Gay Behaviors in Guinea Pigs: Natural Bonding or Something More?

Same-sex grooming and mounting is common behavior in guinea pigs, which has led to speculation that some individuals may be gay. Cavies are naturally social animals, and their interactions within their groups can be complex. Since their behavior is not ruled by social etiquette, what may be construed as sexual by one species does not always mean the same thing in another.

Mounting, licking, and same-sex grooming is normal behavior in male and female guinea pigs and does not mean they are gay. The social hierarchy in a herd involves shows of dominance, which includes repeatedly mounting lower-ranking individuals, regardless of their gender.

While most cavy owners are delighted that their same-sex piggies get along, they may start asking questions when the behavior appears to be sexual. Is it possible for cavies to be gay, or is something else going on? Let’s find out.

Can Guinea Pigs Be Gay?

It is impossible to accurately interpret animal behavior using a human framework. Anthropologists know that even within human societies, culture plays a fundamental role in how people interpret the world around them, so human labels rarely fit when transferred to the animal kingdom.

Mounting behavior is commonly sexual in most other animal species. So, when same-sex pairs of cavies climb on top of one another, owners are often confused since the purpose of the act is not related to reproduction and liken it to being ‘gay.’

Surprisingly, same-gender sexual activity is not limited to humans, and evidence of the behavior has been found in several types of animals and even birds. However, it is not commonplace, and affectionate behavior in social animals like guinea pigs that live with each other is unlikely to be sexual.

Most mounting behavior in guinea pigs is related to dominance within the herd. Higher-ranking individuals use the maneuver to demonstrate (quite literally) who is the top dog, or rather the top pig! The gender of the lower-ranking animal is of no concern, so seeing a male pig in a compromising position with another male in a herd is about status rather than being gay.

Even neutered male guinea pigs display mounting behavior, as the behavior is related to social ranking rather than sexual persuasion. More dominant males will attempt to mount lower-ranking individuals, and if there isn’t too much resistance, the two can become bonded cage mates.

Behaviors like licking each other’s genitals and snuggling together are common bonding methods evident in many animal species. Think of how bonded domestic cats groom one another. Animals don’t have inhibitions about their private parts. Any bits that need to be cleaned are fair game.

Although guinea pigs display homosexual behavior at times, it would not be accurate to label an animal living in a single-sex setup as gay. Rather than being of a sexual nature, mutual grooming and spending time together is often a way to strengthen bonds between individuals within a complex social order.

What Is The Meaning Of Gay In Simple Words?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the term gay is ‘to be sexually or romantically attracted to people of the same gender and not to people of a different gender.’ Right away, what is evident is that the word is specifically related to human activity, not animals.

In addition, to be defined as gay means that one is not sexually or romantically attracted to the opposite gender. Pet piggies have no control over the gender dynamic in their group and are often housed in single-sex herds.

Single-sex cage mates may never be exposed to piggies of the opposite gender. Labeling an animal that is affectionate with a cagemate as gay is not a true reflection of how it may behave in a more natural mixed group setting.

Cavies may form close bonds with a companion piggy of either gender. What may appear to be sexual, touchy-feely behavior for humans may be mutual care, affection, and strengthening of alliances for guinea pigs.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Mount Each Other?

Mounting behavior in pet cavies is far more likely to be a demonstration of dominance within the group than having any sexual implications. Males will mount lower-ranking males, and females climb on other females. Dominant and submissive personalities are what is important in these interactions rather than the gender of the animal.

One can expect a readjustment of the social hierarchy in the group each time a new member is added to the herd or a younger animal moves into adolescence. Changes to the social structure will be accompanied by plenty of chasing, butt-sniffing, and mounting.

Owners must remember that same-sex mounting in guinea pigs is perfectly normal and to be expected. It is usually unnecessary to intervene in these interactions unless one of the animals is getting hurt or a fight breaks out.

Once dominance has been established, things usually simmer down. Mounting pairs may never become besties, as the behavior is about letting the piggy on the bottom know who’s boss rather than anything lovey-dovey.

Do Female Guinea Pigs Try To Mate Other Female Guinea Pigs?

Keeping a pair of females is often a popular choice for cavy owners. The sows have each other for company and tend to be less aggressive than boars.

It can therefore come as a surprise to find chasing, mounting, and humping behavior going on in the cage. Fortunately, this is entirely normal, and usually short-lived behavior as herd members establish the pecking order in the guinea pig hierarchy.

That being said, adult female piggies experience heat cycles every 16 days. During this time, if no male is present, sows may chase and mount female cage mates more than usual. The behavior is hormone and dominance-related and does not indicate that the animal is gay.

Sometimes, female cavies suffer from cysts or tumors that grow on their reproductive organs. This can result in significant hormonal imbalances, which can lead to uncharacteristically dominant or even aggressive behavior.

A female guinea pig that shows signs of repeatedly mounting others, even after dominance hierarchy has been established, should be examined by a veterinarian. Mounting caused by health-related hormone imbalances can usually be corrected by spaying.

Do Male Guinea Pigs Mate With Other Male Guinea Pigs?

While it may look like male piggies are mating with one another, that is not the case. The male-on-male mounting action is dominance-related, and male piggies know the difference between males and females.

Mating that is related to sexual activity is far more complex than simply mounting another animal. True mating rituals in most species involve a fairly elaborate courting behavior, and guinea pigs are no exception.

Mounting and mating, which occurs between a male and female guinea pig in heat, is the result of a courtship process that has both behavioral and acoustic elements. A boar may circle a female while repeatedly nuzzling her rear end. Once a boar has successfully mated, it often loses interest in the female.

Conclusion

Cavies are social animals that often mutually groom, lick, and cuddle close to each other. Chasing and mounting behavior is common, even between same-sex individuals, but it does not mean they are gay. While this may appear to have sexual connotations, guinea pigs show dominance by literally climbing on top of lower-ranking individuals.