Guinea pigs - care guide

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GUINEA PIG COMMUNICATION - CARE GUIDE: diet, breeds, tamming, grooming, sterilization, sounds, sex recognition, reproduction, diseases, physique, behavior, origin, gender, equipment, accessories, hygiene, vet pet shop.

BEHAVIOUR

GUINEA PIG COMMUNICATION


Guinea pig sounds:

Purring – it’s a happy sound. Pigs can make this sound in three situations: during the copulation, while eating favourite treats, while being pet.

Wheeking – Pigs show their needs by making this sound:
- calling other piggies;
- demanding food (during feeding or when they hear characteristic sounds or smell);
- demanding the attention. A pig could start wheeking, when it is ignored for a moment, while sitting on its owner’s lap. If in spite of stroking the piggy doesn’t stop wheeking, it means that it is calling other piggies and wants to come back to its friend in the cage.

Whining - can mean dissatisfaction. However, there are so-called grumblers, which make this sound very often, without a serious reason. Some pigs are whining when they try to tell us to put then back to the cage, because they need to pee. If a pig stretches on your lap and is whining in the same time, that means the pig is a grumbler.

Mutter – means satisfaction. The sound is made during petting, exploring a flat/house or eating.


Silent whimpering – medium satisfaction.

Shrieking - a cry for help and a reaction to pain. None of our piggies have never had a reason for making this sound. It resembles a loud and long whistle.

Teeth chattering - indication of aggression. The sound isn’t made often towards people, but very frequent towards stranger piggies. It’s similar to grinding of teeth. When a piggy has an aggressive purpose it is bristling and squinting its eyes.

Chirping - the most mysterious sound. It is like a singing bird – you may think you have a canary at home. Mostly females make this sound, very rarely and mainly at night. There are several theories regarding the reason why guinea pigs make this sound (loneliness, feeling scared or a mating call). In my opinion none of them make any sense. The mating call would be a good explanation, if pigs of opposite sex reacted to it – but they don’t. The singing piggy seems to do it just for itself and it doesn’t like to be observed during singing. The pig usually stops singing when it sees its owner.....but it’s not a rule.

Body language

Biting – guinea pigs don’t bite hard their owners, even when they are very mad. They can bite fingers gently, but it isn’t aggressive. In extreme cases, pig “catches” a finger with its teeth in a way that resembles biting. So the "bite" is painless and doesn’t leave marks on the skin. That kind of biting is only information, that the piggy is upset. It shows the intelligence of guinea pigs – a savage piggy is able to bite almost to the bone. Guinea pigs have very strong jaws.
However,guinea pigs are eager to bite clothes. Pigs do it with great determination and they are able to destroy the most expensive shirt :)


Chewing the cage – it may be caused by frustration, when a piggy sees or hears somebody who prepares food for it. Sometimes guinea pigs do it without any reason.

Scratching A piggy scratches when something is itching it :)

Cleaning – A pig cleans its snout with its front paws (as a hamster) or a tummy with its mouth.

Licking there are a few theories explaining why do guinea pigs lick fingers. A claim that human skin contains substances (for example: salt), which are components of guinea pigs diet.
Personally I agree with view, which proclaims emotional character of this behaviour. A pig licks your fingers when:
- it wants to reciprocate caresses and to tell you it loves you
,
-
it wants to apologise you - for example: when it bites you by mistake,
- it wants to get to know somebody. Some piggies lick fingers of strangers, but only very friendly guinea pigs do it.




Freezing in place – It’s a sign of fear. The piggy stands still on straight paws. Don’t confuse this position with lying down to sleep, when the pig is sitting on its paws or is stretching out.

Stretching out – Piglets stretch out, when they are petted, while they are asleep or relaxing.

Running and jumping up - it is a form of fun for little piggies. It can have an interactive character – the pig can play with other little piggies. Pigs chase each other and nudge one another with snouts. Adult pigs don’t play like that.

Fight - Males can fight for females. Females fights are caused mostly by territorial claims during pregnancy (a pregnant pig should have its own accommodation). They are able to bite the opponent quite hard and the human, who tries to separate them may be also bitten. During the fight guinea pigs might get really mad, and it is very hard to calm them down.

Conciliatory position – when piggies try to get to know each other, they can be a little bit aggressive, but they usually reach an agreement quickly. If the piggy stands on straight paws with highly raised snout, it means the pig wants to make friends with other piggy.

Breaking free – little piggies struggle more often than adult ones. Very energetic pigs often try to break free from their owners’ hands, without a reason. This kind of a piggy doesn’t want to sit calm on your hands. Some piggies are struggling even while they are being carried.



Yawning - a guinea pig yawns for the same reasons that people do.

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