If you’ve ever seen your guinea pig flatten, you know how adorable they look. But what does it mean when your guinea pig flattens? It may indicate their feelings, and understanding the behavior can help you better care for your pet. So let’s examine why guinea pigs flatten and what it means.
Why do guinea pigs flatten?
Guinea pigs are crepuscular rodents, naturally more active during dawn and dusk.
As they hide from predators in the wild, these fascinating creatures flatten their bodies instinctively to help them blend in with their environments.
By flattening, guinea pigs can be slightly less conspicuous in an environment with predators looking for safe and easy prey.
This also helps protect them from the elements by providing insulation to escape cold temperatures or a close-to-the-ground form that keeps them both out of view and bound in a warm pocket of air.
An additional benefit is that this flattened form provides guinea pigs with improved stability while scurrying uneven surfaces.
What Does Flattening Mean?
Guinea pigs flatten their bodies when they feel threatened or scared, which is an instinct for them to protect themselves from predators. By reducing their body size, they can present less of a target for potential threats or danger. If a guinea pig feels safe, it will remain in its normal upright position.
This behavior is usually accompanied by other signs that indicate fear, such as thumping or squeaking.
If you notice that your guinea pig is acting fearful, try removing the source of fear (such as another animal or noise).
You should also try to provide a safe space where your guinea pig can retreat if they feel scared or threatened.
This could include hiding spots like boxes filled with hay and tunnels made from cardboard tubes or PVC pipes.
Flattening Can Indicate Affection Too
Interestingly, some guinea pigs also display flattening behavior when expressing affection towards another guinea pig or person.
This usually happens during grooming sessions when one guinea pig is licking the fur of another one.
The flattened position helps them relax and enjoy the moment since it reduces the work required for grooming by eliminating the need for back-and-forth movement.
The same thing can happen when humans pet them, too; if your guinea pig appears relaxed while lying flat on its side, this could be a sign that they are enjoying the attention and affection.
Why do guinea pigs go flat when they die?
As mysterious and strange as it may seem, there is a scientific explanation for why guinea pigs go flat when they die.
When an animal dies, their muscles relax, releasing all the built-up lactic acids they produce while breathing.
This lactic acid has the effect of causing the body to decompose, turning rigid muscles into limp ones. In addition, without any external force, the body naturally contorts itself into a horizontal position due to the most relaxed shape initiated by this process.
Guinea pigs undergo this process when they pass away, going flat as their bodies move into a lackadaisical state due to natural decomposition.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why your guinea pig might be flattening their body. It could indicate fear or anxiety due to something causing them distress in their environment; however, it could also be a sign of contentment due to bonding with another animal or person.
It’s essential to observe your pet closely so that you can determine how best to respond in any given situation. Then, with proper care and understanding of their behaviors, you can ensure your pet remains happy and healthy.