5 Simple Reasons Guinea Pigs Yawn (Explained Here)

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Have you ever noticed your guinea pigs yawn and wondered why they did it? I mean, it’s not like you were telling it how your day went (okay, shade, I know, I’m sorry). But maybe you’re wondering if your guinea pig is bored or tired of trying to relax?

Typically, guinea pigs yawn because they’re either stressed out, they’re exhausted or very relaxed. Sometimes guinea pigs yawn because they want to prove their dominance, or they’re irritated about something or angry with someone.

A yawning guinea pig is a perfectly natural behavior and something you shouldn’t worry about. I mean, we all yawn, right? Nonetheless, this article will explicitly expand on the reasons stated above and more.

So grab a cup of coffee or even your guinea pig (to pet as you read), and enjoy.

1. Very Tired

Yawning is a perfectly natural bodily response – we all yawn, especially after a long day of work or when we’re tired.

And just like us humans, guinea pigs yawn when they get tired and are incredibly fatigued.

It’s not difficult to spot if they’re tired because your fur baby will typically lay down after yawning to rest. (Think of a furry, flat pancake).

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If you see your guinea pig yawning and then laying down, give your little friend some space and let it have a little snooze.

Also, you’ll notice your little friends yawning and laying down in the open more frequently once they’ve gotten used to their environment – and trust you a lot more.

You’ll see them yawn, drift off for a bit, and then go about their business for the rest of the day – energized and refreshed (piggies only sleep for a few minutes at a time, you know).

2. Irritated

When angry or agitated, your little friend will express itself with a yawn – a furious-looking yawn. The yawn is typically directed at other piggies that it doesn’t get along with very well or that are invading its personal space.

A yawn like this is a way of communicating and trying to scare off the other guinea pigs (yep, they can be pretty territorial…AND cranky).

When your guinea is with its cage mates, it might yawn in anger (showing teeth) if one of them gets too close or bothers it.

This is a method of communication: your fur baby is saying, “Get out of my face.”

Wanna Give Your Piggies
the 5 STAR Treatment?

Stop getting dirty looks from your piggies, because you forgot to do something for them...AGAIN. These colorful, chore charts will help you keep track of when to feed your fuzz butts, clean their cages, and much more. 


3. Very Relaxed

An excellent way to tell that a guinea pig is feeling relaxed is by a huge yawn. If you don’t see any signs of stress (and they’re quiet), you can tell your pig is happy and content.

If comfortable enough, your little friend will lie flat like a fuzzy pancake on its side or even on its back.

A relaxed yawn could also indicate that they’re at ease among many other guinea pigs and you – there won’t be any signs of stress and violence.

Also, if you want super chill and zen guinea pigs, make sure:

Another tip is to spend lots of time with your little friends, so that they get used to you. That way, when you do want to hold your little friends, they won’t be as skittish.

Don’t leave your guinea pigs in their cages all the time. If you do, they’re more likely to get stressed out and scared when you do try to hold or play with them.

a guinea pig yawn infographic (tells the reasons why they do it)

4. About To Fight

When a guinea pig wants to assert or prove dominance over another guinea pig, it will yawn. This is a way of showing another submissive piggie that they’re in charge.

You’re probably wondering what the correlation is with yawning.

They do this – yawning – to reveal their teeth (with a hint of hostility) in an attempt to prove dominance. You need to also look for:

  • teeth chattering
  • raised hackles
  • fluffed up to appear larger
  • lunging at the other piggie

If you see any of these signs in addition to the yawning, then there’s about to be a fight.

Yawning with teeth is typically the one of the last things you’ll notice before a fight breaks out between your fur babies.

And just because your piggies are adorable, doesn’t mean they can’t get into some serious arguments (or all-out brawls).

Guinea pigs can injure or even kill one another.

So, if you notice your guinea pigs yawning at each other with their teeth showing, it’s best to separate them before a fight starts – especially if you want to avoid bloodshed.

5. Afraid or Stressed Out

When a guinea pig is scared or feels threatened, it might yawn. A stressed yawn looks different than a relaxed yawn – the mouth is open wide (showing teeth) and the body is tense.

This is pretty similar to the dominance yawn, but normally it’s a reaction to being bullied by another guinea pig or feeling unsafe for some other reason.

This type of yawn is more of a defensive reflex. Your fur baby feels backed into a corner – and then prepares itself to attack. But, it’s a way of warning other guinea pigs (or you) to back off before anything happens.

You really need to look at the context of the situation to decipher whether your fur baby is yawning because it’s tired or because it feels threatened.

Other signs of stress and fear (besides yawning) include:

  • Hiding
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Huddling in a corner

When your guinea pigs are calm and have gotten to know you, they’ll stop yawning as much. This is because they feel safe and comfortable around you.

