Guinea pigs are prey animals. It’s not a big secret that they are generally scared of many things. I guess you as a guinea pig parent would like to know what exactly frightens them, so you can avoid putting them in unpleasant situations that can cause them stress and fear.
Guinea pigs are afraid of predator animals and generally animals that are larger than them. Loud noises terrify Guinea pigs as they have very sensitive hearing. Due to some previous bad experiences Guinea pigs may develop a fear of people. Being chased or grabbed is scaring them to death.
What are guinea pigs afraid of?
Guinea Pigs Are Sacred of Loud, sudden noises
Due to the fact that they are prey animals, every loud noise is a kind of threat to them. So guinea pigs are scared of loud noises which make them very agitated and restless.
This doesn’t mean that you need to whisper in your own house and never listen to music or TV-out loud. Not all guinea pigs are the same. For some of them, the sound of a vacuum cleaner will scare them to death while others love it.
The point is that guinea pigs hate loud noises but especially those surprising or sudden ones.
For example, if you clap your hands out of the blue or your cut yourself and scream or some heavy book fell off the shelf or the wind slams the door suddenly. Guinea pigs are scared of both claps of thunder and lightning. I am sure you get my point.
Normal, house noises are ok for your guinea pig as long as you gave him a chance to get used to them. Even if your piggy is perfectly adapted to your home noises and then something changes.
For example, a newborn comes to your home or you start with extensive home renovation which involves a lot of hammering /construction work you have to understand that your Guinea pig will show a certain level of stress and fear. In that case, do move your piggy’s cage to some quieter area.
This is recommended even if you just need to hang a picture or replace a cabinet /bed.
Guinea Pigs Are Sacred of Predator and Large Animals/ Pets
Guinea pigs are scared of other animals, especially larger than themselves. They are also afraid of predator animals and pets such as hawks, snakes, rats, cats, or dogs, which is quite normal.
You may notice that your Cavy is suddenly scared to death but you cannot see the cause. The thing is that he can sense the predator even if he doesn’t see him.
If you suspect that a wild predator like a hawk or sneak might be the cause of the fear in your piggy, you need to try finding its traces and figure out which predator (if any) may have frightened your piggie.
A quick inspection of your house can help to see if any signs of a predator will show up – like their droppings, slither tracks (in the dust), feathers, scurrying during the night, or anything that could indicate the presence of the intruder.
Not only wild predators can spook your piggy. It’s not advisable to keep your guinea pigs with other pets. Some people do keep their guinea pigs with rabbits, but even this combination is not the best one.
Rabbits and guinea pigs are similar in size and both are prey animals but rabbits can be aggressive creatures. They have very strong back legs which they can kick the guinea pig with. This kind of fight would end badly for the guinea pig.
The best cage mate for a guinea pig is another guinea pig and there is no doubt about this. But here you should also pay close attention. The atmosphere in the cage should be harmonious.
This means that it shouldn’t be a guinea pig that is bulling the other(s). If you have a Cavy that is in constant fear of his cage mates, that’s not good.
If you have guinea pigs that tend to bite and hurt each other, they simply don’t match, nobody should live like that.
If you notice that your guinea pigs are purring or teeth chattering or shaking their butts you know that something bad is going to happen. Not every fight is a sign that your guinea pigs cannot live together.
Some guinea pigs can fight and then sort things out. It’s important to react if one of them is overly aggressive towards the other one. But if they are equal, some fight every now and then is kind of minor disagreement which won’t ruin their friendship.
Guinea pigs also are scared of other pets, especially dogs and cats but also other guinea pigs that are aggressive may turn your Cavy’s life into a terror.
Now, I’m not saying that all dogs and cats are blood-thirsty predators, because each canine or feline has its own personality. But they do have natural instincts written in their genes. – just like guinea pigs.
Their instincts involve hunting down smaller prey, and their mind sometimes just don’t “get” that your guinea pig is an innocent, little ball of fur (and not a tiny, furry snack).
Guinea Pigs Are Scared of Being Chased or Picked Up
Another thing that is related to the fact that they are prey animals. Guinea pigs are afraid to be picked up. In nature, only predators are picking them up and they know that after that not much is left.
Just try to imagine what Cavies see when you try to pick them up. They see you, a giant with huge hands coming towards them and trying to grab them. Scary thought, isn’t it?
