What Do Guinea Pigs Do When They Are Nervous? Let’s Discover

The guinea pigs are very cute and adorable little pets that brighten our day. Sometimes, they can be nervous due to various reasons, making it essential to understand their behaviors in such situations.

What do guinea pigs do when they are nervous?

When guinea pigs are nervous, they either tremble or freeze in place. Nervous guinea pigs make vocal sounds, chatter their teeth, and might have breathing difficulties.

In today’s article, you’ll learn about how guinea pigs behave when they’re nervous, what to do to calm them, and related topics.

What do guinea pigs do when they are nervous?

When guinea pigs are nervous, they exhibit specific signs such as trembling, vocalization, freezing, or teeth chattering.

Guinea pigs can become nervous due to various reasons, such as sensing danger nearby, lack of food, or feeling neglected by their owners.

Therefore, understanding their signs and behavior when nervous is crucial to know how to help them become happy and content again.

Signs of nervousness in guinea pigs

Guinea pigs display specific signs indicating nervousness, so timely observation and assistance are crucial.

Through body language and vocal signs, guinea pigs express their nervousness. Here are some of them:


When guinea pigs are nervous, they start trembling, noticeable in their body and legs.

This behavior is common when they feel anxious or scared about something in their environment.

Freezing in place

When a guinea pig is nervous, it might suddenly freeze and stop moving.

This behavior often occurs when they feel nervous and can happen during any activity in their cage.

Guinea pigs freeze because their defense mechanism, inherited from nature, gets activated when they are scared or stressed.

Rapid breathing

Nervous guinea pigs might breathe much faster than usual.

You’ll notice their body moving quickly due to rapid breathing, indicating nervousness caused by something in their surroundings.

Teeth chattering

When your pet is nervous, it starts to chatter its teeth. This serves as a warning to other guinea pigs and a signal for their owners to be cautious.

When they chatter their teeth, besides being nervous, they might also attack. Therefore, it’s best to leave them alone to calm down, meaning not to handle them.

Vocal Sounds

When guinea pigs are nervous, they emit vocal sounds.

In such situations, guinea pigs are visibly nervous and irritated by something happening in their environment, although sometimes, it could also mean they’re hungry and want food.what do guinea pigs do when they are nervous

In fact, even we humans get nervous when hungry, and the same happens with guinea pigs.

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What causes nervousness in guinea pigs?

The reasons for nervousness in guinea pigs can be diverse, ranging from their surrounding environment to improper handling by their owners.

Here are some of them:

  • Loud noises – such as loud music or TV can trigger nervousness in guinea pigs.
  • Changes in the environment – unfamiliar places or when you first bring a guinea pig home can make them nervous and confused.
  • Predators – if guinea pigs sense other pets nearby, such as dogs or cats, it causes nervousness.
  • Improper handling – especially when unfamiliar people try to handle or play with guinea pigs, they might get upset and become nervous.
  • Loneliness – as social animals, guinea pigs crave company. If they feel neglected by their owners, they start getting nervous.

How to Calm My Guinea Pig When It’s Nervous?

When guinea pigs are nervous, it’s essential to do everything possible to help your pet regain its calmness.

Here are a few tips to help calm your guinea pig:

  • Speak Quietly – guinea pigs are delicate and prefer when their owners speak softly to them.
  • Slow Movements – avoid quick and sudden movements that might increase their nervousness. Move slowly and gently when touching or picking them up.
  • Offer Favorite Food – providing their favorite snacks helps guinea pigs forget their nervousness and brings them comfort. Giving them cucumber or lettuce can calm a nervous guinea pig.
  • Quiet Atmosphere – a peaceful environment helps guinea pigs overcome nervousness quickly and return to being happy and calm. A calm atmosphere significantly reduces their nervousness.

All these tips will help you calm your guinea pig more easily, reducing fear or stress that often accompanies nervousness.

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Inadequate Cage Causing Nervousness in Guinea Pigs

If a guinea pig’s cage is inadequate or lacks necessary items, it may cause stress and nervousness in your pets.

Here are some crucial aspects to watch out for to prevent your guinea pig from becoming nervous:

  • Bedding – guinea pigs require comfortable bedding such as paper-based or fleece bedding to feel comfortable and prevent nervousness.
  • Sufficient Items – having enough toys and activities in the cage helps keep guinea pigs entertained and prevents nervousness.
  • Cage Size – the cage’s size is crucial to provide ample space and prevent nervousness. It’s necessary to have a cage with a minimum size of 7.5 ft squared (27 inches x 41 inches), but the preferred size should be 10.5 ft squared (27 inches x 56 inches).

Temperature Impact on Guinea Pig Nervousness

Guinea pigs may become nervous if the room temperature is too low or too high.

The ideal temperature for guinea pigs is between 65-75°F to keep them comfortable and happy.

Any deviation from the normal temperature might induce stress and nervousness, so be mindful of the room temperature where you keep them.

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When Guinea Pigs are Hungry, They Get Nervous

Guinea pigs tend to become nervous when they are hungry. These adorable little pets are always keen on eating, and the lack of food makes them anxious.

They thoroughly enjoy eating, so it’s essential always to have food in their cage, especially hay, which should always be available in sufficient quantities.

If they don’t have enough food, they might start making displeased noises and become nervous. Therefore, it’s crucial to pay attention to their diet.what do guinea pigs do when they are nervous


Can a guinea pig’s nervousness impact its health?

Long-term nervousness in guinea pigs can negatively affect their health, leading to sickness, weakened immunity, and similar negative reactions.

How important is companionship for guinea pigs in reducing nervousness?

Companionship is crucial for guinea pigs as it helps prevent them from being nervous. It contributes to their happiness and comfort in their cage and surroundings.

Is it normal for guinea pigs to exhibit nervous behavior when meeting new people?

It’s entirely normal for guinea pigs to be nervous when meeting new people. Guinea pigs need time to get used to unfamiliar individuals in their vicinity.


Guinea pigs exhibit signs such as trembling, teeth chattering, rapid breathing, and other symptoms when nervous.

They become nervous if there are other pets like dogs or cats nearby, but they can also be nervous around unfamiliar people.

It’s crucial to observe promptly what triggers nervousness in your pet as it may induce stress and diseases.

Guinea pigs are social animals that require attention and care to prevent nervousness.

Finally, guinea pigs need a comfortable cage, owner companionship to avoid nervousness, and to be happy and joyful in your home.

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