Guinea pigs are quiet yet social creatures that don’t demand much of your time and attention, yet they become more interactive and friendly when you tend to them.
If a guinea pig is a solitary pet, it will deeply bond with its owner, chirping, purring, and whistling every time they see them.
However, what many people don’t know is that guinea pigs can also be quite aggressive and angry.
Can Guinea Pigs Bite or Be Aggressive?
Guinea pigs make really adorable pets, but they can be aggressive at times.
Even though they rarely display signs of aggressiveness, especially to their human companions or owners, it is still common for them to become aggressive when placed in groups.
Stress and overcrowding are two of the biggest causes of aggression. Mixing guinea pigs and overcrowding their cage can cause them to start fighting.
This is due to the established pecking order of guinea pigs, which is usually male-dominated.
Male guinea pigs can become very aggressive towards other males, especially in the presence of female guinea pigs, causing tension within the cage.
Secondly, it is difficult for guinea pigs to adapt to changes in their diet or environment, which leads to stress and results in hair barbering.
They often display their aggression by biting or making biting threats. You have to be careful because intervening in their fights can harm you.
Common Types of Aggression
It is easy to identify when your pet is behaving in an unusual manner. If you find your guinea pig is biting or threatening to bite, then it is being very aggressive.
It is important to understand why your fluffy little friend is displaying such violent behavior.
Here are a few common types of aggression that your guinea pig might exhibit:
Guinea pigs tend to get very aggressive when confronted with a perceived threat.
They become extremely uncomfortable, especially when they’re faced with situations in which they have no opportunity to escape.
When you find your pet displaying signs of fear aggression towards you or someone else, don’t try to handle your guinea pig.
Rather, try offering different treats— something it loves eating— or pet it gently.
Guinea pigs function in a fairly similar manner to humans; doing the aforementioned activities can help them calm down greatly.
Once your petting has calmed the guinea pig, you can work on handling it.
Avoid placing your little pet in scenarios where it can regress due to fright.
Don’t try handling it during a thunderstorm or when there are a lot of loud noises around the house.
It is only natural for all living things, namely humans and animals, to be protective of their territory.
They tend to display signs of aggression if they feel like someone is invading their territory or space.
If your guinea pig bites your hand when you try to pick up or place something in its cage, then they are showing territorial aggression.
It only tends to act in an aggressive or threatening way when it finds you near its home and is displeased about it.
In case you want to stop your guinea pigs from acting aggressively towards an intruder, you should sit next to its cage and read a book out loud.
You can also try training your guinea pig through positive reinforcement –place a treat in its cage and then slowly advance towards the cage and offer it another treat.
Treats serve as a great distraction for guinea pigs.
They help establish a strong relationship by informing the guinea pig that you’re someone who can be relied on and trusted rather than shooed away.
Bonding and trust-building to reduce territorial aggression take time.
If you want to deal with this matter immediately, then your only chance would be to wear a thick pair of gloves when feeding or removing items from your guinea pig’s cage to avoid being bitten.
It takes a while for your pet to get accustomed to you or someone new. It is important for them to believe that you aren’t a threat to their territory.
However, it is crucial to remember that physical punishment isn’t warranted.
Illness or Injury Aggression
Aggression in guinea pigs can also be triggered due to an illness or injury.
When these cute little creatures fall ill, they tend to act very angrily.
If you have only one guinea pig and it has a tendency of showing aggressive behavior, you should take it to the vet.
Telling Apart Between Aggression and Abnormal Behavior in Guinea Pigs
Even though guinea pigs rarely display signs of aggression, it is important to know when they do.
As a guinea pig owner, you’re responsible for monitoring their behavioral changes.
If you see your little pet excessively vocalizing, biting its cage, or pulling hair, these are signs of anger and protest.
There may be things that might be making your pet angry, causing it to behave this way.
Aggression, however, slightly varies from abnormal behavior.
Aggression in guinea pigs can be triggered due to various reasons, causing them to bite their owner or cage mates.
Indicators of Aggression in Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs tend to show aggressive behavior when more guinea pigs are added to the environment.
Guinea pigs show certain signs of aggression. The first sign is teeth chattering. You might find your pets rearing up at one another with open mouths.
Your guinea pig may also walk with its rump in the air to display aggressiveness.
Indications of injury or blood within the cage are also signs of aggressiveness.
If you notice this type of behavior, you should immediately separate the animals.
If the situation gets a bit more extreme, it is recommended that you get counseling from your local animal rescue.
Additionally, if any of your guinea pigs are wounded, it is crucial that you instantly rush them to the vet as they are highly likely to get infections on a wound.
Recommended Guinea Pig Combinations
Guinea pigs are highly sociable and friendly creatures that should be kept in pairs or small groups.
However, when introducing a new guinea pig pet to a cage, it is important that you monitor their reactions to see if they’re getting along.
There are a few recommended combinations to make your decision easier.
You can keep two or more sows that have a similar character.
For instance, both of them should be confident or shy; otherwise, the stronger one will bully the weaker ones.
Secondly, you can mix two boars. Again, you must pay attention to their character traits as two strong personalities may end up fighting.
However, a calmer male will get along well with a strong character. Lastly, a neutered boar can be placed with one or more sows.
Females tend to be happier living with neutered males.
How to Reduce Aggression In Guinea Pigs
To reduce aggression in guinea pigs, it is crucial to determine the reasons behind their aggressiveness.
If new guinea pigs have been added to the cage of your existing pet, then there are chances they might not be getting along.
Male guinea pigs, especially non-neutered ones, tend to assert dominance by acting aggressively in front of females.
Therefore, it is best to avoid adding them to a cage or consider neutering it.
Dominance is not only based on testosterone levels but it’s still recommended to avoid placing different genders of guinea pigs in a cage.
In order to stop the aggression within the cage, you can try separating the guinea pigs from each other for a night or two.
This will help in the stabilization of their nerves and will also cause the aggression to settle down.
You can then try reintroducing them to the same space, but ensure that you monitor their behavior closely.
Also, make sure that the cage is big enough for both the creatures to avoid overcrowding.
Another method includes using positive reinforcement. This will help you establish an effective and trusting relationship with your pet.
It will also enable your guinea pig to become more confident.
This way, your fluffy little creature will be able to adjust to new situations and people in a better manner.
Guinea pigs are low-maintenance creatures that aren’t destructive like other animals.
However, in some cases, they can show signs of aggression.
The worst aggressive behavior that they display is biting off the cage, your hand, or their cage mates.
Even in the worst case, you can calm down your guinea pig by taking care of it
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