A few tips to de-stress your guinea pig and to make sure that you’re providing an environment where your piggies can get along well include:

  • Make sure their enclosure has everything they need. I’m talking bedding, water, food – even a tiny house or a tunnel for them to play and explore in.
  • Only use hideys that have multiple exits. That way no guinea pig gets trapped in a place where another guinea pig can corner it.
  • Add more than one food dish and water bottle to their enclosure. That way, each guinea pig can eat and drink in peace without having to worry about the other piggies taking its food.
  • Don’t place the cage in a noisy area.
  • Be patient, especially if your guinea pig is new to your home. It will take some time to be comfortable in a new environment.
  • Don’t shout or speak loudly. Guinea pigs’ hearing is highly sensitive, so any form of loud noise can startle them. It can also take a while for them to trust you.
  • Avoid abrupt changes, like changing the position of their cages.

If you’re introducing a new guinea pig, make sure you know what you’re doing. Or get some help. So you don’t trigger both the new guinea pig and the former one.

Is it Normal for Guinea Pigs to Yawn?

Yes, yawning is a perfectly normal behavior for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs yawn to express a range of different emotions, and it’s perfectly normal and acceptable.

Keep in mind that these tiny animals yawn whether they’re stressed, relaxed, exhausted, or irritated – even when they’re angry and about to cause a ruckus. So, really, it’s hard to tell what exactly the reason might be at any given point in time.

So, now you know why your guinea pig yawns. It’s nothing to worry about – unless they’re yawning because they’re about to fight another guinea pig. In that case, you need to take action to prevent a bloody battle.

Otherwise, sit back, relax, and enjoy watching your little guinea pig yawn away.

Why Does My Guinea Pig Yawn When I Hold Him?

Your guinea pig yawns when you hold him, because he feels very relaxed. So, if they’re comfortable and relaxed in your presence as you hold and pet them, best believe that a yawn will come out of them.

If you’re curious and want to know the correct way to pick them up, here’s a few ideas:

  • Do NOT chase them – this isn’t a game of tag. If you don’t want to scare them, you should avoid chasing them. Pay attention to how your hands are placed – do not shove them into their cages without warning.
  • Pick them up with a towel, box or cuddle cup because this helps them feel safe and secure.
  • Make every day feel like Christmas or birthdays and bring them treats (yep, food bribes help)
  • Speak to them gently – tell them you’re about to pick them up. This helps them grow accustomed to your voice and presence.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Stretched Out?

Guinea pigs stretch out because they’re very relaxed. It also means they feel comfortable in their surroundings and with you. Take it as a compliment. It’s a good sign that your guinea pig likes you and trusts you.

If your guinea pigs are constantly yawning and stretching out, it means they’re happy and content. So congratulations – you’ve done a great job at making them feel at home.

There’s really nothing to worry about if your guinea pigs yawn and stretch out a lot. As long as they’re healthy and have everything they need, they’re perfectly fine.

Wanna Give Your Piggies
the 5 STAR Treatment?

Stop getting dirty looks from your piggies, because you forgot to do something for them...AGAIN. These colorful, chore charts will help you keep track of when to feed your fuzz butts, clean their cages, and much more. 


Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs use yawning to communicate their anger, relaxation, fatigue, stress, dominance, and other emotions.

They’re naturally hyperactive creatures who prefer short naps to long periods of sleep, and that’s also another reason you can catch them yawning excessively.

 Yawning is a perfectly standard and safe method they use to express themselves.

Thank you for making it this far.

And if you enjoyed this and feel informed, why not send it over to your friends and family, wondering if their guinea pigs’ yawning is normal?

I’m pretty sure they’d appreciate the gesture.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Yawn? (n.d.). Emily Davis. Clever Pet Pwners. https://cleverpetowners.com/why-do-guinea-pigs-yawn/

Why Do Guinea Pigs Yawn? (n.d.). Guliana. Pocket Sized Pets. https://pocketsizedpets.com/why-do-guinea-pigs-yawn/

Why Do Guinea Pigs Yawn? [Common Behaviour Explained!]. (n.d.). Nila. Atractivo Pets. https://atractivopets.com/why-do-guinea-pigs-yawn/

Why Do Guinea Pigs Yawn? (4 March 2022). Anna Stevenson. My Pet Care Joy. https://mypetcarejoy.com/why-do-guinea-pigs-yawn/

A Guide to Guinea Pig Behaviour. (7 October 2015). Kassandra Smith. Backyard Chicken Coops. https://www.backyardchickencoops.com.au/blogs/learning-centre/a-guide-to-guinea-pig-behaviour#

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