Guinea Pig Intelligence

Intelligent guinea pig indeed

Are Guinea Pigs Intelligent?

You may suddenly think one day, is a guinea pig intelligent? In my opinion yes I think they are, but I can’t make a guarantee on how clever they are. You might think that they just eat, drink and go to the toilet all day long, which they do, but there is more to them than just that.

Guinea pigs are very affectionate and inquisitive of their overall surroundings. They will recognise their names after a certain period of time, whatever snassy one that is. They will start to realise when they are being fed and when they’re being taken out of their cages.

I come down early in the mornings and they know that their nuggets are coming. When back into the hutches from the playpen, they will bite the bars for their water bottles, as I place them back again. I take them out into the playpen in the mornings, using a hidey made out of a fabric material, which is a little house for guinea pigs. So I get them to run into it, I used to have to actually use my hands to get them to go all the way and now it doesn’t take as much effort. That is why you can teach them to do tricks, as they do learn things very well, it’s all about processes and repetition.

There has been a study conducted in the past, where guinea pigs are tested against their wild ancestors the cavy. Its a test to see how quick they can grasp getting the food by knocking over plastic containers. Guinea pigs were found to be guinea pig photographerquicker, even with a smaller brain from being domesticated.

Communication is an important part, as the eyesight is very poor. They will use their own sounds to let other guinea pigs and human owners know what it is they want or feel.

Intelligence is there, I give another example that even with limited vision, one of my guinea pigs jumped over the other as it was drinking and straight through the doorway inside the upstairs of the hutch. To be honest I was amazed the first time, as I didn’t think they could jump as high as that and especially right through the entrance.

It goes to show how remarkable creatures are and what they are actually capable of. Maybe it’s of no surprise with guinea pigs, as their hearing is out of this world and sense of movement is very good. The whiskers help them to move around and figure out if there is anything in their way or the route they have to take.

It may be argued whether they are of higher intelligence than some other pets like rats. I can’t say this, but give them some credit, that there is some intelligence there and are not just dopey creatures. You can try some simple tricks with them, like placing food under a plastic bowl, to see if they manage to get under.There are puzzle toys you can buy, to hide food in holes, that are covered over by a movable cover.

Have a look around and see if you can test out your guinea pig. Even making mazes up and placing treats at different stages, will keep them entertained, as well as seeing the talent from them. Its interesting as you observe their daily habits and behaviours, just how clever they can be.


Thank you for reading this article and feel free to leave a comment below. I will reply back as soon as possible.


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24 comments found

  1. Every time I read one of your articles, I miss my squeeky, was so cool. I agree with you they are smart and they have personalities, there so cool. It’s really funny when they get mad cause they let you know they are. Thank you Eden for this great article.

    1. Its hard when a beloved pet dies like a guinea pig. Yes they sure do let you know when they get mad, but its good because they won’t get really aggressive, you would have to be winding them up a lot. Thank you David for stopping by.

  2. They are so cute. I really don’t know much about Guinea Pigs except they are cute. So it’s surprised me to know after reading this post, just how intelligent and capable they really are. I was also surprised to learn that their eyesight is poor. I always thought their vision was good.
    What should I take into consideration if was to get one? Are they high maintenance?
    Thanks for a great post

    1. Guinea pigs are super cute and there was once a time I thought that their eyesight was quite good. Probably because how big their eyes are, but unfortunately the eyesight is poor, but having amazing hearing makes up for this and they can distinguish colours quite well.

      I would say that you need a few hours a day to look after guinea pigs and also the costs can add up. But you can buy in bulk with certain items and it is cheaper, just need the space. Certain parts of their care takes less time than other parts, but its just a case of deciding what times of the day to different parts of their care, fitting in with your own daily schedule. They are brilliant pets, but I can’t lie, you do need the time to look after them as well as costs. But there are pros and cons with any pet really.

      1. Thank you Eden. I appreciate your honesty. I’ve bookmarked your site for your extensive knowledge. I agree with you in taking the time to care for pets. And my children are excited at the thought of having a Guinea Pig as a pet, and I’m pretty excited too. I’ve even read your article about toilet training them. It’s just amazing.
        Thanks again

        1. Thank you Patty, I remember how excited I was to get my guinea pigs. All the best, stay tuned for other topics I will be talking about on guinea pigs.

  3. Interesting – I know I’ve always thought guinea pigs, gerbils, and mice/rats were not very intelligent, but I think that’s because every time I’ve ever seen them, they’re in a cage/aquarium environment.

