Buying a pet that bites you or other people around can be a cause for concern. In this case, knowing if guinea pigs can bite or not is very important. I know it may have crossed your mind at a time that, do guinea pigs bite?
Without keeping you in suspense, the quick response is yes. Guinea pigs do bite.
But why do these innocent-looking, adorable guinea pigs bite and how can you train them not to bite? Well, I’ll advise you to keep reading to gain a better understanding of their behaviors. So, sit back and let’s learn new things about guinea pigs together.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Bite?
First, you need to understand that guinea pigs don’t bite like wild animals. You’ll hardly feel serious pain or deep bruises on your skin if a guinea pig bites but you may get hurt.
Now, this can be a bit confusing but you’ll understand later. Just continue reading.
As of now, no one knows why these little creatures bite. However, there have been proofs of why they behave that way. Here are the possible reasons guinea pigs bite:
Understandably, a guinea pig will likely bite your fingers if it’s feeling scared. Naturally, animals put up a fight when they feel threatened.
Like the common saying goes like this, “attack is the best form of defence”. Whenever a guinea feels helpless, that is, unable to escape from a closed place, it will likely bite you.
So, don’t take it seriously. Your guinea pig is just scared.
2. Feeling Discomfort
Don’t be surprised if your guinea pig nibbles on your finger or that of your visitor while carrying it. Usually, it takes some time for pets like that to adjust to a new environment, especially newborns. At that point, it would be best if you put it down for a while.
3. Something Smells Delicious
No doubt, guinea pigs love fruits and vegetables and also have a good sense of smell. They’ll likely bite your hands repeatedly if you just finished cutting fruit salad without washing your hands. That’s because your hands smell deliciously like their favourite food.
4. They Don’t Feel Well
There’s a chance that your guinea pig is not feeling well if it bites strangely. With time, you should have known that nibbling on your fingers or skin is a way they pass a message across to you.
So, if you notice your guinea pig is looking pale, not eating, and biting, take it to the veterinary clinic.
5. They Feel Like Urinating
Note that a guinea pig will bite your fingers lightly if it wants to pee to prevent your cloth from getting soiled. You’ll agree that this is reasonable behaviour and they mean no harm. Holding them tight when you should put them down may cause a harder bite. In this situation, that’s not their fault but yours.
Guinea pigs are not aggressive animals. They will only bite when they are not comfortable or trying to communicate with you.
What Can Guinea Pigs Bite?
There are a lot of different things your guinea pigs can bite. To prevent them from chewing poisonous substances, it would be best if you provide healthy ones only.
Besides, guinea pigs dental health is dependent on what they bite regularly and how often they eat. I know you may be wondering why this is necessary, let me explain.
Due to their nature, guinea pigs teeth grow continuously if they don’t chew certain objects. When this happens, they will be at risk of infections from pierced skin or the inability to eat.
So, they have to keep chewing healthy foods or biting things to keep the growth of teeth in check. Even though guinea pigs bite a lot of substances, here are a few of them;
- Twigs such as apple branches, pear, birch etc
- Hay sticks
Funnily, do you know that guinea pigs sometimes bite their owner? Yes, they do. Continue reading to know why they do this.
Why Does My Guinea Pig Bite When I Hold Him?
It can be disappointing to get bitten by the guinea pig you feed and play with every day. However, you need to know that guinea pigs don’t bite without reason.
One common reason guinea pigs bite is if they need to pee and you are holding them tight. At that moment, they desperately need you to put them down.
Another reason your favourite pet is nibbling on your skin could be that you don’t wash your hands after cutting fresh fruits and vegetables. Since they love these plants and your hands smell delicious, guinea pigs will likely bite you based on this.
Sometimes, your guinea pig pets may be feeling unwell and irritated. During that period, they won’t want to be held because of their health status. Cuddling these pets forcefully could get you bitten. Studying them for some time will give you a clue as to how they behave when feeling unwell.
Other times, your guinea pig will likely bite you out of fear. Several factors in the environment like a gunshot, loud music, or fighting can scare them. They may hide in a corner as a result of this happening. Trying to bring them out or holding them tight will likely cause an unpleasant result such as biting.
Study your guinea pigs behaviour to know when to hold them and when to let go. It will go a long way in preventing you from getting bitten.
What Happens If a Guinea Pig Bites You?
Guinea Pigs can be classified among the sweetest, most gentle and friendly creatures in the animal kingdom. Sure, they bite once in a while but wouldn’t do that without one or two reasons.
Keep in mind that guinea pigs rarely bite. And if they bite you, it would not cause a serious health problem. So keep your mind at rest. However, this doesn’t mean you should not seek medical attention if you are bleeding or in pain.
Your doctor will likely prescribe some antibiotics and give you a tetanus shot to prevent complications. If you’ve not taken a tetanus shot in the last ten years, don’t hesitate to do so.
Luckily, you cannot get infected germs and diseases from guinea pigs if they bite you because these bacterias and viruses cannot survive in humans.
Nevertheless, you should take quick action if a guinea pig bites you. With the right treatment, you wouldn’t have any serious health issues.
Is a Guinea Pig Bite Dangerous?
The quick answer is no, a guinea pig bite is not dangerous. But one thing is certain, you will feel mild pains that should go within a few days.
