It is important to remember that guinea pigs go through heat, which is different in males and females. Like other mammals, they have dimorphic sexes, and their females give birth to live young and feed them milk from a mammary gland. They also have oestrus cycles, which are different from menstrual cycles. To avoid unwanted pregnancy or health problems, it is important to know the specifics of guinea pigs' oestrus cycles and how their reproduction works.
In this AnimalWised article, you will learn everything you need to know about the heat cycle of guinea pigs.
You may also be interested in: When Does a Dog Go Into Heat After Having Puppies?
- Guinea pigs as pets
- When do guinea pigs reach sexual maturity?
- How often are male and female guinea pigs are in heat?
- Do female guinea pigs bleed when they are in heat?
- What do female and male guinea pigs do when they are in heat?
- Breeding and sexual reprodution of guinea pigs
Guinea pigs as pets
Guinea pigs or domestic guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) are rodent species of the genus Cavia in the family Caviidae. It is still unclear how the name came about, as guinea pigs are neither native to Guinea nor biologically related to pigs. Their roots can be traced back to the Andes Mountains in South America. There is even evidence that they were domesticated for consumption in the Americas more than 2000 years ago.
The guinea pig is a social animal with short legs and a round body shape. There are many species and breeds of guinea pigs, and the color and length of their fur can vary greatly. Their average life expectancy is 8 years, and they weigh only 2 pounds (0.91 kg). Nowadays, the guinea pig has become a very popular pet due to its small size and ability to live in modern households. They are also easy to feed, as they are herbivores and eat a wide variety of fresh vegetables and different plants.
Although guinea pigs are often nervous or skittish at first, they become tame very easily with consistent, gentle handling. Guinea pigs are solitary animals and should not be left alone; they are happiest in pairs. If you want to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, make sure both animals are the same sex.
If you want to know more about guinea pigs, then keep reading our article on hair types and colors of guinea pigs.
When do guinea pigs reach sexual maturity?
Guinea pigs reach sexual maturity at about 3 to 4 months of age. If young males and females are housed together, they should be separated at this age, or they may breed.
The most important thing to know about breeding guinea pigs is that females must give birth before they are seven or eight months old. The pelvic bones of female guinea pigs are more firmly fused together after eight months of age, and if they have not had a litter by then, giving birth becomes more difficult. In most cases, an emergency cesarean section is then required. Normally, a sow gives birth to 2 to 4 young that are fully developed. These large young have difficulty passing through the pelvic canal unless the mother's pelvic bones are still relatively immature and deformable.
How often are male and female guinea pigs are in heat?
In guinea pigs, the oestrus cycle differs between males and females in terms of frequency and length, among other factors. We describe how the oestrus cycle of the two sexes behaves.
Heat cycle in female guinea pigs:
Once the female reaches sexual maturity, she goes into heat once every 15 days. The estrus lasts between 24 and 48 hours, that is, it is polyestrous. During this phase of the cycle, the female is ready to mate for a few hours, usually between 6 and 11 hours, and it usually happens at night.
After pregnancy and parturition, females enter a state known as postpartum oestrus, which lasts about half a day. If there is not a single dominant male, all nearby males will attempt to mate with her, and she may become pregnant again.
Mating season of male guinea pigs
The male, for his part, has no cycle with respect to mating. It is polygamous, that is, it can mount all females at any time when they are in heat. Male guinea pigs become aggressive and dominant when a pregnant female is around to protect and mate.
Do female guinea pigs bleed when they are in heat?
Many mammalian organs are technically the same, so it would be logical for them to function the same. However, oestrus cycles differ from species to species. Guinea pigs do not bleed during oestrus or pregnancy. If you notice bleeding in guinea pigs, take your pet to the veterinarian to determine the cause of the bleeding. The sooner you address the problem, the better.
If you notice that your guinea pig is not behaving as usual, and you suspect it might be ill, then keep reading this article on what to do if your guinea pig is shaking and trembling.
What do female and male guinea pigs do when they are in heat?
After learning how often guinea pigs go into heat, it is important to understand what happens to them when they go into heat because males and females react differently.
Behavior of a female guinea pig in heat
As a result of being in heat, females become more clingy and cuddly, constantly clinging to their mate or other guinea pigs. Some even try to mate with other females when there are no males around. You can also tell when your female guinea pig is ready to mate by the way her spine curves down and her back is elevated.
Behavior of a male guinea pig in heat
Unlike females, males can mate at any time and show no signs of being in heat. However, it is possible to observe markedly aggressive behavior when they notice a female is in heat. If there are several males in a group, they will fight over who gets to mount the female as part of the courtship ritual.
