Why Does My Guinea Pig Vibrate When I Rub Her Back?

Vibration may be a sign of discomfort.

Guinea pigs prefer to be pet starting from head to bottom. Via Stereometric/Flickr
Guinea pigs prefer to be pet starting from head to bottom. Via Stereometric/Flickr

By Shannon Cauthen

Q.

Is it good or bad when I rub up my guinea pig’s back and she vibrates? Is this bad?

A.

Guinea pigs seem to be very sensitive to the rubbing or itching of their backs in the same direction that the hair grows. Rubbing the wrong way will also get this vibration reaction, along with what my kids call a Karate kick from a very capable back leg. Is it an effective reaction? Only if you respond by putting them down. In that instance the guinea pig has you trained and will repeat the behavior.

In most cases, you can expect the guinea pigs to react with either a purr or a squeak, depending on the effect it has on the guinea pig. I imagine this sensation would be similar to someone tickling your back. You will either fall in love with it or it sends a shiver down the spine.

Guinea pigs usually are very clear on whether they like certain stimulation or not. They can even become over stimulated, responding by becoming quite wiggly or acting uncomfortable. Instead of it being pleasurable, it sends little shocks of discomfort through their system. They may need a break from attention or it may be such an intense sensation that they just flatly don’t like it and will try to get away from the offender. In that case, putting them down may mend the offence and at a later time picking them up and starting over may just clean the slate with them as they nestle in for a good rub down. Listening and observing your guinea pig will teach you volumes.

Article Categories:
Critters · Guinea Pigs

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