Unlike other wild animals who are carriers of pathogens, guinea pigs will not infect you with diseases. You may bleed when bitten but it would not last long or require the service of a medical professional.
However, if the cut is deep or you feel it is infected, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. Usually, they’ll give you a tetanus shot, painkillers and antibiotics.
Where Do Guinea Pigs Usually Bite?
Guinea pigs usually bite the fingers as it is the part they come in contact with most of the time. They also have a great sense of smell and an insatiable appetite which makes it easy to confuse your fingers for food.
Ensure you wash your hands well with soap and water after cooking or cutting vegetables. On the other hand, you should try wearing gloves for some time before feeding your guinea pigs or playing with them. Whenever you are sure they can’t bite again, take the gloves off.
8 Ways Not To Make Your Guinea Pigs Bite You
Identifying the cause of a problem is the first step to providing solutions to it. Before you stop your guinea pigs from biting you, understand that there are underlying reasons behind this behaviour. Study them to know why they bite you and solutions will come naturally.
While trying to figure out ways not to make your guinea pig bite you, practise these 8 tips for a start.
1. Remove Sources of Loud Noises from their Environment
Guinea pigs love silence because of their calm nature. Hearing loud noises will create tension and fear in them. Carrying a guinea pig at that point is not advisable because it will likely bite you.
To prevent this from happening, remove all sources of noise from their environment.
2. Wash your Hands Regularly
After preparing your meal of fruits and vegetables, don’t forget to wash your hands very well. Guinea pigs have a high sense of smell and may confuse your hands for food. Carrying your favourite guinea pig with an unwashed hand will likely make him bite you.
3. Provide Large Cages for them
Some animals don’t like to be in an enclosed place. Infact, being in a solitary environment can make them bored and uncomfortable.
Ensure your guinea pigs can roam around their cage. This will create a great difference in their behaviour.
4. Allow them to Urinate
Free your guinea pig pet immediately when you notice it’s biting continuously. There’s a chance it wants to urinate and you are making this impossible by cuddling. Then observe what happens next.
5. Take them to the Veterinary Clinic Frequently
Once in a while, take your guinea pigs to the vet doctor’s office. They may be feeling unwell or have hidden bruises. Being hurt can make your guinea pigs aggressive and bite you. But you wouldn’t know this unless you take them to the vet clinic.
6. Buy more Guinea Pigs
Animals enjoy each other’s company, just like humans. Keeping one or two guinea pigs may not be a good idea. Ideally, five to ten of them is great as they will play together and feel less lonely. Although there are other ways to make your guinea pigs feel lively, buy more, for a start.
7. Ensure they are Safe
Fear is another common reason guinea pigs bite. Whenever they feel threatened in their environment, you will likely get bitten. It’s a sign of defence.
Be careful while carrying them and avoid swinging them around.
8. Prevent Mites in their Environment
Mites are the “number one” enemy of guinea pigs. If a mite bites your guinea pig, it feels uncomfortable and helpless. And there is a transfer of aggression to you from them which is in the form of biting. Check your guinea pigs body for mite regularly. Wash their cages and disinfect their environment.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
Here are some questions that might interest you too.
Can Guinea Pigs Chew Cardboard?
Yes, guinea pigs can feed on cardboards. Normally, guinea pigs feed on pulpy fibre. Their digestive system can handle it comfortably without issues. Since cardboards are pulpy fibre, your guinea pig can feed on them.
However, you should be careful while feeding them with these diets, especially the coloured cardboards. It may be poisonous to their health.
Large pieces of cardboard can cause more harm than good to them by blocking their intestines. Other times, they can choke on the pieces of cardboard and you know what that means.
To be on the safe side, feed your guinea pigs with grass, fruits and vegetables. You can get these foods at a cheap rate or free if you have a fruit garden.
It is better to be safe than sorry!
Can Guinea Pigs Be Aggressive?
Yes, guinea pigs can be aggressive. Even though they are loving and calm animals, guinea pigs can show aggression due to several factors.
Some common causes of aggression in guinea pigs include diseases, discomfort, loud noises, mite infestation, loneliness, fear and lack of proper care.
Sometimes, a guinea pig can show aggression towards another guinea pig to exercise dominance. Common signs of aggression are making loud noises, biting and fighting.
Do not separate two male guinea pigs fighting. Most times, they are exhibiting dominance at that point. Trying to stop them from fighting will get you bitten.
How Bad Does a Guinea Pig Bite Hurt?
Guinea pig bite doesn’t hurt badly. They don’t bite like dogs or other animals, thereby leaving a big and bloody mark on your skin. But they can hurt little children.
Generally, a guinea pig will not cause damage to your body and general health.
In this article, you’ve learned that guinea pigs can bite but not like other wild animals. So, if you are considering buying a few of them, feel free to do so.
Also, you learned the reasons guinea pigs bite, what they can bite, and what happens if they bite. Note that they are all understandable reasons.
Furthermore, you learned that getting bitten by these calm animals will not cause any harmful effect on your health. And they usually bite the fingers.
Remember the 8 ways not to make your guinea pig bite you, why you shouldn’t feed them with too much cardboard and why they can be aggressive.
Finally, note that a guinea pig doesn’t leave a large and bloody mark on your skin after biting you. So, keep your mind at rest.
Be assured that having guinea pigs as a pet is a great and rewarding decision.
To know more about guinea pigs feeding habits, check out this article.