Personality of a Guinea Pig

Do guinea pigs make good pets? Are guinea pigs friendly? Do you need more than one?


Skylar dePolo

10/3/20233 min read

What is a guinea pig?

Guinea pigs are medium sized rodents. However, they have very different needs and personalities than those of other rodents, and are nothing like hamsters.

What are guinea pigs like?

Guinea pigs are social animals, meaning that they love (and need) lots of attention. Keeping their enclosure in the room that you are most commonly in is best, so that they can see and hear you. Guinea pigs can actually become depressed, and sick, from loneliness, so make sure to hold your piggy every day for at least 30 minutes.

Different personalities

Like dogs and cats, each guinea pig has their own unique personality. Some are more vocal while others are quiet. Some are more snuggly than others. Some may come right up for pets, while others make you work for it. Some are biters, while others are not.

Should you have more than one guinea pig?

Typically, it is highly suggested that you keep at least 2 guinea pigs, as they live in herds in the wild, and tend to do best in pairs or small groups. However, some guinea pigs are very dominant and do not get along well with other guinea pigs (especially if they are both dominant). In this case, it may be best to keep just one, or keep the other guinea pig in a separate enclosure in the same room, so that they can still hear, see, and speak to one another. Do not keep a male and female guinea pig in the same cage, or you will end up with hundreds of guinea pigs in a short amount of time. If you do have male and female guinea pigs, keep them in separate cages as suggested for those that do not get long. If you have more than one guinea pig, you do not have to hold them every day; if you only have one guinea pig, you must hold them for 30 minutes to 1 hour (or more) every day to meet their social needs.

What do different noises mean?

Guinea pigs use noises and body language to communicate their feelings. A loud squeal (wheeeeeek!) means they want something, usually food or attention. If they are at their food bowl or hay basket, they are telling you that they want more. If they are at the front of their cage and squealing, and you're going, "I don't know what you want!" this means that they want attention. Sometimes they make little chirps (woop woop woop), which means that they are happy or having fun. Some noises sound the same, but you mean different things. If they purr while laying down or kicking their back foot out to the side, they are happy and content; if it sounds like purring but they are standing and wiggling their butt, that is called rumble strutting, and it may mean that they are unhappy, or want to be in charge.

What other body language do guinea pigs use?

Don't like something: When a guinea pig does not like the way you are petting them, they will hit you by pushing their head into the air.

Do like something: When guinea pigs are happy, they will jump around while running; this act of jumping around is called popcorning.

What does it mean if a guinea pig bites you?

Guinea pigs do not typically bite. If you put your finger in front of their face, they may think it is a carrot and bite you. Sometimes a guinea pig may get overenergetic and accidentally bite you when feeding them, so watch your fingers! There are other circumstances where a guinea pig may bite. If they nibble you, or just put their teeth on you, that means they are checking things out. They can't use their hands to test things out like humans do, so they use their mouths. This could also be a warning of the guinea pig saying "hey! I don't like that. Stop it!" If the guinea pig bites you and it hurts/leaves a mark, it means they do not like what you are doing, so stop.

*Most guinea pigs do not bite unless they feel threatened. There are only a few guinea pigs that are nibblers.

Do guinea pigs pee on you?

Guinea pigs poop A LOT and pee whenever they have to; the world is their toilet! They do not have the bladder control of bunnies, so you are likely to get peed on, and will definitely get pooped on. If a guinea pig does a whole bunch of poops within a short amount of time, that usually means they are about to pee. To keep your clothes clean, I suggest folding a towel in half and putting on your lap before the guinea pig. Or, putting a baby pee pad under a hand towel is an even better option, especially if your guinea pig usually pees on you.

Do guinea pigs make good pets?

Guinea pigs are one of the best pets you will ever have. As long as you fulfill their social needs and take good care of them, they will be your new best friend.

For more information on caring for guinea pigs, check out the link below!