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Do Guinea Pigs Understand Mirrors?

Do Guinea Pigs Understand Mirrors?

Place a mirror in front of your guinea pigs and they will respond. It depends on your guinea pig’s state of mind that how they will react. But why do they respond? Do guinea pigs understand mirrors? Or do they look at it as a threat?

Guinea pigs are not able to recognize themselves in mirrors. They believe that there is another guinea pig in their enclosure. They react by showing aggression or by running away, depending on their state of mind.

Some guinea pigs respond by attacking their reflection, some react by staring for hours.

Mirrors are a great addition in the cage, especially for a solo guinea pig. It can alleviate short-term loneliness.

Although a mirror cannot replace a real companion for a guinea pig. It definitely will help for a few days.

Do guinea pigs like mirrors?

A guinea pig reaction to a mirror depends on their state of mind. Guinea pigs don’t recognize themselves in the mirror. They think that there is another guinea pig.

A mirror can be helpful for a single guinea pig as it can work to overcome the short time loneliness of your guinea pig.

Single female guinea pig feels happier as they like to live in a company.

You can observe your guinea pig by letting them free to walk into your house, placing mirrors. If they seem to be happy with the reflection, you can place a mirror in their cage.

However, a mirror can never replace a real companion. As mirrors won’t groom them back or respond to their action, your guinea pigs will soon realize the reality and treat it just like other toys.

Are guinea pigs afraid of mirrors?

It depends on the state of mind of your guinea pigs. Your guinea pig can react in different ways.

They can get shocked or be frightened by seeing a reflection and thinking there is another guinea pig.

Guinea Pigs Understand Mirrors
Picture Credits: funtik, Instagram Handle: funtik.svin

Some guinea pigs can respond aggressively or can run away. They sometimes use to see their reflection for hours, which looks like they have been hypnotized.

Can guinea pigs recognize themselves in the mirror?

No guinea pigs are not able to recognize themselves in the mirror as they don’t know anything about reflection.

They think that there is some other guinea pig in front of them. They can react aggressively or by curiosity depends on their state of mind.

However, with time they learn that it is just a toy and lose interest of the same.

Can guinea pigs have mirror in their cage?

Yes, it is an excellent decision to place a mirror inside your guinea pigs cage.

Single guinea pigs are happier with mirrors as they like to live in the company.

A mirror shows their reflection in which guinea pig thinks that there is another guinea pig. That helps the guinea pig to overcome from the short time loneliness. 

There are some factors you should be concern about when placing a mirror inside the guinea pig cage. 

  1. Make sure that the mirror is not cracked or broken. If it is broken or cracked, remove it.
  2. Regularly clean the mirror.
  3. If your guinea pig is having any problem with a mirror, remove it.
  4. Never leave a loose mirror in a guinea pig cage.
  5. Removing and replacing the mirror will keep your guinea pig interest for a longer period.

Guinea pigs fight their own mirror reflection

A guinea pig may react aggressively to a mirror as they can see an intruder in their territory.

There are some signs from which you can recognize the dominance of your guinea pig. Some common signs of aggression in guinea pigs are:

  1. Teeth chattering and rumbling
  2. Snorting followed by stressed squeaking & loud teeth chattering
  3. Raising the chin high
  4. Wiggling their bottom
  5. Chasing and mounting behavior
  6. Nipping and biting.

There are some reasons for guinea pigs fighting their mirror reflection.

  • Food can be the reason, as a single guinea pig will not be fond of sharing food.
  • They can also get shocked by seeing other guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs are always alert. When they see a reflection out of nowhere it can alarm them. This cam result in a fight-or-flight response.

Prevent your guinea pig from reacting aggressively as it can result in the breaking of a mirror.

That can also be stressful for your guinea pig. Remove the mirror from your guinea pig cage if they show aggression all the time. 

Guinea pigs run away from the mirror

guinea pig running away and hiding

Your guinea pig running away from the mirror shows the sign of fear.

A guinea pig can be in despair after thinking that the other guinea pig is now there in their territory. A nervous guinea pig runs away from the mirror in such cases.

You should remove the mirror if your guinea pig ran away from the mirror.

Your guinea will always feel unsafe also if they stop running away from the mirror after some time.

If your guinea pig bows before the mirror. That means that your guinea pig is informing the other guinea pig that they are not a threat.

Guinea pigs will never understand the reflection of a mirror.

Only they can know with the time is the other guinea pig will not hurt them.

But you should remove the mirror as they will feel unsafe every moment. It will lead to your guinea pig having stress.

Guinea pigs stare at mirrors for hours

Guinea pig gets enchanted by the new arrival in their cage as the new arrival does the same thing which your guinea pig does.

Like if your guinea pig jumps the new guinea pig jumps if your guinea pig attacks the new guinea pig attacks. 

A guinea pig can also be aggressive by this following nature. They can feel a threat and will react. 

Loneliness can also be a reason if you have a single guinea pig. Guinea pigs are not happy alone. Having a company is essential for your guinea pig.

Some signs of loneliness in your guinea pigs include 

  1. Nipping and bitting you for attention.
  2. Following you every time.
  3. Doing things like destroying furniture.
  4. Depression.

It would be best if you adopted a second guinea pig in such cases.

Loneliness can be a reason for depression and stress. Stress can lead to heart problems.

Guinea pig ignores its mirror

Not all guinea pigs are interested in mirrors. Guinea pigs will ignore the mirror if they don’t want to interact with the other guinea pig. That is very common in older guinea pigs.

That can also be a sign that now your guinea pig is tired of mirrors as they get tired from any stuff quickly.

Guinea pigs don’t understand the reflection. They think that there is another guinea pig. Repetition of the action can also make your guinea pig tired.

A reflection of the guinea pig doesn’t produce any smell. Due to the lack of sensory impact also becomes a reason for ignoring a mirror.

Using different shapes of mirrors, adding, and removing them from a cage in a conventional way can help to keep mirrors interesting for your guinea pig. It will work temporarily.


From all the information above, we came to know that guinea pigs do react to mirrors. How they will respond depends on their state of mind. They can get aggressive.

They can react, showing curiosity, or they can run away. Mirrors can help overcome the short time loneliness for a single guinea pig.

If your guinea pig runs away, then remove the mirror from their cage. Your guinea pig will never feel safe in such a case.

Being scared of the other guinea pig, your guinea pig can have stress. Stress can lead to various heart problems. Sudden death is also possible in such cases.


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