Guinea pigs are docile and sweet rodents that look uber cute nibbling hay in their cage – or is this just a myth?
Turns out, these sweet guinea pigs can be pretty aggressive and get into fights, in which they have the potential to mortally wound their cage mate.
Survival is an evolutionary instinct that’s prevalent in every living organism, and guinea pigs are no different.
They will exhibit aggression – and sometimes, murderous tendencies – because it’s how animals have been programmed.
So if you’re wondering whether guinea pigs can kill each other, let’s find out.
Can Guinea Pigs Kill Each Other?
Yes – guinea pigs can be very aggressive. They have sharp teeth and claws, which can wound one another, and in some rare cases, the victim guinea pig can succumb to their wounds and die.
Whether it’s a new cage mate, a partner, or even babies, guinea pigs do have the tendency to exhibit strange behavior.
Some guinea pigs may end up eating tiny offspring, fighting with a particularly docile cage mate, or even start a war over food and let the other guinea pig starve.
Animals are enigmatic creatures, as are guinea pigs, but over centuries of domestication, humans have figured out a way to prevent guinea pigs from killing one another.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Get Aggressive?
Before we get to the preventative measures, it’s important to understand why guinea pigs can get aggressive.
It’s important to understand the root cause and nip it in the bud before the guinea pigs become a threat to one another.
There are certain environmental, social, and personality-related reasons that can cause your guinea pigs to fight, but luckily, there are ways to deal with them.
So why do guinea pigs get mean and harm one another and what can be done about it?
To Exert Dominance
This is one of the top reasons guinea pigs fight – the century-old turf war.
When a new guinea pig is introduced to a cage, both may begin to exert dominance over territory and one another.
What does that result in? A fight, of course – and if one guinea pig is particularly bigger than the other, there is a chance the bigger one can kill the small one.
As a Reaction to Environmental Changes
Guinea pigs can also be aggressive when environmental changes occur, like changing the cage or hutch.
Turns out, guinea pigs strongly dislike change in the environment and respond by being aggressive.
They can attack their owners’ hands or even take their aggression out on other cage mates. Having long nails and teeth is just like having built-in weapons!
As A Reaction to Dietary Changes
As said earlier, guinea pigs are very sensitive to changes – in fact, they hate it and it can bring out aggression in them, which can be expressed towards other guinea pigs.
Dietary changes are one of the changes that guinea pigs don’t like, so if you do plan to modify your pet’s diet, do it slowly and very gradually to avoid behavioral issues.
Because Aggression Is a Personality Trait
Like any other living being, your guinea pig also has its own personality.
While one guinea pig may be docile and friendly, a certain one can naturally be a spitfire and aggressive.
The personality of your pet is very important – it determines how your pet will display aggression and whether it’s a threat to other cage mates or not.
Because There Is a Mismatch Between Cage Mates
A mismatch between cage mates can also be a major cause of aggression.
Pairing a young and active guinea pig with an older and more docile one can result in a fight.
Pairing a male with an aggressive female can also result in a fight, and at times, the wounds can be pretty bad and require a vet’s attention.
In other words, consider the personality of your guinea pig and its behavioral patterns.
How Can You Prevent Guinea Pigs From Fighting Or Being Aggressive?
So how can guinea pig owners prevent their pets from fighting and killing one another?
What can be done to tackle this problem?
Sure, guinea pigs are reputed to be super sweet and calm animals, but animal behaviorists have discovered that these little critters do have a streak of anger and aggression in them.
The aforementioned reasons for aggression are proof that certain situations and causes exist, which can turn your ordinarily docile animal into an angry one.
However, there are certain ways to make sure that your guinea pigs live in peace and aren’t a threat to one another.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
By Providing a Spacious Cage/Hutch
Having a spacious hutch or cage can make a huge difference when it comes to guinea pigs.
They won’t be competing for space or territory and there’s an ample amount of room for more than one guinea pig to survive.
As a general guideline, the minimum size for a guinea pig’s cage is a 2×3 grid cage (7.5 square feet).
This is ideal for one guinea pig, and if you plan on keeping more than one, the cage should not be less than 11.5 square feet if you want to give them both adequate space to survive.
By Not Overcrowding the Cage Or Hutch
Overcrowding the cage can also be a serious problem, which is why it’s a bad idea to do just that. It can lead to a whole fight between resources, mates, and territory, and you definitely don’t want that.
Two guinea pigs in an 11.5 square feet cage are ideal – any more and you’ll have a problem, so with every guinea pig you add, consider a large expansion.
Even guinea pigs that live in pairs and then produce offspring can go a little crazy with the lack of space, so it’s best to separate the male from the female and the babies.
By Finding a Good Match For Your Guinea Pig’s Cage Mate
You also need to find a good match for your pet if you want to avoid murder in your hutch.
You have to consider the personality of your guinea pig and the new one you’re hoping to introduce and see if they’ll get along.
However, it’s best to talk to a vet about this. Usually pairing a feisty guinea pig with a calm one works out well, but pairing two similarly feisty guinea pigs together can result in a good and bad situation.
Ideally, make sure your guinea pigs are the same gender, are around the same age, and have similar personalities or are polar opposites.
By Pairing a Male and Female Together
A great way to avoid guinea pigs from fighting is to pair a male and female together.
The natural instinct to pair and mate takes over and that maintains harmony in the cage or hutch.
However, never make the mistake of pairing one female with two males – the males will actually fight to the death for sexual dominance and territory, so that can get pretty messy.
By Observing and Seeing If the guinea Pigs Get Along
Another way to prevent your pigs from fighting and getting aggressive is to observe them vigilantly in the beginning and see whether they get along or not.
Guinea pigs are animals that need companionship, but like any other pairing, the match can be a bad one, too.
So make sure to observe your pets and see how they react to changes.
Guinea pigs can kill one another in very rare cases.
They can definitely wound one another when they fight over the usual things like mating, territory, food, and resources, but animals are dynamic beings, and anything can trigger a fight.
However, you need not worry about your guinea pigs fighting – it is a very rare instance when they do.
Guinea pigs are evolutionarily programmed to exist in pairs so usually they’re scared of a new cage mate rather than being hostile towards it.
But also be wise with your decisions – if your pet has never liked the company of another cage mate, don’t make the decision to introduce another cage mate to the same guinea pig!
If you do observe your guinea pigs having random scratches and bleeding snouts, it’s best to separate them because they don’t get along.
You can also ask your vet for advice and definitely get veterinary help for the wounds.
Other than that, guinea pigs are super sweet animals to keep.
Many owners have actually trained their pets to be little cuddle buddies and exist outside the cage, which means they’re very adaptable and intelligent creatures!
So as long as the hutch or cage has enough space, tons of water, a lot of hay and other chewable and ample food, your guinea pigs shouldn’t get into a fight at all!
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