If your male guinea pig becomes aggressive, keep reading this article on how to stop my guinea pig from biting me.
Breeding and sexual reprodution of guinea pigs
The high number of abandoned guinea pigs in shelters and overpopulation make it irresponsible to breed guinea pigs at home. In addition, as we have already explained, unwanted pregnancy can lead to serious health problems or even death.
If the female has given birth and is caring for her babies, keep the male away. Some males seem indifferent to the kittens, while others may become aggressive and even attack them. Also, remember that the female can become pregnant again.
Pet guinea pigs can be neutered by a veterinarian experienced in handling small animals, but the procedure is difficult and can be expensive. Neutering a male guinea pig is generally easier than neutering a female. As a rule, guinea pigs do not respond well to anesthesia, surgery, or being housed in an unfamiliar environment. Therefore, keeping male and female guinea pigs separate is the best, easiest, and least expensive way to prevent reproduction.
If you want to know more about guinea pig's pregnancy, then do not miss our article on how to take care of a pregnant guinea pig.
If you want to read similar articles to Do Guinea Pigs Go Into Heat?, we recommend you visit our Heat category.
Do guinea pigs go into heat and bleed? ›
Although they may have the same body parts as humans, dogs, and other species that bleed during their estrus cycles, bleeding during heat is not normal for guinea pigs. Therefore, if a female guinea pig is bleeding, she needs to see an exotics vet as soon as possible.Do guinea pigs have to be in heat to mate? ›
Female guinea pigs reach sexual maturity as early as 2 months of age and can reproduce until they're about 5 years old. Typically, the heat cycle lasts between 14 and 19 days, so a female can go in and out of heat every two or three weeks. During that time, there's about a half a day when she is receptive to breeding.Do guinea pigs go into heat? ›
The guinea pig's heat cycle lasts 16 days. The period during which the female is receptive to the male and will allow breeding lasts about 8 hours. Female guinea pigs can come back into heat 15 hours after giving birth.Do guinea pigs have a mating season? ›
Females can have estrous or fertile periods at any time of the year, but they are most common in the spring. The estrous cycle length is 16 days. A female is fertile for about 6 to 11 hours, most often during night hours. Female guinea pigs begin a new estrous cycle shortly after giving birth.What age do guinea pigs start heat? ›
Guinea pigs reach sexual maturity at around 3-4 months of age. If young males and females are housed together, they should be separated by this age, otherwise they are likely to breed.How long are guinea pigs pregnant? ›
The guinea pig pregnancy duration is long – approximately 59- 72 days (the average is 65 days) – the duration decreases with litter size (i.e. the smaller the litter, the longer the pregnancy). The mean length of pregnancy for a litter of 1 guinea pig is 70 days; for a litter of 6 guinea pigs its 67 days.Do guinea pigs get stuck together? ›
This is where the problems lie when we have female bred too late, as the hip bone will have fused together meaning it doesn't allow flexibility in their narrow birth canal when they are in labour. As a result of this rigidity of the pelvis, the little baby guinea pigs get stuck!How soon can a male guinea pig get a female pregnant? ›
Male guinea pigs (boars) are sexually mature and able to mate at around 2-3 months; it's 2 months (55-70 days) for sows but can be earlier for both. Neutering males is necessary to avoid pregnancies in opposite sex pairs – contact us about neutering.What happens if you put a male and female guinea pig together? ›
Pairings of male and female guinea pigs can also work well - just make sure they are neutered to prevent any unwanted litters! Sometimes, a mixed sex group (males with females) will get on better than single sex groups- but this depends more on their individual personalities than if they're male or female.How do I stop my guinea pigs from mating? ›
Neutering of males: Whatever the grouping, male guinea pigs should always be neutered. This prevents uncontrolled breeding, as well as aggression caused by a build-up of sexual tension. Age: It is important that the guinea pigs are of a similar age, as this will help to determine their activity levels.
