Why Do Guinea Pigs Twitch? 13 Causes And Answers

Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 07:35 pm

When we keep guinea pigs, they often have strange habits in their behavior; sometimes, they twitch or shake.

Of course, it disturbs us, and we wonder why this phenomenon is happening, whether we should be worried, whether the guinea pig is sick, whether it is happy and similar thoughts and questions pass through our heads.

Why do guinea pigs twitch?

When guinea pigs twitch, it can be for several reasons: happiness, heat stroke, mites, attacks, poisonous plants, pregnancy, imminent death, and other reasons for this unwanted phenomenon.

That’s why in today’s article, we will allow you to read everything we learned about twitch in guinea pigs, the reasons and how to help guinea pigs to prevent this habit.

Why do guinea pigs twitch?

Guinea pigs twitch for several reasons, twitch sometimes happen due to happiness, and sometimes as a sign of some disease of the guinea pigs.

It is especially dangerous if guinea pigs twitch when they have an infection, problems with the airways, and when they eat toxic food.

The following text will learn about every possible reason for a twitch in guinea pigs.

Threat from other pets

Guinea pigs may twitch because of a potential threat from other pets in our home.

If there is another guinea pig in his cage, it can cause nervousness and twitching in your pet.

If there are other types of pets in the home, such as cats, the guinea pig may again start to feel fear of cats, even though it is probably not as dangerous as our furry friend thinks.

Therefore, pay attention to the guinea pig; if it shows twitching due to other pets, there is nothing left but to remove them or find another room where it will feel safe and relaxed.

Ringworm infection in guinea pigs

Ringworm is a fungal infection that attacks guinea pigs and is very unpleasant for our pets.

When guinea pigs have this infection, they constantly will cause them to twitch.

If the guinea pigs have this kind of fungal infection, you will be able to notice it most easily if you take a good look at their skin; it becomes red, has spots, starts to peel and a certain amount of hair falls out.

This infection can be transmitted in several ways:

  • infected bedding
  • from other pets
  • from people carrying ringworm

Gloves should always be on our hands when a guinea pig has ringworm to prevent the infection from being passed on from humans to other animals.

People cannot get this fungal infection, but they can transmit it.

That is why it is essential at the beginning when you start keeping a guinea pig to quarantine it for 15 days, so that it cannot infect other pets in your home.

To prevent such an infection, bathe your guinea pig with a special antifungal shampoo once every 2-3 months.

When the guinea pig is twitching, you should take it to the vet to examine it and see if it has a ringworm fungal infection and give it the appropriate therapy.

why do guinea pigs twitch

Mites cause twitching in guinea pigs

Mites cause constant itching and twitching in guinea pigs.

They infiltrate our furry friends’ skin and cause inflammation, which is incredibly irritating and painful for guinea pigs.

There are two types of mites:

  1. Chirodiscoides Caviae – which is not dangerous to guinea pigs
  2. Cheyletiella Parasitivorax – is much more dangerous for guinea pigs, accompanied by a lot of irritation and itching.

As a result of mites, guinea pigs will get the following problems in addition to twitching:

  • weight loss
  • decrease in appetite
  • lethargy
  • danger of death

When guinea pigs have mites, you must act quickly because it can be hazardous for their health, and there is a danger of death.

To prevent the appearance of mites, we should regularly clean the guinea pigs’ cages, although they can also get mites from bedding or other animals.

When guinea pigs have mites, they have a lot of dandruff on their skin and their hair falls uncontrollably.

When guinea pigs have mites, bathing does not help them, and you will have to take the guinea pig to a veterinarian to prescribe appropriate therapy.

Guinea pigs also twitch when they are happy

Guinea pigs twitch when they are happy and satisfied.

Twitching does not always have to be a bad sign, when we give them food, or when the guinea pig is in a new and clean cage, it will be happy and twitch.

When the guinea pig is in an environment he likes, he may twitch with joy, so you should monitor your pet’s behavior.

When guinea pigs are happy, they know how to do popcorning as a sign of joy and twitching.

Head injuries

Twitching in guinea pigs can also be caused by head injuries, resulting in brain swelling, nerves and digestion problems and their body strokes.

Since hamsters twitch for a variety of reasons, so you can more easily know that it is from a head injury, pay attention to the following signs:

  • head tilt
  • eye problems
  • decreased appetite
  • they may faint

In such situations when guinea pigs are twitching due to head injuries, you should take your pet to a veterinarian.

Respiratory infection

Guinea pigs can also twitch when they have a respiratory infection and breathing problems.

In the case of such an unwanted infection, you should immediately take the guinea pig to a veterinarian because its condition may worsen.

Upper respiratory infection (URI) can cause death in our furry friends if not treated promptly.

When a guinea pig’s twitching is accompanied by lethargy, sneezing and coughing, decreased appetite, and a runny nose, it is likely a respiratory infection.

An upper respiratory infection appears due to the appearance of bacteria and weak immunity, so we should regularly give them food with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C.

Heat stroke

Guinea pigs twitch when they have heat stroke because summer temperatures are hazardous. But apart from the temperature, guinea pigs can have heat stroke and dehydration.

The problem with guinea pigs is that they can’t sweat, so they can quickly overheat and get heat stroke.

They need to be in the shade and have constant drinking water to prevent something like this.