    My wife used to have a guinea pig that had a plastic ball that she called his “wheel”. She’d put him in his wheel and he’d zip all around the house. Funny to watch, but I’m sure getting out of his enclosure to explore the house was a thrill.

    1. Hello Dave, guinea pigs are not actually meant to be placed into any balls or wheels. Because it could injure their spines as they are not really designed to be in them. It does disorientate the guinea pigs. Although its good for them to explore and they do like getting out of their cages for some time each day.

      I think there are people who think that a plastic ball or wheel for guinea pigs to go into are good, but unfortunately not. Just a case of maybe picking up some misleading information. Anyway thank you for your comment.

  4. You bet, guinea pigs are intelligent! My little brother used to take care of a couple of guinea pigs. Although he put them in a cage big enough for them to play around, at times he would get them out and let them enjoy the mini-roller coaster ride he made for them. It always amazed me to see how quick they move around, considering that their eyesight is poor. 

    This just goes to show that no matter how tiny they are, guinea pigs deserve the credit for being smart and clever that pet owners enjoy teaching them some tricks. 

    1. That mini roller coaster ride sounds amazing, bet it looked quite something. They do move around very quickly and yes they definitely deserve the credit. 

      Thank you Alice 

  5. Thanks for another great article Eden! I completely agree; Guinea Pigs are MUCH smarter than is commonly perceived. For example, when I had my own Guinea Pig, I’m sure he could tell when he was about to be fed and would come right up to the edge of the cage in anticipation. Do you have a link to that study you mentioned? It sounds like an interesting study; comparing domesticated Guinea Pigs to their wild relatives. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi Eden,

    I’m seriously considering adopting a guinea pig and found your post quite enlightening. I’ve found them to be very inquisitive creatures but had no idea their eyesight was poor. I’m always fascinated by the ways that animals have evolved and can compensate for weaknesses. I’ve known many people who had just one guinea pig but I’m wondering if it’s best to consider two. How social are they? Thanks for the info!

    1. Hello Linda, 

      That is great that you are considering adopting a guinea pig, but I would say to adopt two guinea pigs. They are best in pairs and even being around your guinea pig a lot, will not make up for the company of its own kind. 

      It is amazing how animals have evolved over time. Guinea pigs are a little social with themselves and to its human owners, they are not constantly noisy, communicating for example when they want food. Very inquisitive creatures indeed 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by

  7. Thank you Eden for sharing with us this great post on Guinea Pig intelligence. To be frank I have no idea about how intelligent they are but they are intelligent of course.

    When they need food they can make you know that they need food and I take that as sign of their Intelligence.

    Your website contains interesting post for sure, I like it.

    1. Their wheeking sound is very cute and like you say intelligent to communicate to their owner that they want their food to come immediately, when they can’t see past their nose. 

      Thank you Jullienne 

  8. Hi Eden,

    I love creatures, to be honest!. And so I was happy to find your website talking about Guinea Pigs and their intelligence. One thing I have realized about all creatures is their unique ability to learn when properly trained. Dogs do have that ability to learn and act with intelligence, so do other animals. 

    Unfortunately, because of where I live in the world, I do not have close contact with Guinea Pigs. But I’m surely hoping that in the future, my travelling ventures will bring me close to these animals one day. I have never thought about their intelligence. I was really pleased reading the article. A very nice one. 

    Thanks a lot for sharing with us this refreshing post and nice looking website.


    1. Hello Stephen,

      I am sure one day you will have close contact with a guinea pig. They are very intelligent and witty creatures. 

      Thank you 


  9. Great post! It makes me remember from the past. I have very fond memories of when I was a kid and also when my daughters were small. Guinea pigs were a favorite pet for our family! I absolutely agree that they are quite intelligent. We used to get them out to play in a blocked off area on the floor and they were so much fun! They easily figured out the mazes we would make to find a treat. We had one that seemed to know when we said her name as well. Guinea pigs are a fantastic pet for kids to learn responsibility, although the down side is that they do not live very long.

    Do you have any guinea pigs now? We had to find ours a new home when my allergic mother-in-law moved in!

    1. Hello Dave,

      Guinea pigs can hear that certain tone in your voice I think and they realise you are calling them. Absolutely, they are a pet where it teaches them responsibility, but actually out of all the small animals, they are the ones that live the longest. On average from 4 to 8 years and some have had theirs live past 8 years.

      I have four female guinea pigs called Sophie, Charlotte, Butterscotch and Poppy. I also have a Syrian hamster called Henry. 

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