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Cry?
If you notice your Guinea Pig(s) appearing to have a little water in their eyes, it’s not from feeling sad. There is a lot of controversy in the scientific community over whether certain animals cry emotional tears.
Some experts try to reserve this as a human-only phenomenon, but there are some cases which would suggest otherwise. Although the jury is out on whether pigs, dogs, and elephants cry emotional tears, there’s no evidence that would suggest Guinea Pigs need to be considered in this category.
This doesn’t mean it’s abnormal for Guinea Pigs to produce some physical tears. Almost all mammals produce tears. It helps keep the eye moist and healthy.
Every once in a while, you may notice them tearing up. This is probably a result of a minor, everyday injury like getting poked by a piece of hay. This does not always necessary mean they are in any significant pain and discomfort. Tears can be a natural response to stimuli and can happen automatically. In a lot of cases, there is not much if anything that you can or should do.
If you notice excessive tears or tear stains under your pet’s eyes, this could be a sign that they are sick or were injured in a fight. Make sure to monitor them and inspect for tears regularly if you suspect they are poorly or fighting among the group. Take note if it is accompanied by other behaviors.
If you do notice excessive tears regularly, or are in any way concerned about your Guinea Pig, then its important to take the appropriate action.
If you suspect illness, its always a good idea to take them to your vet. They will be able to examine your Guinea Pig(s) and see if there is a wider issue.
If you suspect fighting, then you are going to want to eliminate this behavior. Generally, ensuring that you have a spacious and comfortable cage, plenty of toys to entertain your Guinea Pigs and separate bowls of food are some great approaches to try.
Since I invested in the Living World Deluxe Habitat (which you can purchase on Amazon), my Guinea Pigs have been far more comfortable, relaxed and less prone to fighting.
Why Does My Guinea Pig Keep Squeaking?
Some people interpret squeaking as crying and reference these sounds as evidence of it. As any guinea pig owner will tell you – Guinea Pigs squeal a lot.
In other words, Squeaking does not indicate nor mean your Guinea Pig is necassrily crying.
This is their main form of communication. These little rodents are rather vocal and will make noises for several reasons. Not every squeak is equal. Understanding to differentiate between them will allow you to better understand what’s going on:
Annoyed or Angry: An irritable guinea pig will let their feelings be known through a series of behaviors. For one thing, they will actively avoid socializing and seem to be less excited for your interactions.
They will also make a weird grunting or high-pitched purring sound. This sound is not something easily mistaken for a cry, but it is important that you do recognize it. The more apparent signs will be their body language though.
It is important to make sure that your Guinea Pigs are happy and relaxed so that they say healthy and friendly.
Extreme destress: Guinea Pigs will cry out when something was wrong. It is a very uncomfortable sound, and if you hear it, you should respond immediately.
A screaming guinea pig is often one who was terrified by a threatening experience or in an incredible amount of pain. Many lucky owners never have to hear this sound.
Sadness: Recognizing sadness in guinea pig is important, so I added it to the list despite the absence of sound. Guinea Pigs don’t really wail and sob when they are upset. Instead, they just kind of lie there.
They may be more easily annoyed than normal or just react to nothing at all.
Hunger or Attention: Sometimes your Guinea Pigs are just calling out to you. They know that you’re by and they want you to know that their food bowls are empty or they’re ready to be pet. This will be loud repetitive squeaks.
You may even notice that your guinea pig will begin to purr like a cat when it is comfortable. This is a sign that they are relaxing.
It’s important to know that this can also be them letting you know they have been injured. If their noises don’t cease with you giving them some love, this can be a sign that you need to visit their vet.
Otherwise, this is just a cute behavior that is normal for Guinea Pigs to exhibit. While all owners enjoy their adorable little rodents popcorning and showing off their love, it can get a little annoying.
How Do You Manage Loud Guinea Pigs?
Just like when you train a dog to not bark excessively, you can do something a little similar with Guinea Pigs. They don’t need to squeak all the time. To understand how this will work, you will need to have a basic understanding of conditioning.
Scientists found that when you pair two activities together (one being something they want or don’t want and the other being an arbitrary indicator), you will achieve learning behavior.
In simpler terms, this is something like the following; Everyone loves cookies. You figure out that every time you ring a bell, you get a cookie. So whenever you want a cookie, you ring that bell. Depending on your mood, that will be pretty much always.
That’s what your Guinea Pigs are doing. They squeak because they know that when they squeak they get what they want. Try to manage the amount of times you respond to this.
If you go to their cage every single time they squeak, they will learn to do this to have you at their beckoned call. Instead, try to maintain a sort of schedule. Instead of shouting out for you because they have no idea how else they will get it, feed and play with them at set amounts of time during the day.
They will eventually learn that these are the times in which they can expect to get what they want. If they receive adequate care during this time, they often won’t even try to get your attention (although they will chatter amongst themselves still).
Even if you haven’t tried doing this intentionally already, you have probably noticed how excited they get over the sound of a rustling bag. This cute behavior is not unique to Guinea Pigs.
If you are worried about losing sleep or concentration over the sound of your Guinea Pigs, it is a good idea to house them a ways from your bedroom or office. You will never be able to get your Guinea Pigs to stay completely silent.
Sometimes, even if they’re not trying to get your attention they are just shouting out in glee.
Be patient and recognize the signs so you can better understand how to care for your pet.
Things To Remember
Guinea Pigs do not cry in the traditional sense, but when you see signs of tears its usually a good indicator that something is going on.
To ensure that your pet is as happy and healthy as can be, here are some things to remember:
- Some Tears are natural and to be expected; they generally are not a cause for concern.
- If tears are excessive, you should investigate for potential causes which can include illness and or/fighting.
- If your Guinea Pig is poorly, be sure to take them to the Vet at the earliest opportunity.
- Fighting should be broken up and eliminated. Getting a more spacious or second cage and keeping your Guinea Pigs further apart is a good approach.
- Ensure you regularly clean your Guinea Pig cage for the general welfare of your Guinea Pigs.
- Squeaking is a natural noise for Guinea Pigs to make- it is a method of communication which can mean different things.
- Ensure your Guinea Pig has plenty of Food, Hay and Water to prevent them from going hungry.
- Consider getting your Guinea Pigs toys to keep them entertained is always a good idea. There is a collection of great toys available on Amazon.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.