If you own pet guinea pig then one of the behaviors that may come as a surprise is vibrating. Why do guinea pigs do this and what does it mean? Is it positive or should it be something to be concerned about? Having wondered this myself, I decided to conduct some research into the topic. I would like to share this information here with you today.
So, why do guinea pigs vibrate? Guinea pigs vibrate as a way to communicate. They vibrate for both positive and negative reasons and it is largely context dependent. It is therefore important that you monitor the situation, the current mood and well-being of your guinea pig. This will help you to understand what is going on, how to approach the situation and and if you need to respond in any particular way.
Vibrating is a strange and peculiar behavior and its one that you are going to want to better understand as a guinea pig owner. Let us now take a closer look to help you understand how to respond if you notice this happening from your pet cavy.
Guinea Pig Behavior
Every guinea pig is different, but anyone who is used to owning guinea pigs can tell you that certain sounds and behaviors communicate different things.
Guinea pigs are prey animals, so they tend to be skittish and fearful when you first bring them home, they will freeze at the slightest sound, or run away, they may even avoid eating until certain noises have ceased or until you have left the room.
It may take some time before your cavy learns to trust you and see you as a friend.
When they are happy, it’s another story, some guinea pigs will popcorn, this is something that younger piggies tend to do to show excitement, but older guinea pigs express happiness in other ways, examples of are appreciative sounding purring, squeaking, being playful with fellow cavies as well as their owner.
If your guinea pig is angry, some ways they’ll express this is by chattering their teeth, purring in an angry manner, hissing, and showing their teeth, they can do this to other cavies and humans.
You might be surprised to learn that some cavies vibrate and naturally, you may be wondering, why they do this. Let’s explore, in detail the reasons why guinea pigs vibrate.
What Does Vibrating Mean?
When some owners notice their guinea pig vibrate for the first time, it’s natural for them to be alarmed, but vibrating is very much context-dependent, like purring and squeaking.
If you are petting your guinea pig and it vibrates this generally means that your cavy is relaxed and is enjoying being petted. When vibrating guinea pigs are very happy they may make high tweeting sounds as well.
When a guinea pig is annoyed and it doesn’t like something your doing, if you are being too noisy or not fast enough with dinner, he might make deep, groaning vibrations. Deep vibrations might also be a way for guinea pigs to signify higher social status when other guinea pigs are present.
For some guinea pigs, vibrating signifies fear, you will notice subtle tones that sound rapid and clipped. Guinea pigs may vibrate in response to cold temperatures, or if they are getting out of a bath, this type of vibrating will sound quite similar to fearful vibrating. When this happens, make sure that you dry your guinea pig thoroughly and carefully with a towel.
Some male guinea pigs make vibrating sounds when looking for females. These vibrations generally have a lower register than the other ones they make. Females that are responsive to the male’s advances will vibrate in turn to show their interest and may show other signs, like cozying up next to their love-interest and swinging their hips.
Is Vibrating A Good Or Bad Thing?
From the point of view of the owner, a guinea pig that vibrates is a good thing, it’s a way for your cavy to let you know how he is feeling so if anything is wrong, you can take the necessary steps to improve their environment.
You must learn to judge the different vibrations by distinguishing a happy vibration from an angry or fearful one.
If your cavy is new to your home and you notice that they are vibrating a lot, they may be doing it out of fear. This is because they do not know you or their new environment.
The only way to make them feel more at ease is by spending more time with them and providing a companion. Cavies love the company of other guinea pigs and they enjoy playing together. Guinea pigs are naturally very social animals and do not do well alone. Its also imperative that you provide plenty of toys in the cage and around your home to keep them occupied.
- A hand-woven grass activity center with favorite natural chew toys.
- Grass hut is woven of primarily sisal tassel, measuring approximately 11-inch long, 9-inch wide and 6-inch high.
- Contains 7-pack toys: bamboo sticks, apple sticks, pinecone, loofah, seagrass ball, water hyacinth ball and rattan ball.
- 100% all natural materials comes through in this fun playtime accessory while satisfying your pet's natural instinct to burrow, explore and nest.
- Provides a sense of safety and security which keeps your small pet healthy.
Noises can easily frighten guinea pigs, especially ones that are new to your home, so keep the noise levels down.
Allow your guinea pig to get used to you gradually, being as gentle as you can. When you pick up your guinea pig, hold him close to your chest and give a gentle cuddle. This will show them that you are his friend and that they can trust you.
Sometimes new guinea pigs won’t eat in front of their owners, if you notice that your guinea pig doesn’t eat in your presence, leave them alone and this will likely resolve the issue.
If your guinea pig is already accustomed to you but makes deep vibrations every so often, you may notice that they do so because you’re not fast enough with providing food, or their just in a generally bad mood.
Do not be alarmed, guinea pigs are generally very happy creatures, and when they are angry or annoyed, it doesn’t last for very long.
Guinea pigs like to be warm, so make sure his environment is warm to avoid vibrations. Humans tremble in the cold, so do guinea pigs in response to cold temperatures. If you bath your guinea pig, dry him immediately and thoroughly afterward, and don’t allow him to be exposed to the cold air after a bath.
- Safe and soothing warmth
- Non-electrical; simply heat up in your microwave
- Plate-size pad easily fits under your pet's bed
- Provides up to 10 hours of safe and soothing warmth
- Non-toxic thermapol compound
Rest assured that if your guinea pig is vibrating when you’re petting them, they are very happy. Continue doing what you are doing. No further action needed.
It’s wonderful for a pet owner to hear and feel happy vibrations and know that the guinea pig is happy and well looked after. This is the only kind of vibrating that you want to see in your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs are fun to watch mainly because they are very cute and idiosyncratic.
Getting attuned to what your guinea pig likes and doesn’t like can be a fulfilling and enriching experience as you gain insight into their world. As you become used to their sounds and behaviors, it’s like learning a different language and it just requires a little sensitivity on your part to understand what it is that they are communicating to you.
Once a guinea pig is happy, they will generally stay happy. Getting them there is all about optimizing their environment. So you need to ensure you are providing good quality food, companionship, activities, warmth, and comfort. This is ultimately all guinea pigs need throughout their lives.
If you take the necessary steps to make sure that they are content and comfortable in your home, you will find that negative vibrations will lessen over time.
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.