Are Guinea Pigs Aggressive?

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Learning about the behavior of a pet before buying one is a great idea. While some domestic animals are playful and affectionate, others may show signs of being unfriendly and dangerous. Speaking of pets that are not friendly, you’ll possibly want to know, are guinea pigs aggressive?

No, guinea pigs are not aggressive animals, under normal conditions. Nevertheless, factors such as a change in environment, carrying them carelessly, health issues, can make them show aggression. Naturally, cavies don’t cause problems to their owners because they are calm, small animals. 

Now you know that guinea pigs don’t misbehave except there are certain factors in their environment causing discomfort. What are these factors? Why do guinea pigs become aggressive?

Get comfortable and prepare to gain new knowledge!

Why Do Guinea Pigs Become Aggressive?

Like most small pets, guinea pigs are friendly and lovable animals. But sometimes, certain things in their environment can make them behave otherwise. That’s why it is important to study your cavies very well to know what makes them show aggression.

Here are five possible reasons guinea pigs may become aggressive;

1. Health Problems

Illnesses, injuries, and serious pain can make a seemingly quiet creature angry all of a sudden. In this case, one of the first signs your guinea pigs will show while having health issues is aggression. That’s quite understandable because they need to communicate their discomfort in a certain way.

To be sure it is illnesses or injuries that are causing your cavy to act out, you’ll need to check for clear signs. Considering how delay can be dangerous, take the small pet to the vet doctor if you find something unusual. After treatment, your guinea pig should become calm as usual.

2. Improper Pairing 

Animals have different personality traits too. Guinea pigs, in this case, can either be dominant or submissive. Keeping a dominant cavy with another dominant one or two males with a female creates a fight for superiority.

Observe your guinea pigs closely to know the quiet ones and the active ones. Then keep them together in the same cage to avoid constant aggressiveness. Also, maintain a balance while keeping the male and female guinea pigs together.

3. Uncomfortable Cage

A guinea pig in a small cage

Living in a small cage can make your cavies experience discomfort, which can lead to aggression. Naturally, your small pets should be able to live in a place almost similar to their habitat in the wild. This way, they’ll be able to move freely, play, sleep and eat comfortably. 

Providing large cages for your guinea pigs should not be an issue as several pet stores are selling them. Consider your cavies’ comfort and you’ll see them behave gently.

4. Hunger/Thirst

Food and water are important to all living creatures, there’s no argument about it. Regularly forgetting to feed your guinea pigs hay, fruits, vegetables, and water can cause a serious problem. Preventing them from showing aggression in this state will be impossible.

Create a schedule of when to feed your guinea pigs and don’t miss it. They need to chew on food regularly not for nutrients alone, but to wear down teeth growth. Make feeding your guinea pigs a habit and watch their reaction every time they see you.

5. Lack Of Fun

Caging a single cavy in an enclosure with no toys can be super boring. Small pets need to play with themselves and plenty of toys to prevent boredom, thereby making them happy. Most especially, chew toys are important to wear down the growth of their teeth.

Avoid keeping a single guinea pig in a large cage. Provide cardboards, wood sticks, tunnels, and other toys for them to play with all day long. Also, consider hiding treats in some parts of their cage to make your little cavies look for them as part of having fun.

READ ALSO: DO GUINEA PIGS LIKE TO BE HELD AND PETTED?

How To Tell If A Guinea Pig Is Aggressive

A guinea pig showing its teeth

Recognizing aggressive guinea pigs is easy. However, you may misinterpret their signs and not take them seriously. In the long run, you may not like the outcome of your cavies’ behavior if you don’t pay attention to signs of aggression in them.

When you notice these signs in your guinea pigs, it means they are aggressive:

  • Hissing
  • Biting
  • Squeaking
  • Fighting
  • Teeth grinding

Of course, signs of aggressiveness can vary from one guinea pig to the other. Any strange behavior in your cavies should be a cause for concern.

What Should I Do If My Guinea Pig Is Aggressive?

We’ve talked about reasons your guinea pigs can show signs of aggression earlier. When you notice these behaviors in them, here are 6 things you need to do;

1. Avoid Scaring Them

Due to their quiet nature, guinea pigs don’t like sudden loud noises or sneaking up on them. They’ll react out of fear of danger, which might be similar to showing signs of being aggressive. Take everything slow and reduce noises around your little cavies.

2. Increase Their Cage Size

Housing many guinea pigs in a small house is not advisable; they need plenty of space. Consider getting a larger cage, especially if they are more than two. By doing this, you’re creating a comfortable environment for them.

3. Provide Toys For Them

In case you don’t know, guinea pigs can also experience boredom. Besides, they need something to chew regularly because of their teeth. Buy toys from the pet store for your cavies, especially chewable ones. 

Engaging your tiny pets with something to do reduces stress and the chances of being angry.

4. Look Out For Health Problems

Thoroughly check for bruises, injuries, mites, and other possible issues that can cause health issues in your guinea pigs. When going through body discomfort, your cavy will likely sit at a spot, lose appetite and behave angrily. Take your little pet to the vet doctor for proper care when you notice injuries or sickness.

5. Give Enough Food and Water

Never underestimate the power of hay, fruits, vegetables, and water in the body of your guinea pigs. Give them enough diet, especially nutritious fruits such as oranges, mangoes, apples, bananas, and more. If you want to introduce a new food to them, provide a little amount at a time to prevent stomach upset.

6. Handle Them With Care

Carrying your guinea pigs carefully makes them feel safe and comfortable. Whenever you want to hold a guinea pig, ensure it feels complete support on both hands. And if the cavy shows signs of being uncomfortable, return it to the cage.

