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Why Guinea Pigs Eat Poo

Updated on December 26, 2016
Goes in as carrots, comes out as beans
Goes in as carrots, comes out as beans

It's not actually poo that the guinea pigs are eating. However, it looks like poo and comes out of the same place. And it's actually vital to your guinea pig's health and well being. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction.

Name That Pellet

Guinea pigs excrete two kinds of dark brown pellets. One is the poo we all know and expect - the other is a compound of vitamins and proteins that help the guinea pig digest B vitamins. These are called ceacotrophs. They are very similar to the cud that hoofed animals like cows, deer and giraffes produce. They can't chew their food enough in order to properly digest it - so in cud's case, it settles in the rumen to be worked on by acids, then shot back up the esophagus for another chew. Now, it can be digested. In a guinea pig's case, they don't have rumens, so the "cud" comes out the other way for a second chew.

Caecotrophs are squishier and smellier than their poop counterparts. You will very rarely ever see them. If you do see them, that's usually not a good sign. Guinea pigs usually ingest them as soon as they know it's about to pop out. If you've ever seen your guinea pig chewing after cleaning his or her behind, you no know what he or she is chewing on. If your guinea pig does not eat these, they will become malnourished very quickly.

Older guinea pigs, especially boars (males) but very occasionally in sows (females), loose the muscle tone in their anus regions. This can sometimes lead to impacted bottoms, where the poo and the caecotrophs won't come out. You or a vet will have to manually ease the lump of excreta out. The guinea pig might want to at the lump. Don't stop the piggy.

In the meantime, your piggy will need some special foods to keep him or her from getting malnourished. Tasted wheat germ is recommended, as well as water soluble vitamin supplements (if your piggy is still drinking normally). When in doubt, call the vet, please!

Rabbits Eat This, Too

Rabbits also produce caecotrophs, so if you see a rabbit munching on what seems like poo, don't worry. You usually won't see them, as the rabbit instinctively knows when it's coming. If you do see a lot of rabbit caecotrophs about, it's usually not diarrhea as some older rabbit care manuals suggest. It means the rabbit is on too rich of a diet. If the rabbit still refuses to eat caecotrophs, then you need to see a vet.

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  • profile image

    Han 8 years ago

    My piggie does exactly what the one in the video does.

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    kal 7 years ago

    omg my piggie does the EXACT same thing--he grooms his face/everywhere then freezes and then bends down for a few secs and comes back up with a piece of poop in his mouth........

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    Crazdwriter 7 years ago

    Wow I never knew that when I had my guinea pigs growing up. very intersting. I've always wondered why they had eaten their poop like that. Well now I know. Thanks for the cool info.

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    Mama Luigi 7 years ago

    My guinea pig weighs 13 LBS

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    Amyy Noole 7 years ago

    my guinea pigs does exactly the same thing its preety discusting init lol :P

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    Laura Taylor 7 years ago

    My Guinea pigs do the same but latly its been causing them to become ill some have died from it so keep a regular eye on them allways check on them to see if they are ok

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    samantha samblanet 7 years ago

    yea umm my frend brittanys guinea pig ate her poop and died so shud i let him eat the poop cuz wen he does ive been noticing hes been sneezing so shud i let him eat the poop

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    David Lands 7 years ago

    That's an interesting tidbit about these creatures.

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    Chrissy 7 years ago

    Omgosh i never knew this about my guinea pig!! Now io know i probably would have been freaked out if i would have saw her doing it without reading this article first!

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    holly 7 years ago

    Well no wonder all your Guinea pigs all do the same thing... idiots. THAT'S WHAT GUINEA PIGS DO!

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    Doog 6 years ago

    My guinea Pig is not eating and because of that u can feel her spine what do u think i should do... i don't want to take her to the vet because i toke my other one and the next day she was found dead

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    christina 6 years ago

    I stopped my piggy doing this once and she whined at me. She also eats normal poop to.

  • ticklebug82 profile image

    ticklebug82 6 years ago from Oneida, NY

    Once when my piggie was sitting on me she pooed and then couldn't find it, she was running around insanely looking for it. Finally I found it and she gobbled it so fast you would have thought it was the best tasting thing in the world. I love my piggies, and start a hub about guinea pig bedding at https://hubpages.com/animals/Guinea-Pig-Bedding if you get a chance check it out.

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    cookie-monster 6 years ago

    wow thanks, i thought he was going to make himself ill but now i know he's not actually eating his poo, he's eating Caecotrophs

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    cavy slave 6 years ago

    My guinea pig does this, too. I used to stop her because I thought it was bad. Not anymore!!

    P.S.- I hope you guys have visited guinuepigcages.com. It taught me everything I know. It is toally reliable and is just about everything you need to know. try it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    nhumber456 6 years ago

    rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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    michael 6 years ago

    this helped me a lot

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    elizabeth 6 years ago

    lool.it worked!

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    amberlyn 6 years ago

    where did u get that cage it is awesome and also how did u train them not to go to the bbathroom every where

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    maiya 5 years ago

    1st of all, EWW!2nd of all, my piggie does that too (I got her a week ago and her name is Hermione.She is light & dark brown with a tiny white spot on her head & around her mouth)SHE IS SOOOOOO CUTE.:):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):) I

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    Goldy 5 years ago

    Jamone does this too! Omg! Is it bad that my dog eats these too? :|

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    zeneca 5 years ago

    my guinea pigs eat a lot of its poo that's just gross lol:)

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    Cacharico 5 years ago

    Are we talking about the pet version of guinea pigs eating their crap or all kinds including the wild ones in South America? My feeling is this only applies to pets as they are fed typically poor quality food while the ones in S.America are fed real food like corn leaves and grass.

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    samantha 5 years ago

    thanks i never knew that they can eat their poo or whatever it is......

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    ddddd 5 years ago

    i'm happy i am not a Guinea pig even though if i were i know i wouldn't care but i'm happy i'm not.Ewwwwwwwwwww!

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    Zeneca123465 5 years ago

    Omg I thought it's bad letting them eat their poop because all my friends have guinea pigs and they don't eat their poo soo I got freaked out!! But now I don't need to :)

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    MistyHayden22 5 years ago

    Some time ago, I needed to buy a good house for my firm but I didn't earn enough cash and couldn't order something. Thank goodness my dude suggested to get the loan at reliable bank. Therefore, I did so and was happy with my financial loan.

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    sara 4 years ago

    you can learn new facts every day!!!!!!!!!! (: :)

  • Megan R Rose profile image

    Megan Rose 3 years ago

    Thanks so much for this hub! It's something I've never looked into and always wondered. Sometimes one of my boys will (seemingly) poop, then run around the cage and come back and eat it. Now I know :) I'm assuming that this is why capybaras do the same thing?

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