Are Guinea Pigs Smart?

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Sometimes, I see my pet guinea pig staring blankly. He would even run around his cage and roll randomly. As a piggy mom that makes me wonder, are guinea pigs actually smart?

Here’s a short answer – Yes, Guinea pigs are smart, and we can practically teach them A LOT. In fact, Guinea pigs are much better taught than cats and dogs. Although dogs learn when they are only a few weeks of age, Guinea pigs are better trained when they are 9 to 10 months old.

But hey, is that enough reason to call guinea pigs smart? Let’s take a look at 5 more reasons why guinea pigs are smart.

5 Reasons Why Guinea Pigs are Smart?

1. Guinea Pigs are Able to Retrace Their Steps

Guinea Pigs Walking Back to Their Home

Many investigations and trials show that guinea pigs recall their paths and find their way home. Scientists originally expected the piggies would use their powerful scent to locate their way, but that’s actually not the case.

They use their memory instead. This shows that they master the way to discover the route and use their experience.

When humans began to domesticate guinea pigs, they moved out in search of food and water, but they always walked for a while.

In most situations, if they felt a predator was close, they would escape for their life. This is all about memory and smart movements. Impressive, right?

2. Guinea Pigs Reveal Their Emotions of Happiness and Fear

They’re like humans since they express their emotions. For example, if they are excited, you’re going to watch them go up and down again and again. This is what we normally call popcorning, and this is a characteristic of the guinea pigs. 

It’s primarily seen in young Guinea pigs, but adults also tend to express their happiness this way.

On the other hand, once they feel afraid, they will stay silent and observe until they calm down. Being a keen observer enables your guinea pigs to assess whether the danger deserves flight or whether it should be ignored. 

You’ll find them in different directions to trick the predator when they’re in a flock, and the danger is serious. You may recognize that this cooperation is smart enough to show their intelligence.

3. Guinea Pigs React to Their Names

Another reason why guinea pigs are smart is their ability to respond when you call them. When you adopt a pet, the very first thing you do is name them. Like any other animal, guinea pigs tend to remember their names and recognize them. 

Guinea Pig reacting to his name - showing happiness

Naturally, they don’t understand the meaning of that word, but they learn to identify your tone and voice. So they know the term refers to them when you summon them.

Try your pet buddy to test this idea. When they hide somewhere, call them by their name, and you may be surprised when they will actually come out. They might need some time to learn it, but don’t abandon it if it doesn’t happen the first time.

4. Guinea Pigs Can Recognize You

Yes, guinea pigs are smart, and they very easily learn to identify and react when you call them. They usually do so by recognizing you by your voice. So, the best bet is to communicate with your pet and spend time with them as much as possible. Finally, they will even recognize the rhythm of your footsteps. 

They get very attached to you and may not bear a little carelessness from your side. For example, observe their behavior when you offer your cat some food. They may begin to whisper and squeak because they know that you came to feed them.

Also, while you are somewhere around their cage, you will find them running to the cage desperately, expecting you to pick them up or open the cage to feed them! All of their cute and adorable actions and movements make them super irreplaceable.

5. Guinea Pigs Learn at a Young Age

Guinea pigs start to learn when they are only nine to ten months old. They can learn from movements, regular training, and observing things in their everyday lives. This is one of the 5 reasons why guinea pigs are smart.

If your animal pet is ready to start the training, invest a lot of time with him, and he can become accustomed to you commanding and summoning them. Also, make absolutely sure that you teach each animal at a time since it might be a bit stressful to learn in groups.

There are far too many interruptions for these rodents that make it difficult to acquire.

Is My Guinea Pig More Intelligent than Other Animals?

It depends, every animal has different levels of intelligence. Let’s compare each of them with guinea pigs to find out.

Are Guinea Pigs Smarter Than Hamsters?

Comparing a Guinea Pig vs a Hamster's intelligence

Yes, guinea pigs are definitely smarter than hamsters, and there is a very good reason for that. The brains of the hamsters have very few neurons, and among all the rodents, they have a minor grey matter. Therefore, in comparison to guinea pigs, hamsters are similarly tougher to teach since they have limited memory. 

Are Guinea Pigs Smarter Than Rats?

Yes, they are! Although rats do not have a lesser number of neurons as compared to guinea pigs, they are still less smart than guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are more learned, intelligent, and quick. This is what makes them smarter than all other rodents and rats.

Are Guinea Pigs Smarter Than Rabbits?

It’s a tie! The case of intelligence of guinea pigs and rabbits is kind of a “draw,” where both of them have an equal probability of being smarter than their counterpart. Although rabbit brains have more neurons than those of guinea pigs, they still do not make smarter animals than guinea pigs.

