Do Guinea Pigs Bite?

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Although Guinea Pigs are generally social and docile creatures, biting can happen when they’re unintentionally provoked, threatened or even become confused due to sudden changes in their environment.

However, there’s also the likelihood that they may be experiencing health issues that causes bizarre behavior resulting in them nibbling for no apparent reason.

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If you own Guinea pigs, it is vital that you learn how they behave and the right way to interact with them, especially when you have kids at home.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Bite You?

Cavies are naturally gentle creatures and have a well-behaved temperament. Like other mammals, particularly rodents, they tend to explore their environment and socialize with their owners and other piggies through their nose, mouth, and teeth.

They nibble to check on something if it is food or when they’re being friendly and trying to show affection. Other reasons might be the following:

1. They are in pain

When cavies feel pain, it’s very likely that they would bite as a reaction or defense mechanism. However, the feeling of pain can be associated with deeper problems like diseases or illnesses that you can only make sure by going for a checkup to a vet specializing in exotic and small pet animals.

One common reason why cavies may experience pain is the improper or reckless handling from their owners. Just like any other small pet animals, Guinea pigs require careful handling to make them feel comfortable and well-adapted with their owners.

hungry guinea pig

2. They are frightened

Creating a bond with your cavies is one crucial factor to their emotional health and well-being. If they’re not accustomed and introduced well-enough with their owners, their natural instinct as prey animals will become their more dominant behavior.

As prey animals, they tend to become very reserved and wary of their surroundings and aloof towards their owners. This type of behavior can lead them to bite or act differently that is often mistaken as a sign of aggression.

To prevent this from happening, make sure to interact with your Guinea Pigs constantly and make them feel comfortable with you around.

3. They are not in the mood

Just like humans, your furry little friends have feelings too. Sometimes, when they have just finished munching on their afternoon snack or when they’re in the middle of their nap, they may want to be left alone and will bite unintentionally as a spontaneous reaction from being disturbed.

4. They need to go to the toilet

As previously mentioned, Guinea pigs value their privacy really well. When you’re handling them and they gently nibble on you, they might be telling you that they need to go to attend to call of nature.

Cavies prefer to do their business on a specific area on their cages, away from the view of their owners. If you ignore this gesture, the more they bite forcefully to get your attention.

5. They’re bad cavies

Unfortunately, not all Guinea pigs want to be cuddled and snuggled. Some of them bite without any logical reason despite trying your best not to trigger the behavior. When they are triggered, they bite hard and more frequently than other well-behaved cavies. If this is the case, you might have gotten a piggy with an attitude.

Getting this kind of cavy rarely happens. This behavior is most likely due to neglect, poor living condition, and overall traumatic experience from previous owners.

If you plan on adopting cavies, make sure to check their history and where they came from. Doing so will not only make you prepare for the unexpected, but you can also make it better for the piggy you are rescuing.

6. They just want to play

Unfortunately, not all Guinea pigs want to be cuddled and snuggled. Some of them bite without any logical reason despite trying your best not to trigger the behavior. When they are triggered, they bite hard and more frequently than other well-behaved cavies. If this is the case, you might have gotten a piggy with an attitude.

Getting this kind of cavy rarely happens. This behavior is most likely due to neglect, poor living condition, and overall traumatic experience from previous owners.

If you plan on adopting cavies, make sure to check their history and where they came from. Doing so will not only make you prepare for the unexpected, but you can also make it better for the piggy you are rescuing.

7. They just want to play

As mentioned earlier, Guinea pigs tend to explore and interact with their surroundings using their mouths through nibbling. When Guinea pigs bite, it’s possible that they only want to play and bond with you or even try to groom you.

Also, this behavior is natural among piggy pups. If you own a baby piggy and it nibbles on you, this is just common and shouldn’t be seen as bad behavior.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Bite the Bars on Their Cages?

Biting or nibbling doesn’t always happen towards humans and their other piggy housemates. Sometimes, they tend to exert that energy towards inanimate objects like chewing on the bars of their cage, food trays, and other cage equipment.

If you observe this behavior in your cavies, consider the following reasons behind it:

  • They need more room

Since they will be spending most of their lives in an enclosure, your Guinea pigs will require the right type of cage. When the space they live in isn’t spacious enough, they may end up feeling uncomfortable and restrained – causing them to nibble on the bars of their cages to try to release the frustration.

  • They want your attention

Cavies are energetic and social animals. In the wild, they live in groups and are dependent on each other. As pets, they need constant attention and interaction with their owners. If they are left alone most of the time, they can become bored and lonely and would try to get your attention by nibbling on the bars of their cages.

  • They need to chew

Your cavies’ teeth grow continuously. Because of this, they will feel the need to chew whenever they can get a chance to keep their teeth from getting too long. This can be one more reason why they would nibble on the bars and other objects in their cages.

When they can’t find anything else to chew on, it is possible that they can get frustrated that they will end up biting your hands or fingers.

How to Stop Guinea Pigs from Biting?

The first step to stopping Guinea pigs from biting is by trying to understand and finding the reason why they do it. When they nibble on you, don’t just go punishing and inflicting pain on your cavies. As mentioned earlier, the biting itself isn’t always the problem.

When you got your cavies the first time, slowly introduce your hands in their cages. Also, don’t just grab them like you’re grabbing a doll when picking them up. Always hold them the right way to get them accustomed and comfortable with the idea of being touched and caressed by human hands.

Another thing is, make sure that your cavies are well-adapted and introduced to each other. Although they are generally social and gentle animals, aggression is not uncommon among Guinea pigs, especially when you are housing opposite sex and putting them together without proper and gradual introduction.

Make sure to keep them in a cage that is spacious, comfortable, and has suitable equipment like chew toys, that may help ensure they have a pleasant and enjoyable experience in their cages.

Lastly, and probably the most important, make sure to always go to the vet for a regular checkup. If your piggies bite constantly and you’ve tried every possible approach you can to alleviate the situation, they may be experiencing a deeper physiological problem and the bites may be a way of telling you that they are in need of help.

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Carlye Yancey
Carlye Yancey

Between internships, volunteering, and paid jobs over the last 4 years, I have pretty much-gained experience with domesticated animals. Currently being in school for my veterinary technology degree, I spend my leisure time with 3 critters that I own.

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