Another scary aspect is that they are ground floor animals, they are not good climbers, they like to be on the ground. So when you are picking them up they lose that solid ground below their legs which makes them really frightened.
But when you eventually pick them up and put them in your hands they realize that they are safe, fear is gone. Especially if you give them some treats, they will be very happy in your hands.
One of the recommended ways to pick your guinea pig up is to offer him a treat ( it can be a leaf of some yummy vegetable ) and while he starts to nibble the treat you just pick him up. Maybe he would be surprised in one short moment but wouldn’t mind at all, especially if he would be busy with a treat.
Guinea pigs are really afraid of being chased. This one is related to the ”picking up ” issue. So you should never chase and grab your guinea pig as this is something terrifying for them.
It’s not a good idea to play a game in which you chase your guinea pig. Even though he is used to your very well and he is emotionally attached to you, this kind of activity brings him huge stress. There is no need for that.
Guinea Pigs Are Scared of Some People or Children
Guinea pigs rely on humans to keep them safe in a household environment, but if they come into contact with careless people, they’re likely to become suddenly scared because of mishandling and bad treatment.
Maybe your piggies have come into contact with a hyperactive child who started to scream around them, seeing that as a great amusement.
Or maybe an adult didn’t realize that standing over your guinea pig’s cage (like an eagle ready to grab them) is a serious no-no.
In general, guinea pigs are naturally afraid of people, especially if they don’t recognize the person. This may be because they do not trust the person they have encountered, but it may also be a sign of prior mistreatment.
Many guinea pigs that were adopted from shelters or rescue organizations may have been abused in the past. You should ask these questions before bringing your new family member home. Mistreated animals always require more care and love, so you should be prepared to devote more time to make your guinea pig feel safe again.
Even if your guinea pig hasn’t been abused, they will still fear humans. It is in their nature. When introducing your new pet to the other members of your family, try to do this gradually.
When adopting your guinea pig as your child’s first pet, make sure you explain to them to be patient with their new pet. It takes time to bond with an animal. Also, monitor your child’s handling of the guinea pig to make sure that he or she doesn’t harm it.
Guinea Pigs Are Scared of Visit to the Vet ( and Travel in General)
Guinea pigs don’t like changes. They love their daily routine and schedule and they are not willing to make changes too often.
A trip to the vet can be really scary for them for multiple reasons. A car ride can frighten them pretty much. All those noises and strange movements are something scary for most guinea pigs.
Although check-ups are essential for the good health of your pet, these kinds of trips scare them profoundly. Confort your guinea pig as much as possible during these trips, while allowing the medical professional to do their job.
Strange environment, people that your piggy is not familiar with, strange noises and smells– all of them together in your vet’s clinic can really spook your furry friend.
In addition to this, guinea pigs are afraid of travel in general. They see any type of travel as a bad change with no obvious purpose ( at least for them). They don’t see anything appealing in changing the environment for 3-4 days or a week ( if you go for a vacation or short business trip)
They were just fine in the cage so they don’t understand why they are going to someplace they are not familiar with.
You shouldn’t be taking out your guinea pigs without a good reason. For example, if you go out to a drink with your friends and you want to take your guinea pig in some doggy purse.
It’s not recommended. Or you are going to the mall or your kid wants to show your guinea pig to his friends in school. Not a good idea.
Guinea pigs shouldn’t be dragged around unless you have a good reason such as a visit to the vet or moving to another house or going to some safe park for out-of-the-cage playtime.
How do I stop my guinea pig from being scared?
- Find the cause of the fear and eliminate it. If you want to keep your guinea pig happy and relaxed you have to find the source of the fear and what makes him stressed. If it’s the wild animal make sure you catch it or chase it away and do whatever it takes to prevent it from endangering your pet again. If it’s a pet, make sure they are well separated so your dog or cat cannot approach your guinea pig no matter how friendly attitude it has.
- Make sure they have plenty of hiding places. Huts and hideaways are essentials for prey animals and are great place fpr your piggy to go when he is feeling stressed or scared. You can create a cardboard box in your living area, or have an extra hut inside the cage.
- Last but not least , give them TIME. When a piggie is seriously frightened – especially if you’re not 100% sure of the cause, you’ll need to give them some time to chill and relax. Maybe give them a few hours (or even a day or two if they’re seriously upset). Offer them favorite snacks and give your little friends extra snuggles (if they like that kind of thing).