Guinea pigs do bite. However, there are many different reasons why guinea pigs bite. You can minimize the chances of your guinea pigs biting you and each other. By understanding the circumstances guinea pigs do bite in, you can enjoy a more harmonious experience with your pet.
See this post if you’re bitten by a guinea pig or need to get another guinea pig treated. Remember, we are not a licensed veterinary establishment, and you should see a physician if you have a guinea pig bite you.
The first reason is one you would expect from a guinea pig. While guinea pigs are prey animals, they do still have a pecking order amongst themselves and with you. If you’re introducing a new guinea pig, they need to sort out where they stand in this order. Often, that means picking on each guinea pig to see what happens.
Additionally, some guinea pigs (usually males) are territorial. These guinea pigs bite when they have a territorial dispute or compete for breeding privileges if a female in your home goes into heat. It does not matter where in the house you keep the female guinea pig; the scent carries.
Another common reason guinea pigs bite is fear. Guinea pigs are prey animals, but that does not mean they are defenseless. A scared guinea pig may bite if they see it as a reasonable way to escape the situation, such as if your hand is likely to release them once bitten. It’s best to keep your guinea pig calm and handle it responsibly.
Whether this is why your guinea pig bites because they are uncomfortable depends largely on the guinea pig, unlike the previous two reasons, which are relatively universal. However, some guinea pigs will bite if you do not respond to their other discomfort signals.
It’s crucial to balance alleviating your guinea pig’s discomfort with setting up healthy boundaries. For example, if your guinea pig learns you will drop them the minute you feel teeth, you may end up with more bites.
Guinea pigs constantly chew as a way to keep wearing down their continually growing teeth. Light nibbles may not actually be anything more than determining if your skin is hard enough to chew actively.
Another thing that may happen is the guinea pig may groom you if they’re comfortable. When guinea pigs groom themselves, they do use their teeth to work out knots in their fur. You may feel this if a guinea pig tries to groom you, and it shouldn’t break your skin.