Do Guinea Pigs Like Music? Does it Scare Them?

Part of looking after guinea pigs is providing them with a stimulating environment. Many owners wonder if their guinea pigs like music. Is it beneficial to them, or does it stress them to have music played in their environment? These answers are not always simple, but we can get some clues by looking at guinea pig behavior.

Guinea pigs generally like some music, often preferring certain genres and composers. It may be beneficial to play music to guinea pigs. However, they do not like loud music or music with heavy beats. They are sensitive to loud sounds and can be stressed and develop hearing damage from loud music.

There has been interest in animals’ reactions to music in recent years. Cows seem to enjoy classical music, and musicians entertain elephants by playing the piano. These experiences have prompted guinea pig owners to explore the option of playing music for their guinea pigs.

Do Guinea Pigs Enjoy Music?

Guinea pigs have certain behaviors that demonstrate when they are enjoying something. This includes popcorning, wheeks, chutting, and other vocalizations.

They also seem relaxed and sleep deeply when they are comfortable in the environment. You may see them sleeping out in the open or even kicking their back legs out behind them to sprawl out when they are relaxed.

Scientists and owners have found that by observing these behaviors, they can judge whether guinea pigs enjoy music. The results are surprising to some people.

Guinea pigs seem to like many types of music, but they often have preferences for certain genres. This can vary slightly from each individual guinea pig, but generally, piggies love music that is calm and soothing, with even beats. Anything with a lot of bass may spook them.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Loud Music?

A study reported in 2019 showed that guinea pigs are susceptible to loud noises. They easily develop damage in their inner ear when exposed to loud noises. The result of this is sensory-neural hearing loss.

Disturbances in the fluid of the semicircular canals of the cochlea can affect the guinea pig’s balance. The effects of this are that the guinea pig may walk in circles, fall over while moving, and have a head tilt.

The damage from loud music results from sound waves that cause excessive movement in the semicircular canal fluid. This movement damages the sensitive hairs in the cochlea, which are designed to collect energy from sound waves.

The hairs can be ‘stunned’ for a few hours or days, resulting in temporary hearing loss with some recovery. They may also be permanently damaged, resulting in severe, lasting hearing loss.

It can be assumed that guinea pigs experience pain and distress based on the human experience of loud noises that cause damage. Guinea pigs generally move away from speakers playing music with loud heavy beats.

The evidence of hearing loss in guinea pigs emphasizes that exposing guinea pigs to loud music or other noise should be avoided. Guinea pigs will dislike any music that is too loud. 

Do Guinea Pigs Prefer Certain Music?

A Hungarian study published in 2023 showed that guinea pigs prefer Bach to Schönberg music. It was demonstrated that Bach improved the guinea pigs’ well-being, causing them to eat more regularly and have deeper sleep patterns.

Owners report that their guinea pigs prefer certain genres of music. They consistently found that the guinea pigs enjoy Bach. Guinea pigs also seemed to enjoy folk rock music but were frightened by country music, hip hop, and classic rock. The guinea pigs did not respond to jazz, seeming unaffected or bored when it was played.

Owners have noted that there can be individual differences in guinea pig preferences or their reactions to music, so try out a few different types and see what your piggy responds best to.

Guinea Pigs May Learn Faster With Music

Teachers know the importance of maximizing the environment to facilitate learning. Researchers experimented to see if playing music could facilitate learning in animals. They played Mozart’s piano concertos to rat pups and found their learning accelerated.

As guinea pigs are also in the same family of rodents, it is reasonable to assume that they will also have improved learning in the presence of music. If you want to teach your guinea pigs tricks, try playing the music while you train them.

There is evidence that playing music to young animals or animals still in the womb will increase the density of the neurons in their brain.

Should I Play Music For My Guinea Pig?

The evidence suggests that playing music may help regulate a guinea pig’s biorhythms, improving sleep quality, feeding, and absorption of nutrients. Therefore, providing music can be beneficial to your guinea pig.

However, there are some important factors to consider. First of all, the music must not be too loud. So far, no one has provided guidelines on this, but since guinea pigs have sensitive hearing, it is probably best to keep the volume low as a precaution.  

Watching your guinea pig’s behavior will give clues on what volume is best for them. It is preferable not to situate the speaker close to the guinea pig’s cage. A speaker directed at the cage may provide music that becomes too loud as the music progresses through a song.

Guinea pigs prefer certain music genres and may even prefer different artists or composers. The preferences may be individual, so spending time evaluating your guinea pig’s response to specific music is helpful. Observation over twenty to thirty minutes will give the owner a good sample of the guinea pig’s behavior in response to the music.

Guinea pigs that eat, lie down and sleep, popcorn, or make happy wheeks can be assumed to be enjoying the music. If the guinea pig hides, does not want to eat, or appears distressed, they are probably not enjoying the music.

How Often Should Guinea Pigs Have Music?

Some people assume that because guinea pigs enjoy music, it should be playing continually in their environment. However, scientists have found that animals need periods of silence when no music is playing.

As people become tired from a continual sound, so can guinea pigs. They need a break from exposure to the music.

Music followed by silence is most helpful in reducing stress. Playing music continually can become tiring for the guinea pig. In addition, many animals seem to become habituated to music played continually, and the beneficial effects are lost. For optimal results, it’s a good idea to play music for a few hours a day as long as your guinea pig likes it.

In Conclusion

Guinea pigs like certain kinds of music played at a low volume. Music may even increase their general well-being, health, and learning. Music can even help to reduce your guinea pig’s stress levels and encourage relaxation.

However, it’s crucial to choose the right kind of music and observe your guinea pig’s behavior. All guinea pigs are different, so if your guinea pig seems nervous or distressed at all by the sound, try turning the volume down more or avoiding music near your guinea pig’s cage.

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