READ ALSO: DOES GUINEA PIG MAKE A GOOD PET?

What Does An Angry Guinea Pig Sound Like?

Funnily, cavies sometimes make the same sounds that can mean different things. Keep in mind this is one of the ways they communicate their needs. So, when you hear the following sounds, your guinea pig is likely angry;

1. Hissing

One common sound your guinea pigs will make when angry is hissing loudly. It would be best to give a solution to whatever is making them angry or move away from their environment. Refusal to take this action may earn you some biting or scratching. 

2. Whining

Discomfort from health issues or other factors in the environment can cause anger and whine in your little pets. Take the necessary action by checking for abnormalities in their body and seeking the vet’s attention if possible. Most of the time, something is not right in your cavy’s body when it whines.

3. Chattering The Teeth

Teeth chattering is a clear sign that your guinea pig is very angry and may bite anyone that comes around. You’ll notice this sign by the way your cavy opens its teeth, showing signs of being ready to attack the other guinea pigs or you. Maintain a distance whenever this happens before seeking a solution to the underlying problem.

READ ALSO: DOES GUINEA PIGS BITE?

Are Guinea Pigs Aggressive To One Another?

Yes, guinea pigs can be aggressive to one depending on several factors. Come to think of it, not all these tiny pets have the same personality make-up. While some will behave calmly, others might act directly opposite

Some of the factors that can cause aggressiveness among guinea pigs include hunger or thirst, improper pairing, exercising dominance, and a small cage.

Are Pregnant Guinea Pigs Aggressive?

No, pregnant guinea pigs are not usually aggressive under normal situations. At this stage, they need to receive extra care and attention from you. Unavailability of healthy food and water, an uncomfortable living environment, and other factors can make a pregnant guinea pig aggressive. 

Are Male Guinea Pigs Aggressive?

Yes, male guinea pigs tend to be aggressive just to exercise dominance when another male is around. This is quite understandable because of their bold nature. As a pet owner, avoid keeping two or more boars (male pigs) in a cage with a sow (female pig) to prevent fights.

In addition, ensure you provide hay, chewable toys, fruits, and vegetables for your male cavies regularly. And if you notice any sign of illness in them, consult the vet doctor. 

Taking these important actions will make your little male pets behave peacefully among themselves.

Are Female Guinea Pigs Friendly?

Yes, female guinea pigs are usually friendly except there’s something in their environment causing discomfort. Sows have a calm nature and would allow you to carry them especially if they are familiar to you. It is uncommon to find a group of sows fighting one another, but it happens sometimes.

READ ALSO: ARE GUINEA PIGS RODENTS?

Frequently Asked Questions;

Can You Put Male Guinea Pigs In The Same Cage?

Yes, you can put male guinea pigs in the same cage if the enclosure is large enough to house them comfortably. Guinea pigs are social small creatures and so love the company of one another. At first, the boars may fight one another when you introduce them to their new cage but it won’t last long.

To be on the safe side, study the personalities of all your cavies and create a balance when pairing them. Putting two to three quiet boars in a cage will often lead to boredom. On the other hand, keeping more than two hyperactive male cavies together can result in constant fights. 

So, you have to mix up guinea pigs with opposite personalities and ensure their cage has enough space.

Why Are My Guinea Pigs Fighting All Of a Sudden?

Finding out that your guinea pigs are biting or harming one another suddenly can be confusing. Normally, you’ll be imagining different things that may result in this change of behavior.

Here are some of the possible reasons your guinea pigs are fighting;

1. Poor Health

a weak guinea pig

One of the things guinea pigs are good at is hiding their poor state of health from pet owners. It is a defense mechanism they use while living in the wild to prevent attacks from predators. Unfortunately, these tiny pets cannot hide ill health from one another.

Once the other guinea pigs sense that one of them is not well, they may try to take advantage of the situation. Being smart animals, the sick cavy will try to fight back which can result in more fights.

This is why you need to constantly check for mites, injuries, or diseases in your cavies. When you notice any health problem in one or two of them, call the attention of the vet doctor.

2. Puberty

About 8 to 10 months, guinea pigs mature sexually. With the increase in testosterone and other hormones, your cavies can become aggressive. As a result of this, they’ll start fighting one another.

Ensure their cage is large enough, there are plenty of toys to distract them and there is enough food. These simple actions will prevent competition.

3. Dominance

This often happens among male guinea pigs, also known as boars. Most times, they compete and fight with one another to determine the “boss” among them. Usually, it happens when a female guinea pig is in their midst.

When you notice injuries from bites and scratches, it would be best you keep the boars in separate cages.

Can Male and Female Guinea Pigs Be Housed Together?

No, it is not advisable to keep both male and female guinea pigs in a cage, unless they have not matured sexually. Female guinea pigs can produce their young as early as three to four weeks old. At this age, when they become pregnant, there will likely be a serious problem on the day of delivery.

One of the reasons to keep female guinea pigs in a cage with the males is if the sows are 8 months old and above. By then, they’ll be able to get pregnant and give birth easily.

Final Thoughts

Here’s a summary of what we talked about in this article before you leave. 

We said guinea pigs are naturally calm animals but can become aggressive as a result of discomfort in their environment. Also, we discussed the signs that your guinea pigs will give when they are angry.

Don’t forget we said there should be a balance in the personalities of the guinea pigs you keep in the same cage. Provide toys, enough food, water, and a large cage for your cavies to prevent aggression.

Finally, do not house male and female guinea pigs together except the sows can give birth without difficulty.


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