Guinea pigs make great pets. And since it is a great thing to share all kinds of activities with loved ones (including pets), some guinea pig owners might be wondering, if the pet guinea pig enjoys playing with water on a hot day. And maybe the guinea pig even enjoys a little swim in the pool or in the nearby lake.
As a whole, guinea pigs do not enjoy playing in the water. They are capable of staying afloat in the water, but they do not enjoy swimming and will try to find a way out as quickly as possible.
In the following, you will find more information on a guinea pig’s relationship to water and wheater they can or should learn how to swim.
Do Guinea Pigs like to Play in Water?
Guinea pigs are called “Meerschweinchen” in German. The direct translation is “Sea pig”. That name implies that guinea pigs might come from the sea, or are somehow connected to the sea.
As a kid, I always thought that guinea pigs were great swimmers. Why would an animal be called a “sea pig” if it has nothing to do with the sea?
But in fact, guinea pigs are native to South America and came to other parts of the world by traveling the sea, hence the name “sea pig” in German. And just like many other animals and insects, they did not swim across the ocean, they were stowaways on ships.
Guinea pigs like to drink water and that’s about it. They do not like to play with water or swim in the water. They will avoid the rain and try to stay dry at all times.
Especially guinea pigs with very long fur are prone to catching a cold if their fur got wet.
Can Guinea Pigs Swim?
Guinea pigs have a survival instinct that makes them paddle with their legs if they get into water that is too deep to stand in. This is an instinct that is inherent to most living creatures and has nothing to do with enjoying the water.
As a whole, guinea pigs are able to swim for a while, but they do not enjoy it, because it is very exhausting for them. They can be trained to swim, but it is not recommended and not a natural thing to do for guinea pigs.
Some pet owners assume that guinea pigs enjoy swimming because they instantly start to paddle with their little feet when they are put into water.
That behavior is necessary for guinea pigs to prevent themselves from drowning and they will try to get out of the water immediately.
They cannot swim for a long time and will drown eventually if not taken out of the water.
Guinea pigs in the wild do not decide to take a dip in the water on a sunny day and avoid rivers and lakes.
It is possible to train a guinea pig to be able to swim for a longer period of time, but it is not recommended because a wet guinea pig is prone to getting sick, having an ear infection, or having respiratory issues.
Swimming also causes stress which can lead to serious health issues as well.
If your guinea pig got wet accidentally, you should gently dry it with a towel to prevent a cold.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