Guinea pigs are cute animals and have a friendly nature but they do have those long incisors.  

Looking at them would make you think that it would only be natural that they bite but the question is do they bite?  The answer is generally no, they do not bite but if they do, why and how to prevent it.

Reasons Why They Bite

  • Although this sounds funny, the most common reason they bite is that they need to pee so you need to let them go so they can do that.
  • You may be trying to hold it too often because most guinea pigs do not like to be held that much.  They become irritated and bite as their way of letting you know they want down.
  • A noisy environment and it is making them feel uncomfortable
  • Fear because they have developed a negative emotion to someone who has mishandled them before.  
  • Although they are running around and playing, they could have some discomfort or pain due to a bruise or sprain you cannot see and when you pick them up, they bite because it is painful.
  • Your hands may smell like something they usually eat so they think your hand or fingers are that food and they are trying to feed.
  • If you are playing with your guinea pig and they bite, it is their way of telling you that they want to be left alone for a while.
  • If they have parasites or mites, they will usually bite anyone that is holding it because they are not feeling well.
  • You may not be handling your guinea pig the right way and cause them to feel insecure, 
  • Sometimes it is because they are lonely.  You may be giving them lots of love and attention, and they have toys to play with but it is not the same as having a mate.
  • Bored in their cage and they can become irritated and aggressive
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guinea pig monster e1589729903630

Why do They Bite Each Other

When you have more than one guinea pig in a cage it is normal for them to bite each other.  This generally happens when one of the guinea pigs is an adolescent.  The younger one will generally bite the older one.  As long as it not too frequent, it is nothing to worry about.  If they are biting each other frequently or seem to be fighting you should put them in separate cages.

How to Prevent a Guinea Pig From Biting

  • One of the first things that you need to do if your guinea pig bites you is to put it down because it may have to pee.  Watch your guinea pig and see if they run over to urinate.
  • To make them feel secure, use a cloth or towel to pick them up.
  • Do not just carry it from place to place and don’t swing it around to give it to someone else.  They need to feel secure when they are held
  • Be very calm and extra gentle when picking them up.
  • If they are feeling lonely, you could always get another guinea pig.  
  • If it is possible, let your guinea pig out of its cage so it can run around the house but make sure that when you are not home, it stays in its cage.
  • Always wash your hands before handling your guinea pig so you can rid of any unpleasant smells or anything that smells like food.
  • Reduce its anxiety level by keeping their cage in a quiet area of the house.  
  • Treat your guinea pig with kindness and love and it will soon associate those two things with you and will be less likely to bite.
  • When you first get your guinea pig home, do not try to handle it right away.  Put it in its cage and give it time to look around and get used to its new surroundings.  It needs time to relax after being taken from one environment to another.
  • If your guinea pig bites you after picking it up, look to see if there are any visible injuries.  Check its cage to see if there is anything that it could have hurt itself on.  If it continues to bite or act in pain, you should see your veterinarian to have your guinea pig checked out.
  • Reward your guinea pig for good behavior with a special treat that it likes.  For example, if they let you hold them, play with them, without getting agitated and biting,  then reward them.  They will soon associate getting a treat for not biting.  Do not push your guinea pig past their limits.  Just do it for a minute or two.
  • If their cage is too small making them uncomfortable, then you should get them a larger cage.  You may also have to include some new toys to help ease the boredom.
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guinea pig with theeth

Are Guinea Pig Bites Dangerous

Most of their bites are little nibbles and do not hurt that much but if they become aggressive their bite can break the skin and hurt.  If they do break the skin and it bleeds, you should immediately wash your hands with soap and hot water.  You can then pour peroxide over it and when dry, put some antibiotic cream on it and cover with a Band-Aid.  Small rodents like a guinea pig do not spread rabies so their bite is not dangerous.

Conclusion

  • Biting is a defense mechanism for a guinea pig.
  • They could bite to show dominance, discourage unwanted attention, or gain attention.
  • When your guinea pig bites you, be observant as to why they might have done that.
  • Do not stick your fingers through the bars of their cage because that can make them feel threatened and they will bite.
  • If they nibble on you it could be just a way of showing their affection, it is licking the salt from your hand, or it is hungry.
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