Heat stroke usually affects guinea pigs if the temperature is above 75 F and there are some symptoms that are signs of this phenomenon:

  • weak or high-speed pulse
  • lying on the stomach
  • lethargy
  • heavy breathing
  • lack of energy
  • breathing at short intervals

Whenever guinea pigs have heatstroke, medical attention from a veterinarian is needed.

why do guinea pigs twitch

Twitching due to depression

Guinea pigs don’t want to be alone or scared; they get depressed and start twitching.

They are soft pets that need very little to fall into depression, so we must be careful with them. There is also special music for guinea pigs that helps them not to be depressed.

Special music for guinea pigs allows them to relax and calm, less stress, depression and of course less twitching.

From our side, we should always provide them with excellent conditions in their environment, and lots of love and attention so that they don’t fall into depression.

Guinea pigs twitch when they are pregnant

When guinea pigs are pregnant, they twitch because of the pregnancy itself, that is, the baby they are carrying causes them to twitch.

When guinea pigs are pregnant they have a higher body weight, and eat much more than the usual amount of food.

When you notice that the guinea pig is pregnant, we should take good care of it, it should have a good and regular diet with healthy nutrients and we should allow them to be cheerful, without stress and fear.

Poisonous food causes twitching

When guinea pigs eat some toxic food, they will have seizures and start twiching.

If guinea pigs eat something poisonous, they have the following symptoms:

  • eating problems
  • too much drooling
  • environment with lead
  • lethargy

When guinea pigs are twitching by poisonous food, the symptoms we mentioned are immediately noticed because the food goes very quickly into their digestive system, which will very quickly show us the bad reactions from the poisonous food.

Twitching due to imminent death

Guinea pigs twitch when they are about to die because when their heart stops beating, their brain may still be working, causing their body to shake.

Immediate death occurs when the guinea pig is 4-5 years old or from the following situations:

  • disease
  • he doesn’t want to eat
  • he doesn’t want to drink water
  • pneumonia
  • fall from a height

In this situation, nothing can be done to help our furry friends, we can only make the last days of his life comfortable and pleasant with us.

An ear infection causes twitching

Guinea pigs can also twitch when they have an ear infection, which can be the result of pneumonia.

Upper respiratory infections spread to the middle ear and then to the inner ear, which is very dangerous for their health.

Inner ear infection causes problems with the nervous system of guinea pigs.

In such an unwanted situation, you should immediately take your pets to the vet, because they need antibiotic therapy to improve their condition.

You will notice symptoms of an ear infection in guinea pigs with the following signs:

  • pneumonia
  • loss of balance
  • tilting the head to the side
  • walking in circles
  • rolling on the floor

When we pay close attention to the signs that guinea pigs show, it will be easier to know why he is twitching and we will know how to help him.

why do guinea pigs twitch


Lice cause twitching in guinea pigs, which manifests itself through their itching, which is the best sign that they have lice.

The appearance of lice in guinea pigs occurs when it is in contact with other pets that already have lice; it can also appear from a dirty environment, or contact with bedding with lice.

If you try to reduce the itch from the lice by bathing the guinea pigs, then don’t try it at all; it won’t work to reduce the lice.

Only a medication prescribed by a veterinarian can help your pet stop twiching and get rid of lice.

What to do if a guinea pig has a twitching?

The better you know the guinea pig, the easier it will be to find out the reason for his twitching and what to do in such a situation.

As we said in the text above, twitching can be caused by different ways, diseases and maybe happiness.

If you cannot find the cause of his twitching yourself, it is best to take the guinea pig to a veterinarian, who will find out the exact cause through your knowledge and the symptoms that the guinea pig has.

Why do guinea pigs’ ears twitch?

The ears of guinea pigs twitch due to three possible reasons, the first is due to the presence of lice, and the second may be due to overheating or, more precisely, that they are hot.

The third reason is that the guinea pigs sleep because they can twitch their ears.

Of course, twitching while sleeping is the best option; it is not dangerous for them and their health.

Why do guinea pigs twitch their noses?

When guinea pigs twitch their noses, they are scratching; this is normal and should not worry you.

It is only dangerous and irritating if they itch due to an infection or the presence of lice.

Another possible reason for twitching their nose is when they smell something in the environment, maybe food or another pet.

read more: Are Guinea Pigs Hypoallergenic? (Complete Guide)

Why do guinea pigs twitch when we pet them?

Guinea pigs sometimes twitch when we pet them because they feel uncomfortable.

However, this kind of twitching is not terrible; it is a normal phenomenon, and you should not worry.

Guinea pigs are gentle and sensitive, so it is entirely normal for them to twitch when petted, although twitching can also be a sign of an illness or infection.

read more: How Long Can a Guinea Pigs Go Without Food And Water?


Twitching in guinea pigs is expected and we have to get used to it whether we like it or not. Guinea pigs twitch due to illness, stress, fear, infection, happiness and imminent death.

The better we know our furry friend, the easier we will know the reason for his twitching, and the easier we will be able to help him.

Because if we know the exact cause, the vet will learn much more quickly what therapy to give him to recover faster when he is sick or has an infection.

Finally, twitching is usually a bad sign, while less often it is a sign of happiness for our pet; in any case, we should pay attention to his behavior and help him when he shows twitching.

read more: Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate? All You Need To Know