As pet owners, we love our animals and hope they love us too.
For some animals, many people find themselves wondering how good their memory is and if they remember us at all.
Guinea pig memory is broken into short and long term just like us, but just how good is a guinea pig’s memory?
Guinea pigs have poor short-term but good long-term memory regarding their survival. They remember safe people and places and also scary or dangerous things. This comes from their survival instinct. They do remember their owners, cage mates, and directions back home.
Getting to know about your guinea pigs is a huge part of the fun of having pets.
Let’s look into how good guinea pig memory is.
Table of Contents
Do Guinea Pigs Have Good Memories?
It feels like our beloved domestic guinea pigs love and remember us, but is this true?
If you make your pet guinea pig feel safe and loved, they will remember you.
Domestic guinea pigs may be far from their wild ancestors, but they still have survival instincts.
The domesticated guinea pig is descended from wild guinea pigs who were prey animals.
This makes them easily startled and prone to running and hiding.
The ability of guinea pigs to discern what is safe and what isn’t is part of their survival instinct.
If you feed them, keep them clean, and provide a safe environment to go about their business, they will remember you.
Outside of remembering things for survival, domestic guinea pigs do not have very good memories.
Their short-term memory lasts only a few minutes for most things.
This makes it very hard to train a guinea pig.
However, guinea pigs bond with owners and cage mates as they make them feel safe and content.
They may even remember you enough to squeak when they see you! (Learn more at the link.)
What Do Guinea Pigs Remember?
Wild cavies from South America had a decent memory.
They had to remember where was safe for them to go and hide and where it wasn’t.
This is why if the bleak event of your guinea pig getting hurt occurs, they will remember and avoid anything similar to the situation for a long time.
Comparative studies have shown the reduction in brain size of domestic guinea pigs compared to wild cavies in South America.
If you observe the behavior of guinea pigs, you’ve likely noticed how intently they listen and look around them.
They are constantly checking to make sure they are safe.
Adult and baby guinea pigs have decent long-term memories for the most vital things but don’t have a very good short-term memory.
Domestic guinea pigs rely on their owners to create a calm, healthy, clean, and safe environment.
Pet owners supply fresh water, tasty treats, and toys to keep them occupied.
A bored guinea pig usually ends up stressed.
All the things we do for our domestic guinea pigs help them remember us because we are the source of everything they love to do; eat, sleep, and feel safe.
If you observe the behavior of adult guinea pig cage mates, you’ll notice how bonded they become over time.
Guinea pigs love company from other domestic guinea pigs.
Guinea pig intelligence may not be stellar, but they still remember and bond with their cage mates.
Routes and Directions
Wild cavies had to remember how to get to safe places, which seems to have been inherited by domestic guinea pigs.
Our cavies have a decent spatial memory for routes and directions.
Spatial memory refers to remembering paths and navigation to get to a specific destination.
The acuity of guinea pigs helps them with their spatial learning abilities to take in details to remember routes and the way home.
When you bring them home, they will lay low and take in their surroundings until they feel safe and have their hiding spots mapped out.
Loud and Scary Things
Domestic animals and wild animals alike fear loud and scary noises.
As pet owners, we strive to provide our animal care and understand what upsets them.
Domestic guinea pigs are as easily startled and frightened as the wild cavies they descend from were.
They will remember people, other pets, and sources of loud noises.
They will remember anything frightening to them well.
Should your beloved pet ever get hurt, chances are they will avoid the source of their pain at all costs.
If you accidentally hurt your domestic guinea pig, don’t be surprised if they avoid you like the plague for a while.
After it has been broken, it takes a long time to regain a guinea pig’s trust.
How To Improve A Guinea Pigs Memory
While there isn’t much to do about a poor memory in domestic guinea pigs, there are some mental stimulations and associative learning techniques to help keep their minds active.
If your guinea pig is bored, it may resort to cage chewing, destructive habits, irritability, or depression.
Giving them something to do helps keep them happy.
Here are a few ways to entertain your domestic guinea pigs and keep their mind stimulated:
Keep Them Stimulated and Entertained
- Hide treats around the cage to encourage them to sniff out and discover tasty food items.
- Change the scenery in their cage once in a while, like changing a platform position in the enclosure.
- Have floor time where you allow your domestic guinea pigs to roam in a safe area for an hour or so.
Vitamin C and Memory
There is some correlation between Vitamin C and memory.
Domestic guinea pigs do not naturally produce Vitamin C.
This means without concentrations of Vitamin C added to their diet, they may suffer from chronic vitamin deficiency.
This may or may not impact guinea pig intelligence.
Still, it is important to supply treats and food with adequate Vitamin C to your domestic guinea pigs’ diet to ensure they’re as healthy as possible.