Apparently, this should have resulted in rabbits being more intelligent and smart than guinea pigs. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, go toe to toe with them. Guinea pigs have a superior memory over rabbits because a rabbit’s short-term memory lasts just a few minutes, the guinea pig’s memory is very long.

However, rabbits can be trained to do more sophisticated tricks than guinea pigs, which keeps them competitive. One may argue that rabbits are more intelligent than guinea pigs, but only to a certain degree.

Are Guinea Pigs Smarter Than Cats?

Comparing a Guinea Pig vs a Cat's intelligence

No! If there is one pet that guinea pigs are not smarter than, it’s the cat. Isn’t it obvious? Well, you can’t beat the cunning cat in smartness. Cats’ brains have more grey matter than guinea pigs which makes them far more active, learned, and smart than guinea pigs.

Additionally, they have enhanced memory, indicating that they are more intellectual than guinea pigs!

Are Guinea Pigs Smarter than Humans?

No, Guinea pigs are definitely not smarter than humans. All 5 reasons why guinea pigs are smart are not enough to support the idea of them being smarter than humans. However, human beings are smarter than any other animals on this planet.

Guinea pigs still have to rely on humans for many things. Only some of the animals in this world, such as African Elephants, have more grey matter in their brains than humans. However, even this fact does not make them capable enough to out rule the intelligence and reasoning of humans. 

Tips to Train Your Guinea Pig Smarter

The 5 reasons why guinea pigs are smart to take us to a whole different chapter – and that’s training them. Training an intelligent animal might actually be fun. We are going to discuss some of the ways that will enable guinea pigs to learn some new tricks. 

Teaching Guinea Pigs How to Stand Straight

Guinea Pig Standing Straight After Training

Guinea pigs may be trained to stand straight. Doesn’t it vouch for all 5 reasons why guinea pigs are smart? The following are some recommendations on how to train your all-so-intelligent pets:

Step 1: Hold a snack high over their heads with your palm.

Step 2: When they become aware of the snack, they will attempt to reach up and take it.

Step 3: When they achieve a straight posture, reward them with the goodie.

Step 4: Repeat with a goodie in hands to acclimate them to the gesture.

Step 5: In the same manner, hold your hand up without the goodie.

Step 6: They will know the signal and immediately get to their feet.

Instructing Your Guinea Pigs to the Art of Passing the Ball

Training Your Guinea Pigs for Ball Passing

They may pick up on your ability to pass the ball back and forth. This is how you may instruct them frankly and easily:

Step 1: Separate yourself from your guinea pig with a little ball.

Step 2: With your palm or fingers, gently move the ball toward them.

Step 3: At first, they will have no idea what you’re doing, which is just normal.

Step 4: Keep doing it until they grasp and then nudge it back to you.

Step 5: They will eventually learn to return the ball.

Step 6: Pass the ball to them often enough that they will recall the gesture.

Teach Your Guinea Pigs How to Jump Past the Hoops

Guinea pigs are so smart that they can readily learn to jump over hoops if taught properly. Let’s see how it works:

Step 1: Maintain a hoop between you and the guinea pig.

Step 2: Take a goodie in your palm.

Step 3: Convince them to jump through the hoop in order to get the reward.

Step 4: They will ultimately make their way through the hoop in search of their reward.

Step 5: Repeat this activity till they improve their speed and learn to do it faster.

Step 6: While repeating, lift the hoop slightly higher and higher.

Step 7: They will begin leaping through it in search of their treat.

Do Guinea Pigs Recognize Their Owners?

Yes, guinea pigs definitely recognize their owners. They do so with the help of your voice, gestures, the voice of your feet, or other activities. However, it is very important that you spend quality time with them so that they are able to recognize you as their owner. 

What Is the IQ of a Guinea Pig?

Guinea Pigs have no specific IQ level, however, all of the 5 reasons why guinea pigs are smart indicate that guinea pigs have a certain level of IQ that enables them to learn fast and keep them in their memory for a long time.

Although there is no certain value, you can play different games with your guinea pigs and find out the approximate IQ of your guinea pig.

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs are very smart and intelligent creatures in addition to being cute little fluffballs. Although they seem very cute and innocent, they are sharp!

They have the ability to recognize the movements and can easily trace steps. Their very sharp memory is the reason why they never forget their owner or trainer!

Surprisingly, guinea pigs are much easier to train than any other animal, such as a rat, hamster, or rabbit. This makes it one of the best pet animals. If you wish to find out more about guinea pigs, check out our blog section!


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