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Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Poop? (And Is It Healthy For Them?)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: October 2, 2021

Do guinea pigs eat their poop?

Although eating own poop sounds yuck, this behavior is normal for many species.

Indeed, guinea pigs eat their own poop.

Read our article to find out why these small animals do that!

What Should You Know About Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pigs are popular pets that require attention and care.

Guinea pigs originate from the Andes, a region of South America.

There are various theories regarding the name of guinea pigs.

One of them is, guinea pigs were bought by Spanish explorers in the 1500s and brought through the way of Guinea in Africa.

However, a group of people thought that they came from the way of Guinea and therefore they are known as guinea pigs.

The male guinea pigs are known as boars, whether the female guinea pigs are known as sows.

The guinea pigs are also known as “cavy”.

So, a question arises, why are guinea pigs known as cavy?

The guinea pigs are also known as cavy, because of their scientific name.

The scientific name of guinea pigs is Cavia Porcellus, however, this is a reason behind the word cavy.

That’s why sometimes they are known as cavies.

While another word like Porcellus is considered a Latin word and provides the meaning of little pigs.

The guinea pigs make pig-like squeaking noises and further, they do not have any tail behind them like pigs and have a short, robust, and piggish appearance, however, this is a reason behind their scientific name.

Furthermore, they are considered rodents.

Various animals come under the umbrella of rodents such as rats, mice, squirrels, hamsters, and porcupines, etc.

Physical and behavioral characteristics of guinea pigs

A few noteworthy characteristics and facts of guinea pigs have been discussed below:

Guinea pigs are social animals

They are known as very social animals, who love the company of others, even human beings.

They can communicate with others by using several noises.

The first way to communicate is to make a noise like a wheek-wheek call and this noise is considered as a sign of excitement and also a way to search for friends to gossip with them.

The second way to communicate is to make a noise like a purring call, and this type of noise is made when they have feelings related to being very happy and chilled out.

Another way in which they communicate is by making a noise like a putt-putt call, and this noise is made when they are in the mood of exploring.

Guinea pigs can run at an early age

Guinea pigs can run immediately after birth.

They can run within a few hours after their birth as they can run when they are just 3 hours old.

Ability to hear the sounds by guinea pigs

The hearing ability of guinea pigs is considered very good.

According to scientific facts, they can hear sounds in the range of 40,000 Hz to 50,000 Hz.

Furthermore, they also can hear the ultrasonic sound.

The popularity of guinea pigs

Queen Elizabeth I of England also owned a guinea pig and therefore, guinea pigs got the highest popularity all over the world and people started to own the guinea pigs at their homes and farms as well.

Guinea pigs are allergic to the antibiotic penicillin

According to scientific facts, guinea pigs are considered allergic to antibiotic penicillin.

Therefore, other animals such as rats, mice, and rabbits are used for penicillin test purposes in biological experiments instead of guinea pigs.

The lifespan of guinea pigs

When we talk about the life of guinea pigs, they can live up to 10 years.

In most of the cases, they live between 7 years and 9 years.

But, there was a guinea pig named Snowball, who lived 14 years and 10 months and is known as the oldest guinea pig.

There is only one pig who lived for 15 years, however, this is considered as a record and mentioned in a Guinness book of world record as the oldest guinea pig.

If the owners of guinea pigs provide the right food consisting of nutrition, good accommodation, as well as care and kindness then guinea pigs can live maximum years of their life.

Types of guinea pigs

When we talk about the types of guinea pigs, there are basically three key types of guinea pigs, and this identification is based on the types of their hair.

The American or English guinea pigs

The American guinea pigs (English guinea pigs) have short and smooth hair on their bodies.

This makes the maintenance of this type of guinea pig simple and easy as well.

Further, it does not require grooming-related activity in detail.

The Abyssinian guinea pigs

The second type of guinea pig is known as the Abyssinian guinea pig.

They have hair as thin as twirls in rosettes.

Peruvian guinea pigs

Peruvian guinea pigs have straight, long and silky hair.

The long hair makes the maintenance of this type of guinea pigs a bit difficult and complex, as the owners have to take care of their hair and it requires grooming-related activity as well.

Guinea pigs require supplements of vitamin C

According to scientific facts, vitamin C is considered necessary for each living being for a healthy life.

However, all human beings have the ability to make and store vitamin C, but unlike human beings, guinea pigs do not have such ability to make and store vitamin C themselves.

For this purpose, they need a supplement of vitamin C.

Therefore, good quality grass-based foods, small leafy greens, high-quality hay, and gnaw sticks should be provided to guinea pigs because these foods have high fiber and vitamin C as well as are rich in nutrients.

Furthermore, the stated foods are considered as best to ensure that guinea pigs are getting everything that they need.

Also, the stated foods help to make the digestive system as good as well as high-quality hay provides help to grow the teeth concerning the right length.

On the other hand, muesli foods should not be given to guinea pigs as these foods may cause various problems regarding digestive problems as well as dental diseases.

Teeth of guinea pigs

At birth, guinea pigs have teeth in their mouth and the growing process does not stop throughout life.

The teeth of guinea pigs constantly grow till the death of guinea pigs.

Sleep time of guinea pigs

Guinea pigs do not have any need to sleep for a long time throughout the day and night.

However, they prefer to sleep only for short periods as short naps and have the ability to stay awake for up to 20 hours a day.

It means, they sleep only up to 4 hours a day to fulfill their sleep needs.

Therefore, they want constant access to food and water so that they can wake up throughout the whole day and night.

Guinea pigs are a fast learner

Guinea pigs are considered fast learners, however, owners can train them as per their needs and requirements.

