Why Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Own Poop? (Coprophagy)

Why Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Own Poop (Coprophagy)

In this article, we are going to talk about something a bit different. In fact, the topic is the excrement of the guinea pigs – their poop! Believe it or not, some animal types consume their own poop, and you probably have no idea why. Well, we will try to clarify this for you and discover if guinea pigs can eat their own poop!

Can guinea pigs eat their own poop? Yes, guinea pigs sometimes eat their own poop and this is called coprophagy. However, if you see your guinea pig doing this, don’t panic – it is normal, and you shouldn’t even stop it. For us, this might be unthinkable, but for guinea pigs, this is improving the digestive process in their bodies and it is a normal guinea pig behavior.

Basically, it seems that the feces of guinea pigs are even beneficial for them to consume. It sounds illogical, right? Well, that’s the truth, your guinea pig can freely consume its own feces. There are surely some detailed benefits of this whole process, otherwise, the guinea pigs wouldn’t do it. Of course, even their feces are always different in color, consistency, shape, and all of this matters. So, keep reading because we have covered all of the information in the following sections below.

Source: Rodent Diet and Coprophagy

Benefits 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.

Their poop contains a lot of vitamin K and vitamin B-complex. Also, the 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 warmth too. And, the fibers improve the digestion and contribute to healthy bowel movements.

Nutrition Facts of the Guinea Pig Poop

As we mentioned above, the poop of guinea pigs has proteins, vitamin K, and B-complex vitamins.

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.

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 too.

Questions and Risks to Consider When Giving Poop to Guinea Pigs

We actually don’t give the poop to our guinea pigs, they take care of this themselves. And considering they know when they need to eat this, and they know how much, there are almost no risks. The guinea pigs are smart enough to know when their digestion needs improvement.

Guinea pigs have two types of feces. One of them is the hard, solid, almost black type that you see around the cage. Then, the other type is the caecals or the soft poop that kinda sticks together. This type is much brighter, almost yellowish. You can rarely see this because the guinea pig is extremely fast and consumes this directly from its bottom, and this happens dozens or even hundreds of times per day!

There is an explanation for this: the foods that are plant-based are not always broken down at first, so the cavies ingest these soft stools to get the most nutrients from their diet. This is similar to how the cows eat their own cud.

  • What Happens If My Guinea Refuses to Eat Food in General, or Is Sick and Has No Appetite?

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.

Weird, but it works. Still, consult with your vet before you do this.

  • Can I Recognize If My Guinea Pig Is Malnourished by Looking at Its Poop?

Yes. the feces that are bright-color and discolored at the same time is a sign of a malnourished cavy. 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.

  • If I Am Not Able to Force-Feed My Guinea Pig with This Mix of Poop and Water, What Can I Do?

Don’t worry, 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 good.

Fun Facts About Poop

  • Did you know that 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, and as a result, it poops sand. That is why there are a lot of sandy beaches in Hawaii.
  • Poop is mostly bacteria, as opposed to the common belief of being old food only.

Before I let you go, one final thought on food. With food, you can’t ever be too careful which is why I get all guinea pig food from a reliable source such as Amazon. If you are not sure what to order but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats please check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas. We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your Guinea Pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.

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Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.