How do you know when guinea pigs are mating? ›
When a female guinea pig is placed with a male he begins to follow and/or circle her almost immediately, usually sniffing at the anogenital region. This behavior is called “nuzzling.” Within a few seconds he may mount her, usually posteriorly but often elsewhere.Do guinea pigs mate for life? ›
They are social, living in the wild in small groups which consist of sows (females), a boar (male), and the young. Mated for life: Unlike similar rodents, Guinea pigs mate for life in the same pair bond. Domesticated Guinea pigs thrive in groups of two or more.Do guinea pigs get pregnant easily? ›
Like most small rodents, guinea pig reproduction is rapid and ongoing when left unchecked. However, pregnancy in guinea pigs is not without concerns. This is a medical condition that should be diagnosed and monitored with care to ensure that both the mother and the litter are healthy.Do guinea pigs purr when mating? ›
A short purr, sometimes described as a "durr," may indicate fear or uncertainty, usually accompanied by the guinea pig remaining motionless. Rumbling: A guinea pig rumble is deeper than a purring noise. It is made when a male romances a female and sometimes females in season also make it.Can a 4 week old guinea pig get pregnant? ›
Female guinea pigs can be sexually mature as early as 4 weeks of age. Given the early ages at which some males and females are sexually mature (females have reportedly been impregnated by 24 day old males), it is advised to remove the male young by 3 weeks at the latest.Why is my guinea pig peeing blood? ›
Blood in the urine may be due to an infection or urinary stones in the bladder or kidneys. If there is any concern, I recommend an examination and collecting a urine sample for testing to see if there is blood present. Hairloss on the face can also be from several causes such as trauma, parasites, or infection.Why are my two female guinea pigs fighting? ›
Usually, fights break out because the cage is not big enough, they have been paired incorrectly, a guinea pig is sick or injured, or they are bored. You can prevent your guinea pigs from fighting by making sure their cage is big enough, and they have lots of things to keep them busy.What does a guinea pig period look like? ›
Female guinea pigs have estrous cycles in which they go into heat several times a year for several days, with different stages. However, they don't experience bleeding or periods as in a menstrual cycle. While they are in heat, they are fertile and go through spontaneous ovulation.Can you touch guinea pig babies? ›
They will be feeling a bit tender and very protective of their babies after the birth, so it's best to leave them alone for a month afterwards too. Baby guinea pigs should not be held at all for at least one week after birth, and must always be handled very gently.What is the longest guinea pig pregnancy? ›
Guinea pigs eat more when they're pregnant. They should be kept in tranquil surroundings and fed plenty of vegetables. Their gestational period may last between 59 – 72 days.
How long is a guinea pig life span? ›
Guinea pigs live an average of five to seven years. This lifespan is longer than many other small pets such as hamsters, gerbils, mice or rats, all of whom only live up to a few years.What does it mean when a guinea pig nudges you? ›
Guinea pigs will also nudge human companions and conspecifics if they are bored, in play, and as a show of dominance. Nose touching—A greeting gesture, usually made between familiar cavies, similar to a handshake in humans or sniffing in dogs.What happens if you hold a guinea pig too much? ›
It is recommended to hold your pet for maximum of 10-15 minutes at a time, as it naturally needs to go to the bathroom: If held for too long, your pet will let you know if it wants to get back to its home (it becomes restless, starts whining and nibbling your clothes) It is normal for a guinea pig to poop on you.Why do guinea pigs get on top of each other? ›
The mounting is not sexual in nature but simply means that the mounting guinea pig is going to be the dominate guinea pig in the relationship. Or literally that guinea pig is communicating, “I am going to be the top guinea pig.”Can a male guinea pig live with a pregnant female? ›
A female guinea pig can become pregnant very quickly from about three to four weeks of age so they should be kept separate from males (unless they are neutered).Do guinea pigs bleed before giving birth? ›
Normal labor should be short and sweet. The whole process from first contraction to last baby can be as short as 15 minutes, and up to 40 minutes depending on how many babies she has. There should be little or no blood, especially before any babies have been produced.Will a male guinea pig mate with its mother? ›
Not only can male siblings mate with their siblings, the males can even do so with their mothers. Prevent breeding from occurring by putting guinea pigs in separate "male" and "female" designated enclosures. Always keep an eye on guinea pigs living together to make sure they're getting along well.
Good combinations for guinea pigs include a neutered male and one or more females, two females or neutered brothers (if they've been reared together).Can two male guinea pigs Bond? ›
As a rule, two male guinea pigs will get along just fine if there are no females about, but some animals are more social than others.Will a male guinea mate with more than one female? ›
When guineas are kept in close confinement, one male may be mated with six to eight females. Guineas usually start laying in March or April and may continue to lay until October. A hen from a carefully managed flock may lay 100 or more eggs a year.
What is Rumblestrutting? ›
Body Language. Sometimes guinea pigs do a little “dance” called rumblestrutting. You may have seen this when your guinea pig looks like he/she is almost vibrating, or rumbling, in both the sound they make and in their body language around another piggie.Why does my guinea pig lay flat when I pet her? ›
When a guinea pig lies down and stretches its body out, it is feeling very safe and relaxed.How can you tell if a guinea is pregnant? ›
How will I know if my guinea pig is pregnant? Pregnant sows (females) exhibit a grossly enlarged abdomen during the latter stages of pregnancy. It is not uncommon for their body weight to double during pregnancy.How can you tell if a guinea pig is in heat? ›
Rumbling. Not to be confused with purring, rumbling is a vocalization guinea pigs make when they're in heat or ready to breed. Most of the time, it's the males that emit this sound to get a special lady's attention. With that being said, some females rumble when love is in the air as well.What sounds do guinea pigs make when mating? ›
Rumbling or rumble strutting is a sound that Guinea Pigs will make as part of their mating ritual.Can guinea pigs be in love? ›
The look of love is in their (eyes) wheeks, squeaks and behaviour! Guinea pigs are good at communicating their feelings, when you know what to look out for. They use all sorts of sounds and actions to convey how they feel.What age are guinea pigs infertile? ›
A female guinea pig is fertile until she is around three years old.Do guinea pigs show love? ›
you a lick. This is a method guinea pig showing affection and trust. To them, licking is like a small guinea pig kiss! When they lick themselves or their fellow guinea pig companions, they are grooming their fur and providing comfort.Why is there blood coming out of my guinea pig? ›
Unfortunately, noticeable bleeding is never normal in guinea pigs and is typically not part of their natural cycle. Other causes such as bladder or other urinary stones, infections, or other abnormalities may be causing those signs that you're seeing.Why is my female guinea pig bleeding from her bottom? ›
Alternatively, if you have a female guinea pig that has not been spayed (neutered), the blood could be originating from her reproductive tract. Guinea pigs do not bleed from their reproductive tracts normally, like some other animals, so this is abnormal. In either case, let your vet know immediately.
How can I tell if my female guinea pig is in heat? ›
Rumbling. Not to be confused with purring, rumbling is a vocalization guinea pigs make when they're in heat or ready to breed. Most of the time, it's the males that emit this sound to get a special lady's attention. With that being said, some females rumble when love is in the air as well.What are the signs of a female guinea pig in heat? ›
As a result of being in heat, females become more clingy and cuddly, constantly clinging to their mate or other guinea pigs. Some even try to mate with other females when there are no males around. You can also tell when your female guinea pig is ready to mate by the way her spine curves down and her back is elevated.What is the white stuff coming out of my female guinea pig? ›
Guinea pigs expel excess calcium in their urine. These milky white calcium secretions are what you may see on your guinea pig's fleece liner or pee pad. Tara explains: “White powdery spots on your piggy's fleece are nothing to be concerned about.Do guinea pigs have feelings? ›
Guinea pigs are very sensitive creatures and respond to both their owner's and herds emotions. Guinea pigs are known for being emotionally intelligent which shows how clever these animals are. In the wild, guinea pigs can sense emotions and will stay in tune with the rest of the herd.Is guinea pig pee harmful? ›
Guinea pig pee isn't particularly dangerous to humans. However, all pee can contain germs so we don't recommend getting too close to any urine or faeces if you can avoid it. The best way to do this is by cleaning regularly, wearing gloves and using products to remove bacteria.Should you clean guinea pigs bottoms? ›
The need for cleaning varies by guinea pig. If you have a guinea pig who experiences matting or odor in this area, check it regularly and consider doing butt baths or gently cleaning the gland with a cotton swab soaked in a cleaning agent.How often do female guinea pigs have periods? ›
Female Guinea Pig Estrous Cycle
They usually have estrous 3 to 4 times a year. Their estrous cycle lasts about 16 days. It is also known as a period of going into heat, though there is no period or bleeding as with a menstrual cycle, and it occurs spontaneously rather than regularly.
Rumbling is similar to purring but sounds much deeper. The rumble is used by male guinea pigs to get the attention of female piggies, whilst females will rumble to signal to males that they are ready to mate.What are the mating signs of guinea pigs? ›
When a female guinea pig is placed with a male he begins to follow and/or circle her almost immediately, usually sniffing at the anogenital region. This behavior is called “nuzzling.” Within a few seconds he may mount her, usually posteriorly but often elsewhere.What age do guinea pigs start mating? ›
Male guinea pigs (boars) are sexually mature and able to mate at around 2-3 months; it's 2 months (55-70 days) for sows but can be earlier for both.
How can you tell if a female Guinea is pregnant? ›
If your guinea pig allows you to touch her, use your fingers to gently examine her sides and stomach. Avoid putting any pressure on her body. If you feel lumps under your fingers this is a sign the female is pregnant. If you feel movement in addition to lumpiness, that's a clear sign she is pregnant.