Find out whether guinea pigs bite.
Guinea pigs are commonly thought of as great pets for kids, even though they are actually pretty high-maintenance animals. Because of this, a common question for aspiring guinea pig owners is whether guinea pigs bite. Let’s talk about the general nature of a guinea pig and whether a guinea pig is likely to bite!
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The Nature of a Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs are normally calm creatures. They usually have very friendly personalities, though they can range from extremely outgoing to shy and timid. Guinea pigs, by nature, are not aggressive.
Guinea pigs are naturally prey animals, which means they will always try to run away before trying to fight. This is their fight or flight reaction. This means guinea pigs usually only bite when they feel they have no other option.
One thing I did want to mention – guinea pigs do require a lot more maintenance than most people think. They require a specific diet that includes daily fresh veggies, they require a lot of space, they need to be kept in pairs, and they require daily maintenance and attention. They are not the easy, low-maintenance kids pet many people believe them to be. If you are considering getting guinea pigs, keep this in mind!
Do Guinea Pigs Bite?
Since guinea pigs have that fight or flight reaction, most guinea pigs do not bite at all.
I’ve had 11 guinea pigs over the past 7 years, and I can think of only two times I’ve been bitten. Once was because I had a snack in my hand for her and she accidentally grabbed my finger instead of the snack. The other time was when I was clipping the nails of a baby pig for the first time.
Compared to other small animals like mice, rats, and hamsters (that are all actually omnivores), guinea pigs are herbivores and are much less likely to bite. There is always a chance that an individual pig is just a bit mean or aggressive, but in general guinea pigs are very friendly and chill animals.
Reasons Why a Guinea Pig Might Bite
Even though most guinea pigs don’t bite, if your guinea pig is biting you there may be a reason why.
Maybe your guinea pig was mistreated. If you rescued your guinea pig or adopted it from a shelter, then you probably won’t know much about their background. If your guinea pig is aggressive and biting you any time you try to handle it or pick it up, then maybe it was handled roughly in the past. In this case, you’ll need to do a lot of taming and work to gain your piggy’s trust.
Another reason a guinea pig could be biting is if they are in pain. Some medical conditions can cause extreme pain (like mites, broken bones, injuries, etc.). If your guinea pig has been friendly but has suddenly started to bite when you pick them up, then you might want to book them a vet appointment to make sure they don’t have a painful issue going on.
Some guinea pigs may also just be very insecure. For example, if a guinea pig is kept by itself in a tiny cage, and the only interaction it gets is when a child gets it out to “play” with it, then it’s probably going to be defensive whenever it’s handled. Make sure children are always supervised with pets and be sure you are keeping your piggy with at least one other piggy in the proper size enclosure (minimum size for 2 pigs is 7.5 square feet).
Final Thoughts on Guinea Pig Biting
If you are keeping your guinea pigs with the proper care and conditions, then you shouldn’t have issues with your guinea pigs biting. Of course, there may be the individual piggy here or there that are just mean, but it’s much more likely that there is a cause to your piggy’s biting. Determine the cause and fix it, and you and your piggy will be much happier together!