Guinea pigs are considered as effective in diseases

According to the latest study published by the United States, autism exists in 1 child out of 54 in a day.

As per the latest research study, if any child is suffering from the disease of autism then he or she should take ownership of guinea pigs.

Because, when autism suffered child interacts with guinea pigs then, the stress rate of the patient decreases.

Furthermore, if autism exists in adults, then guinea pigs also provide help to provide care for adults.

Then, guinea pigs act as a social buffer.

They reduce the stress rate of autism patients as well as provide help to recover from autism disease.

A fact about guinea pigs eyes

As per facts, guinea pigs open their eyes in their mother’s womb.

The process of opening the eyes in the mother’s womb is scheduled 14 days before birth, here are some other facts about them.

Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Poop?

Here a question arises that do guinea pigs eat their poop?

The answer is yes, guinea pigs eat their poop.

Same as habits, the guinea pigs also eat their dropping.

So, if you have guinea pigs and they eat their dropping, then you don’t need to worry regarding it.

Because of this, this process is considered a healthy behavior in the life cycle of guinea pigs.

Types of poop

There are two types of poop, produced by guinea pigs.

The first one is normal poop and the second is cecotropes poop or c-poop.

Although various people are confused regarding the poop as both types of poos come from the same spot, how we can differentiate between the normal poop and cecotropes.

The first one, normal poop is considered as harder and it is available all over the cage.

Further, the color of normal poop is black and doesn’t have any smell.

The second, cecotropes poop (c-poop) is considered softer than the normal poop and it is available around the cage.

Further, the color of cecotropes is yellow and has a look like mucus along guinea pigs smells a lot to cecotropes.

However, guinea pigs eat only cecotropes (softer poop).

Why Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Poop?

Now, another question arises: why do they eat their cecotropes or c-poop?

There are several benefits for guinea pigs when they eat cecotropes.

For example, the eating of cecotropes is very useful for the adult guinea pigs who eat grass and plants and they have a lot of nutrients.

However, guinea pigs can’t absorb all nutrients and fiber from the plant and grass at once.

So, they eat their poop again to absorb the complete nutrients available in the grass and plants.

In other words, it helps to absorb the extra nutrients from the body.

Also, the eating of cecotropes is very useful for the young ones such as it acts as a starter and helps a lot when young guinea pigs switch from their mother’s milk to solid and hard foods.


The whole process of producing cecotropes and then eating them again to absorb the extra nutrients and fiber is known as guinea pig coprophagy.

Those guinea pigs that don’t eat their cecotropes and try to prevent it, then it might be possible that they suffer from malnutrition, which ultimately leads to their death.

Now, numerous questions arise: is it a normal activity to eat cecotropes or c-poop for a guinea pig?

Do all the guinea pigs eat their cecotropes or are there some guinea pigs that don’t eat cecotropes?

What are the benefits of eating cecotropes for guinea pigs?

How do guinea pigs eat their cecotropes?

In the end, what does it consider when guinea pigs don’t eat their cecotropes?

Is It Normal For Guinea Pigs To Eat Their Poop?

Yes, it is a completely normal and natural activity for guinea pigs to eat their cecotropes.

They eat to get necessary fiber and vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin K.

It’s seen in a real-time scenario, if one of the guinea pigs is ill then they want cecotropes and want to eat them.

Some of the studies claim that cecotropes of healthy guinea pigs can recover those guinea pigs, who are facing serious health diseases.

Do all Guinea Pigs Eat Their Poop?

Yes, the majority of guinea pigs eat their cecotropes because they need fiber and vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin K.

Some guinea pigs don’t eat their cecotropes.

When guinea pigs don’t eat their cecotropes, it means they are suffering from serious health diseases and malnutrition.

Are There Benefits of Eating Poop for Guinea Pigs?

The foremost advantage of cecotropes is that it provides essential nutrients.

For example, it’s rich in terms of vitamin B and vitamin K as well.

Further, it also has some proteins and nutrients that provide the capability to reabsorb extra nutrients from the body of guinea pigs.

The second advantage of cecotropes is that they can improve the digestive system of guinea pigs.

It’s considered rich in terms of fiber and fiber provides a lot of help to improve the digestive system of guinea pigs.

How Often Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Poop?

Guinea pigs eat their cecotropes very frequently and they gulp it down as soon as it comes out.

So, whenever you see any guinea pigs chewing after cleaning their back, then it means they are eating their cecotropes.

What if Guinea Pigs Don’t Eat Their Poop?

There are some situations when guinea pigs are unable to take, eat and consume the cecotropes.

Especially when guinea pigs become older, their muscle tone loses then they become unable to eat as well as consume cecotropes.

So, this is not a normal situation, it’s very alarming and should be taken as an emergency.

If such a situation arises, the owner of guinea pigs must look up to their respective doctor and must rush to a vet on an immediate basis.

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs have a lot of characteristics related to physical and behavioral characteristics.

When we talk about the poop of guinea pigs, there are two types of poop; normal poop and cecotropes.

The difference between normal poop and cecotropes is that normal poop is considered as harder and exists in black color, whether cecotropes are considered softer and exist in yellow color.

The cecotropes have various benefits regarding the healthy life of guinea pigs.

The cecotropes provide the ability to improve the digestive system of guinea pigs as well as provide essential vitamins such as vitamin B and vitamin K.

Besides, guinea pigs eat plants and grass, however, cecotropes provide help to consume all nutrition that exists in plant-like food.

So, yes the guinea pigs can eat their poop, and it is completely healthy for them.


Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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