Guinea pigs have a timid and quiet nature, but are friendly. Most guinea pigs will approach the hand that feeds it, because they love their food.

In spite of this most guinea pigs dislike being picked up and held. Guinea pigs are able to be amazingly and loudly vocal with their discontent and will squeal and scream as if they are being manhandled. Be prepared to hear major complaining!

Be gentle but firm when picking up your guinea pig. Always provide support for their forelegs, hindlegs and rump. A guinea pig that feels safe in your arms will not scratch or bite or struggle to get away.

Practise picking up your guinea pig from a low level on the ground (sit with your guinea pig on the ground) or practise picking up your guinea pig over the couch or bed (for a soft landing if needed).

Sometimes it helps to hide the guinea pig’s face under your arm or to cover its eyes. Using a towel can help to cover your guinea pig’s eyes or wrap it tightly (so it feels secure) and protect your arms from your guinea pig’s nails.

Holding a guinea pig upright, with a hand around their chest and one under their bottom and with their back close to your body allows for inspecting their belly and also feet.