Do Guinea Pigs Pretend To Be Dead? Let’s Discover

Guinea pigs are small animals that are often prey in nature and are constantly the target of predator attacks, so they have to manage as they know and find ways how to survive.

Guinea pigs don’t have many options to save their lives when they are in the wild, especially if there are no nearby hiding places to hide.

Do guinea pigs pretend to be dead?

Guinea pigs pretend to be dead whenever they are in danger from predators in order to stay alive. Guinea pigs also pretend to be dead when there are other pets or unfamiliar people around them.

In today’s article, you will learn why guinea pigs pretend to be dead, how long they pretend to be dead and similar questions related to the topic.

Do guinea pigs pretend to be dead?

Guinea pigs pretend to be dead in order to save themselves from attacks by other animals.

Since guinea pigs are small animals, they pretend to be dead because they cannot cope with larger predators in nature.

Guinea pigs pretend to be dead so that predators see that they are static and hope that they will not attack them, it is the only way to save their lives.

Why are guinea pigs pretending to be dead?

Guinea pigs pretend to be dead, but that is the last alternative when they are in the wild, they of course first try to escape and not face the predators.

But when there is no other way out, then all that remains is to pretend to be dead and hope that they will stay alive.

However, sometimes even when pretending to be dead, they fail to save themselves from predators, because some of them attack and eat dead animals, such as foxes.

Guinea pigs can be pretending to be dead due to other situations, is not always the reason only when they have an attack by predators, so let’s take a closer look at all the options.

Fear of other guinea pigs

When a guinea pig is first brought into a new home with other guinea pigs it can be stressful for them.

Although guinea pigs are social animals, a new guinea pig can be frightened by other guinea pigs and pretend to be dead.

This especially happens when the other guinea pigs in the cage want to explore the new guinea pig.

A guinea pig that will be put in a cage with other guinea pigs and will immediately witness a fight in the cage will immediately cause fear in him and play guinea pigs pretend to be dead

Unknown people

When there are unfamiliar people near guinea pigs, they may pretend to be dead out of fear.

Guinea pigs consider strangers as a threat to their lives, just as they fear predators in nature.

That is why it is most important when you have friends and other strangers in your home for guinea pigs, to always keep them a little away from their cage.

Over time, the guinea pig will adapt to unknown people, but at first, it will be afraid of them and can be pretended to be dead.

The danger in your yard

If you decide to let your guinea pig play outside in your yard then at some point it can play dead.

While it is certain that you will secure the yard so that predators cannot come after the guinea pig, the noises or the approach of predators to your yard will scare the guinea pig and it will pretend to be dead.

Guinea pigs have excellent senses and will immediately sense the danger of predators even at a greater distance.

It is best to have a guinea pig house in the yard so that it can hide when predators come near, although if the yard is properly fenced there will be no real danger to them.

Noise and loud noises

Guinea pigs are very sensitive animals that react to noise or loud noises and play dead.

Outside noises like a dog barking, a door slamming, or any sound or noise can cause fear and make your pet pretend to be dead.

Although the guinea pigs are in a cage and in reality have no danger or threat, however, they think differently, they think they have nowhere to run and pretend to be dead as the only way to stay alive.

How long are guinea pigs pretending to be dead?

Guinea pigs can be generated dead from a few minutes to an hour.

It depends on the danger that surrounds them, guinea pigs will play dead until the danger is gone.

And if it seems that it is too much for the guinea pig to be for example half an hour inactive, but it is still normal for them, because they are fighting to survive.

Read more: Can Guinea Pigs Choke To Death? Let’s Discover

What is the difference between playing dead and shock in guinea pigs?

When a guinea pig pretends to be dead it is to save itself from predators and stay alive, while shock is a sudden state caused by fear.

Guinea pigs pretend to be dead if approached by an animal in order to survive.

If the same animal manages to grab the guinea pig without noticing, then your pet experiences shock and fear.

Generally whenever a guinea pig is scared or caught by a predator unexpectedly then it is a state of shock.

Read more: Why Do Guinea Pigs Have A Short Lifespan? Find Out Now

What to do when a guinea pig plays dead?

Whenever a guinea pig plays dead you have to be careful with it.

First, find out the reason why your pet is playing dead:

  • if it’s because of other animals, then put them aside
  • if it’s because of noise, reduce the noise
  • take the unknown people to another room

Once you remove the cause or the danger that caused the guinea pig to play dead, start talking to it slowly and gently so that it can return to its normal state.

Give him some food and gently pet him so that he feels safe and realizes that the danger has passed and there is no need to be guinea pigs pretend to be dead

Can playing dead kill a guinea pig?

When guinea pigs play dead it is only a temporary state of rest and freezing of their body.

Playing dead cannot kill the guinea pig, it will start moving again when the danger is over.

Guinea pigs do not get any changes in their organism when they play dead, so this phenomenon has no consequences for their life.


How do I know if my guinea pig is hibernating?

When guinea pigs are in hibernation, they lower their body temperature and sleep in a deep sleep. To be sure that they are hibernating and not dead, put them in front of a mirror and see if there is fog in the mirror, it is a sign that they are alive.

Why is my guinea pig not moving?

When guinea pigs do not move, it means that they are sick. It can be a dental problem, cancer, infection, liver disease, and many other diseases.

Do guinea pigs react to death?

Guinea pigs are very sensitive animals, and they grieve when a guinea pig dies, and they were together in the cage before. To help them, you need to buy another guinea pig or give them more attention.


Guinea pigs are playing dead whenever they are in danger from predators, loud noise, unknown people, and similar situations.

They use playing dead to save their lives, as the only way when there is nowhere to run or hide. The guinea pig is very sensitive and therefore we should pay attention to the environment that surrounds it.

Although guinea pigs in a cage are not really in danger for their lives, they will always use playing dead when they think they are in danger.

Read more: How To Know When A Guinea Pig Is In Shock? Find Out Now