If you’ve had guinea pigs for a long time, you’ve probably noticed them munching on their own feces. This may appear strange and alarming, especially to a new owner, but don’t panic. This is entirely normal behavior.
Why do guinea pigs eat their poop? Guinea pigs do sometimes eat their own poop and this is called coprophagy. Their poop can improve the digestive process in their bodies and it is a normal guinea pig behavior.
Keep reading because we have covered all of the information about guinea pig feces in the following sections below. Let’s begin!
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Guinea Pig Poop: Information and Facts
Guinea pigs have two types of feces. One of them is the hard, solid, and almost black that you see around the cage. Then, the other type is the guinea pig cecotropes or the soft poop that kinda sticks together. This type is much brighter, almost yellowish.
Cecotropes are small, soft feces which guinea pigs produced in the night or early morning. They are also called ”night feces” or ”soft feces.” It is important for guinea pig nutrition because they contain some essential nutrients and vitamins, like vitamin B and vitamin K.
The guinea pigs will eat cecotropes from 100 to 200 times a day. You will see these feces rarely because guinea pigs usually eat them directly from their bottoms (anus).
We need to remember that cecotropes are very good for guinea pigs’ health. These feces can contain a lot of good bacteria that are beneficial for the guinea pig digestive system.
Benefits and Risk of Guinea Pigs Eating Poop
The soft stool is the one that guinea pigs consume and the one that you will almost never see in the cage. This stool is beneficial for them because it helps them digest foods better and absorb more nutrients from the foods they eat. Other than that, the following are also some of its benefits:
1. Contains Different Vitamins
Their poop contains a lot of vitamin K and vitamin B-complex. Also, these feces provide them with some proteins too. In fact, their soft poop has a lot of protein and a lot of fiber, compared to the hard, dark feces.
The proteins offer energy for the organism and the fibers improve digestion and contribute to healthy bowel movements.
2. Poop of a Healthy Guinea Pig Can Help a Sick Guinea Pig
This will be weird advice, but it works. Some owners have consulted their vets, and the response was: Give the cavy some poop of a healthy guinea pig. This is mixed with water and put into a syringe.
With this, you can feed the sick cavy between meals and you will be surprised how fast it gets the appetite back. Still, consult with your vet before you do this.
If you cannot able to force-feed your guinea pig with this mix of poop and water, the guinea pig will know what to do. Often, the guinea pigs can literally steal poop from other cavies and their bottoms.
They go around the cage and sniff the other guinea pigs, and this means they can take care of themselves quite well.
Nutrition Facts of the Guinea Pig Poop
Vitamin K contributes to healthy bones, and it also regulates the calcium levels in the blood. This is especially important since calcium is the mineral that can damage the urinary system of guinea pigs. So, regulating the calcium in the blood goes a long way in helping them.
The B-complex vitamins represent a group of all the B vitamins. The B vitamins are beneficial for all organs in the body. Also, the B vitamins break down the proteins and carbs that are consumed. With enough B vitamins, there is good digestion, healthy skin tissues, and healthy nerves.
More Information About Guinea Pig Poop and Their Behaviour
Is It Normal for a Guinea Pig to Eat Its Poop?
It is normal for a guinea pig to eat its own poop. They take care of things themselves, and they know when and how much they need poop to consume. There are almost no risks.
So, we can say that it is normal for a guinea pig to eat its poop. The guinea pigs are smart enough to know when their digestion needs improvement.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Poop?
The plant-based foods that guinea pigs eat are not always broken down at first. So, when they come out as poop, the guinea pigs ingest them again in order to get more nutrients from their food.
This process helps their digestion a lot and it is similar to how the cows eat their own cud.
How Often Do Guinea Pigs Eat Poop?
Guinea pigs poop a lot because they are constantly eating. Also, guinea pigs eat their own poop very often and it can sometimes be around 100 to 200 times per day.
You will very often see your guinea pigs with their heads turned towards the back end. In most cases, it means that your guinea pig is eating its poop.
Guinea pigs’ digestive system is very fast and they sometimes won’t absorb all the nutrients from the first consumption. So, they solve that by eating their poop. If your guinea pig eats its poop very often, you won’t need to clean the cage very often.
Do All Guinea Pigs Eat Their Poop?
In general, most rodents eat their own poop. So, we can say that all guinea pigs will eat their feces. As we’ve said, it is totally normal if you see a guinea pig eating poop.
Also, it is not normal if your guinea pig never eats his poop. This can cause some health problems in guinea pigs and they will become malnourished very quickly.
Usually, if one of your guinea pigs is sick, you can give him some poop from another guinea pig but the other one must be healthy. It will help your sick guinea pig to get some of the good bacteria and to get well soon.
Can I Recognize if My Guinea Pig Is Malnourished by Looking at Its Poop?
The guinea pig feces that are bright-color and discolored at the same time are the sign of a malnourished guinea pig. If the poop is quite dark, this means the cavy is healthy. Of course, this goes for the feces that are scattered around the cage and not for the ones that they consume.
Is Guinea Pig Poop Toxic to Dogs?
Guinea pigs’ poop isn’t toxic to dogs because guinea pigs eat healthy and vegan foods. This means that it is pretty safe for dogs to eat them. If your dog eats guinea pigs poop, it will not harm the dog’s health. In many cases, it will provide some vitamins to the dog.
Some dog owners said that their dog eats guinea pigs poop all the time. However, it is recommended not to allow them to eat it very often because they might get addicted. Especially if a guinea pig is sick, some problems may arise.
Why Does My Guinea Pig Poop So Much?
As we’ve already said, it is normal for guinea pigs to poop a lot. Their digestive system is very fast, and they will poop as much as they eat. Pooping a lot is an indicator that your guinea pig is healthy.
If your guinea pig is pooping less or not pooping at all, it can be a sign that something is going wrong. Then, you need to find the reasons for that problem or change the guinea pig diet. Also, the low amounts of guinea pig pooping can be caused by some dental problems or infections.
Also, guinea pig pooping can be a problem for you because you will need to clean their cages very often. Guinea pigs can poop everywhere in the cage, but the good thing is that you can train your guinea pig to use the litter box.
Fun Facts About Poop
The following are some interesting facts about poop:
- In 2015, someone had a toxic poop-session on British Airway, from Heathrow to Dubai. The plane had to turn around and land after just half an hour.
- The fastest living organism in the world is a fungus that is found in horse manure.
- There is a bowel disease that causes chronic diarrhea, CDI. The cure for it is fecal transplant (when poop of a healthy person is put in the bum of the sick person).
- There was an event in London called ‘the great stink’. It happened in 1858 when the smell of human waste halted the Parliament. The smell came from the River Thames.
- The animal sloth poops once a week and this is called ‘the poo dance’.
- The Parrotfish consumed dead coral. As a result, it poops sand.
- Poop is mostly bacteria, as opposed to the common belief of being old food only.
It is certainly a relief knowing that guinea pigs can eat their poop without many health problems. This behavior is really weird for us but in the animal world, coprophagia is quite normal and it happens in a lot of different animals.
Remember, guinea pigs were once wild animals. After the domestication, they have altered some of their behaviors but most of it is kept, including coprophagy. Do not prevent your guinea pig from doing this completely normal and beneficial behavior for them.
With food, you should be careful what to choose. If you are not sure what to feed them but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats, check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas.