Are guinea pigs afraid of thunderstorms?
Not only humans can develop fears, animals are also afraid – some more, others less.
If you have always wondered whether guinea pigs are actually afraid of thunderstorms and if so, why this is the case, you will now learn the answer in the following article.
In addition, we will show you proven tips on how to help your pet relax during thunderstorms.
The best thing to do is not to beat around the bush, but to start answering your questions right away!
A thunderstorm is approaching! Reason to panic?
The answer depends on what kind of thunderstorm we are talking about. With a few exceptions, guinea pigs have no problem with rain, a few flashes of lightning and distant thunder.
The situation is quite different, however, when we are talking about a really violent thunderstorm in which, in addition to rain, storm, lightning and loud thunder, there is also hail.
So to answer the initial question: Yes, guinea pigs are – under certain conditions – afraid of thunderstorms.
Especially if you keep your guinea pigs outdoors, they can quickly become frightened during a strong thunderstorm – after all, they get to see the thunderstorm in its full extent at close range!
Guinea pigs that have been kept outdoors from the beginning will probably have less problems with thunderstorms than guinea pigs that are just getting to know the outdoors and have only spent their lives in a sheltered apartment. It is completely normal that your animals first have to adjust to the new situation with the unfamiliar noises.
The extent of your animals’ fear of thunderstorms is always a bit of a matter of character: there are guinea pigs that are very sensitive from the ground up and some that virtually roll over everything like a tank – regardless of losses 😉 .
When thunder is particularly loud, it is perfectly normal for both humans and animals to flinch. This fact alone does not mean that there is a problem with thunderstorms here from the ground up.
How you can tell that your guinea pig is really afraid of thunderstorms, we clarify in the following section.
How can I tell that my guinea pig is afraid of thunderstorms?
That your guinea pig retreats into its hiding place when the weather gets bad is not unusual in itself, because we humans are also not happy to be outside during thunderstorms or even heavy rain.
However, there are a few signs that may indicate that your guinea pig is really having trouble with thunderstorms, or even very afraid of them.
- noticeable restlessness
Animals have a very special sense of the weather. Your guinea pigs know far ahead of you when a thunderstorm is coming – and they do it without even looking at the weather report.
If you have one of these furry specimens that is afraid of thunderstorms, you will probably notice an increased restlessness in this animal before the thunderstorm has even started. Your guinea pig will find it impossible to rest and will run from one shelter to the next and back again.
In addition, it may well be that it is particularly easily irritable and reacts to its conspecifics – with whom it otherwise gets along very well – rather bitchy.
- the calm before the storm
Compared to the guinea pigs stung by the tarantula, there are also representatives of the opposite sort.
Apathy can also be a clear sign of stress!
Your guinea pig has been hiding in the farthest corner all day and doesn’t even come out of its cave to eat? Then this does not necessarily mean that your animal is ill. Maybe it senses a thunderstorm approaching, of which it is very scared
- your pet is “going through the ticker
The thunderstorm is there, the fear as well!
Guinea pigs that feel a lot of stress usually breathe very fast. The breathing reminds, seen from the outside, a little bit of a pump, which you operate to pump e.g. water out of the ground.
If your guinea pig is sitting in a corner, twitching and breathing fast and shallow, then you can be sure that it is really scared!
- nothing is as it was
The thunderstorm is gone, but the fear remains: Just because the storm has passed doesn’t mean everything is back to normal!
While brave guinea pigs will now go about their day’s work again and behave as if nothing had ever happened, fearful candidates will take a long time before they dare to go out into the daylight again.
The fear runs deep, the feeling of security is gone and takes a few hours – sometimes even a few days – to return and allow normalcy.
Cause of the fear: Guinea pigs as escape animals
The fact that guinea pigs (can) react comparatively strongly to thunderstorms is related to their instincts as a flight animal. Your guinea pigs have a great need for security, which they get above all through the firm integration into a group, but also through a routine daily routine.
Routine gives security. It promises that everything that happens will be planned and predictable. A thunderstorm, however, disturbs this routine, because lightning and thunder are not only bright, but sometimes also very loud and, in addition, absolutely unpredictable in their occurrence.
Small animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas and hamsters have by nature quite a fast heartbeat, which is further increased by the fright of bright lightning and loud thunderclaps. In extreme situations, this can even endanger life – which brings us directly to the next topic.
When and why can thunderstorms become a real danger for your guinea pigs?
Here comes the answer…
This is why thunderstorms can become a serious danger!
Thunderstorms drastically increase the stress level of the animals. This affects the entire organism and is sometimes even enough to cause death in old or otherwise weakened animals: The increased heartbeat, which is added by frequent fright, can promote a heart attack.
But even if your guinea pigs don’t show any fear of thunderstorms, they can still become a very real danger – and that’s if your guinea pigs are kept outside at the time. Granted, it’s quite unlikely that your guinea pig enclosure will be struck by lightning, but (large-grained) hail can quickly wreak havoc. If the hail slams the enclosure while your animals are inside, they can either be injured or, in the worst case, even killed.
Therefore, check both enclosure and barn and furnishings regularly for damage and upgrade the enclosure as needed so that your animals are not so easily put in harm’s way by the hail.
Don’t panic about thunderstorms – 4 proven tips for more relaxation
Finally, we’d like to give you four tips that we’ve found work well during thunderstorms:
- safety-giving darkness
Guinea pigs love darkness because it gives them a sense of security and safety. So offer your animals dark hiding places during thunderstorms where they can feel safe and calm themselves down a bit.
- off into the safe four walls!
A thunderstorm is usually over as quickly as it came. If you have the feeling that the approaching storm will not be completely without – which can usually be predicted well by the color of the sky – then you do your guinea pigs a big favor if you bring them into your home until the storm is over.
This way you can not only guarantee your animals maximum safety, but also observe their behavior and help them regulate their fears if necessary. Furthermore, the apartment will keep out some sound and light, making lightning and thunder a little less threatening.
- feed away the fear
If your animals’ fear is still within reasonable limits, they will be grateful if you offer them food. By chewing, your mullets can actively relieve stress and also make the thunderstorms palatable.
- talk to your animals
Your hogs may not understand what you are saying to them, but they can infer your mood from your tone of voice: if you speak to your animals in a calm voice and are relaxed yourself, your state of mind – at least to some extent – will also be transmitted to your guinea pigs.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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