If you just are not used to owning a pet guinea pig, you may feel a little puzzled by their mannerisms at first. One such behavior is staring. Why do they do it and what does it all mean? I was intrigued by these questions myself so I decided to conduct some research into the topic. Here is what I have been able to find.
So, why does your Guinea Pig stare at you? Guinea Pigs stare at people when they are dozing, are bored, lonely, feel under threat, or are not comfortable in their new surroundings.
While there are many different reasons why a Guinea Pig can stare, there are some signs to look out which will help you determine why.
Thankfully there are a number of things you can to make your Guinea Pig feel safe. That way, you know that your Guinea Pig will be staring at you for all the right reasons!
Let us now take a look at these, and explore the topic further.
Is Your Guinea Pig Staring?
Guinea Pigs are notoriously eccentric and enjoy nibbling on your fingers, licking your hands but among their most interesting of behaviors is staring, which can be a little unnerving at first.
They can be very active, running around in their cage one minute and will suddenly stop and stare at you the next; you will be left to wonder – why does my guinea pig stare at me?
There are a number of reasons why your guinea pig is staring at you; One reason could be that your pet is dozing; they don’t tend to close their eyes when they sleep and it may appear that they are staring at you.
Your Guinea Pig could also be bored or lonely. This sometimes happens when your Guinea Pig is left on its own for two long, or they have not be socialized enough over a period of time. Guinea Pigs are herd animals, and do well when they are in the accompany of others. This is why you usually see recommendations to house more than one Guinea Pig and not to keep a single one in exclusive isolation.
Another reason could be that they are prey animals and are used to facing many challenges in the wild. Their instincts can kick in and making them be on high alert. If this is the case, being frozen is almost like a stress-response and usually indicates that your Guinea Pig is not entirely comfortable in its present surroundings.
Guinea Pigs have to survey their new surroundings and try to determine whether they are safe or not with you and their new environment.
What You Can Do To Make Your Guinea Pig Feel Safe
Guinea pigs are naturally skittish; this is normal behavior for a prey animal. If you want your new friend to get used to you and its’ new home you will need to spend time in their company and slowly and consistently get them to trust you. In time, you will be able to gently cuddle your Guinea Pig and this serves as a great way to build a closer bond.
When the time is right to do this, try scooping up your pet with one hand under its’ belly, hold it close to your chest, and gently stroke them.
Offer vegetables as treats to your guinea pig, they are vegans after all and like most food grown from the ground. While they require at least 80% Hay in their diet, freshly picked grass is acceptable for them to feed on as well. Just make sure it has not been treated with any pesticides, herbicides or any other treatment! (this can be very dangerous).
My Guinea Pigs particularly enjoy these crunch sticks that I get for a good price on Amazon. They are super easy to hang from the wires of the cage and due to their size and shape, you can even hand feed them to your Guinea Pig which is a great way to get them to trust you.
Additionally, its important to feed your Guinea Pig a range of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs, but be aware that some plants can be harmful and must be avoided.
Guinea pigs can become bored, like any animal so you must provide it with toys to promote play, exercise, and good health. You can easily make toys that are inexpensive and will keep your pet entertained for hours:
- Crumpled Paper Balls – You could just place some crumpled paper in its’ cage and it will enjoy the crumpled sound and the texture.
- Cardboard Tunnels – You could create tunnels out of any cardboard, however, the tube of wrapping paper makes an ideal tunnel and you could easily cut it into shorter lengths.
- Chew Toys – Untreated wood is ideal, but a simple cardboard box will work just as well. you could also purchase some cheap chew toys that are ideal for rodents, from your local pet store.
Failing this there are a lot of great Guinea Pig Toys available on the market which you can get pre-made. This 10 piece bundle on Amazon comes particularly recommended and is made from all natural wood too.
You should also let your guinea pig out of its’ cage and let it explore your home regularly. Every day is recommended as this is known to provide entertainment and mental stimulation.
Before you let your guinea pig out of its’ cage, you will need to survey the room, looking for anything potentially harmful to them. You should always ensure there are no ways for them to escape!
Move anything dangerous out of your guinea pigs’ reach, like cords, plastic bags, chemicals, and house plants. Always provide food and water for your guinea pig for the time that it is out of the cage.
Moreover, where you place the cage is very important. Place this in a quiet part of your home, away from doors and any objects that can make loud noises (e.g the washing machine). When you enter the room keep a constant flow of chatter, let them know that you are coming, are friendly and do not intend any harm. This will be far more relaxing for them and help them to feel at ease and calm.
When you are around them and handling them, be intentional about not resembling a predator. Don’t stare at them yourself. If you do look, make sure it’s from the side and avoid any sudden movements or noises.
Your scent might be giving them the wrong impression of you, so avoid wearing perfumes, sprays and any other strong fragrances around your guinea pig.
There is no guarantee that your guinea pig will stop staring at you if you follow the suggestions above, but hopefully, the bond with your little friend will get stronger over time and it will learn to trust you.
Signs That Your Guinea Pig Is Happy
As any pet owner you want to know that your animal is happy with you, your home and its’ routine.But, how can you be sure that your guinea pig is happy, especially when they are known to not express pain or sadness?
Guinea pig show they are happy with crazy leaps in the air. This is known as popcorning, This is more common with baby guinea pigs rather than adults, but the adults will jump about when they’re happy and excited. It’s a joy to watch your guinea pig popcorning; it means that your pet is happy and healthy.
Guinea pigs will lick your hands and nibble at your fingers, a very kind gesture, which more than likely means, that your little friend is showing you affection, after all, this is how they show affection to one another.
They are noisy creatures and different sounds can communicate a lot about their feelings, for example, when they feel relaxed, they will produce a soft consistent squeak or whistling sound with little bodily vibrations. This shows that they like you petting them, however, a high pitched squeak, could indicate that your pet is in a lot of pain, and a low-pitched purring sound could is your guinea pigs’ way of letting you know that it is displeased.
Guinea Pigs And Loneliness
Guinea pigs are naturally social animals and enjoy the company of other guinea pigs. It isn’t ideal for your pet to be kept in solitary confinement for too long as it can affect its’ health and general happiness. It is believed that guinea pigs can even die of loneliness – they need companionship to survive.
A guinea pig left on its’ own tends to be more fearful and it can develop annoying habits like chewing on the bars of its cage.
A human pet owner would rarely make an ideal substitute companion for a guinea pig, but it is still very important that you frequently visit them and give them lots of attention.
It is advised that you adopt two guinea pigs so that they can form a close bond and look after each other. They will enjoy playing with one another and keeping each other active, one will even be known to help the other in poor health.
Companionship is the key to ensuring your guinea pigs’ happiness and well-being.
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.