A Guinea Pig’s Senses: How Do They Work?
Guinea pigs are very social animals by nature. In nature they often live in large groups with one adult bear and several sows with their young. Extensive research has shown that the senses play an important role in communication between guinea pigs. The senses are much more sensitive than in humans.
The cochlea in the guinea pig’s inner ear has four semicircular canals. In mice, rats and humans, this is only 2.5. In a guinea pig there is therefore much more room for hearing cells, which means that a guinea pig has a particularly good hearing ability. Young people without hearing damage can hear sounds up to about 20,000 hertz. Guinea pigs can hear tones up to 33,000 hertz.
So never buy those devices that emit an ultrasonic sound so that the mosquitoes should stay away. There is a chance that your guinea pigs will hear this light.
The sense of smell is mainly attuned to mutual contact and sexual behavior. Males who want to mate will leave scent markings with their urine, these will play an important role in reproduction because a female will know which male to go to when she is in heat. Females, in turn, also use special scents to let you know when they don’t feel like mating.
Guinea pigs recognize each other by their smell. Young animals also recognize who their mother is in this way. When a young guinea pig is removed from the mother and only returned to her after a few weeks, this recognition has disappeared. The animal will no longer recognize its mother.
In the wild, a male marks his territory with a secretion mixed with urine. This allows other guinea pigs to smell that it is his area they have entered.
The guinea pig will also smell what food it has in front of it with its nose. He also notices exactly when you as the boss are cutting a vegetable with an enormous smell, such as bell pepper. Often times, your guinea pigs will start to squeak as soon as they smell it.
Compared to humans
Guinea pigs have a better sense of smell than humans. He is about 1,000 better than man’s! Guinea pigs absorb a lot of smells and information that we don’t even know are there. The cage of a guinea pig must therefore be cleaned very regularly. The urine smell is very irritating to the bugs
Guinea pigs have their eyes set fairly far to the side. This allows them to look forward as well as to the side without having to move their head. In the wild, this wide field of view is very important to be able to protect against enemies. They can see it coming from all sides. Guinea pigs’ depth perception is very poor, however.
It is not entirely clear whether guinea pigs see completely in color or only partially. They can at least distinguish the colors yellow, red, green and blue from each other. This is useful for food intake.
Sense of touch
Because of the tactile hairs on the side of the mouth and nose, animals can also feel in the dark whether they are about to bump into something. These touch hairs are not the same in all guinea pigs. In Rex guinea pigs these are shorter and slightly wavy. With merino’s and tessels they are long but also wavy. As a result, the orientation skills of these breeds are less good in the dark than with smooth-haired guinea pigs and shelties, for example.
Sense of taste
When guinea pigs cannot tell the difference between certain food parts, they rely on their sense of taste. It is often said that guinea pigs prefer sweet to sour. You will be able to test this on your guinea pig by feeding two different types of apples. Guinea pigs are not bothered by bitter substances at all, they find dandelion very tasty.