Guinea pigs generally cohabitate well together because they enjoy each other’s company. If you have one guinea pig, it’s always good to get it a cagemate.
This prevents it from being lonely and getting bored all the time. A lonely guinea pig may get depressed.
When living with another cagemate guinea pigs will play, snuggle, communicate, and even sleep together. This makes your guinea pigs feel relaxed, comfortable, and happy.
Sometimes though something may happen that could require their separation. It could be an illness, infection, or constant fighting.
Separation could mean that they will stay away from each other for a while to be reintroduced, or it could be permanent.
How well do guinea pigs remember each other?
Guinea pigs do remember each other very well. They have a really good memory that will enable them to use scents to remember. They could be separated for hours, days, weeks, or even a month. They could be siblings from the same litter, or from a different litter but they will still remember each other the same.
If guinea pigs have been separated temporarily, it is inevitable that they will get to meet again. The separation duration depends on what brought it about in the first place.
Can they remember?
Yes, guinea pigs can remember really well. They have great memory capabilities.
Their spatial memory helps them in remembering pathways and holes. This is vital for them in natural habitats.
Being prey animals, guinea pigs had to learn to adapt so as to avoid being a predator’s lunch. They have poor vision which is compensated by their good hearing and memory capabilities.
A guinea pig can run quite fast from a predator with its poor eyesight because it has memorized pathways and holes in which it can hide in.
They are also able to remember how their cage tunnels look like, their hiding places, and where their cage is. This is why you will easily see them run around tunnels and be able to know their cage.
Guinea pigs have the ability to remember good and bad experiences too. They can remember how fun outdoor adventures are and they can remember something that hurt them hence knowing they should stay away from it.
Are they smart?
Guinea pigs have good memories and they also possess intelligent little brains. This is why it is easy for them to learn.
A guinea pig can be taught various tricks like standing on its hind legs, playing with a ball, passing through a loop, etc. They are easy to train and will do tricks because they know that if they do them, a treat is waiting for them.
They will also be able to learn their names, how to use a litter box and they have great respect for routines which they enjoy.
Can they tell other guinea pigs and people apart?
Guinea pigs are smart enough to differentiate other animals and humans alike. They usually do this by using their sense of smell to identify scents and their hearing senses to identify voices.
They can easily tell fellow cage mates apart. They can also know when their owner is around and when a stranger is.
A good way to test this is by going to its cage and talking to it then having someone else that they are not used to, do it. The person should repeat the exact same thing you just said to it.
The pet will not recognize the voice or scent of the person which can make it run away to hide in fear.
What would lead to guinea pig separation
Separation of guinea pigs is not an everyday occurrence but if need be, what has to be done has to be done. Circumstances that would lead to separation are:
An infection in one guinea pig e.g. an eye infection should lead to separation. This is because you don’t want other cage mates to get the infection and making bad things worse.
Your pet could sometimes get seriously ill, lacking appetite, being sluggish, slouching, etc. These are signs of a sick guinea pig that should be separated from other cage mates.
The illness could easily spread and if it’s fatal you could end up losing all your pets. So always take the sick pet away from the others and get a vet.
Guinea pigs can get really aggressive while fighting and injure each other to the point of bloodshed and in worst-case scenarios, death. Separation should take place to avoid such occurrences.
You can reintroduce them after things cool off to see how they will fair.
If you have a litter of guinea pigs you may choose to give them away. This leads to the permanent separation of guinea pigs because each piggy will live their life in their destined homes.
In some cases though, some adopted pets may get to meet. For instance, you can adopt a guinea pig from a pet store or shelter and they had a companion there.
After a while, your guinea pig may look lonely so you decide to go back for its cagemate. The separation will have only been temporary.
How do they remember each other?
Guinea pigs have the ability to remember each other. You can tell this from the reactions they will have when you reintroduce them after separation.
They will be able to recognize each other through scents. Some reactions may be good and they will begin living together in harmony.
Other reactions though may be adverse as they try to outdo each other in the domination game and they may have to be separated again, this time permanently.
Good reactions are playing together, sniffing each other, grooming one another, and snuggling. Dominance reactions are chasing each other, dragging their bottoms to mark their territories, and teeth chattering.
Having those dominance reactions while trying to figure out who is who in the cage is okay. It gets serious if their teeth chattering becomes more aggressive and they begin fighting.
Guinea pigs can recognize their owners and remember their long lost mates. They will recall fellow guinea pigs the same way whether they are from the same litter or not.
If a cage mate dies, your guinea pig does remember them too as they will have a period of mourning and withdrawal. Give it as much attention as possible at these times, loss is not easy to deal with even for our small creatures.
If guinea pigs have been reintroduced and they still don’t get along, separate them permanently using wire mesh in the cage if it’s big enough or two separate cages close to each other. Even if they can’t live in the same space, they will find solace in seeing each other around.
It’s like seeing a fellow prison mate. You know you’re not alone.