Guinea pigs are great pets to have around. These creatures are gentle and very playful. Sometimes, while playing with them or attempting to hold them, you feel their mouth and teeth on your skin. For that reason, you may wonder if guinea pigs bite.
So, do guinea pigs bite? Yes, guinea pigs do bite. This is usually something that is trying to cause them harm and biting is their way of self-defense. There are 3 main reasons why guinea pigs may bite and they are usually fear, loneliness, and pain.
Is My Guinea Pig Biting Me?
There’s a difference between biting and mouthing. Most of the time, it’s likely that your guinea pigs are mouthing you. This means they are using their teeth to feel for food or to see if your hand is edible.
Once they realize that you’re not food, they will stop mouthing.
A bite will cause a bit of pain but not enough to cause an injury. Their teeth are not sharp enough to bite through your skin and cause bleeding.
Sometimes, if you hold them too tight or they feel threatened, they may bite you trying to escape. The pressure from their bite will cause you to remove your hand away from them. However, it will not be enough to cause injury.
Do Guinea Pigs Bite Hurt?
A guinea pig bite will not hurt you. Their teeth aren’t sharp enough to puncture your hand. Their bite will be somewhat of a nibble. Most of the time, they will mouth your hands, but this is to see if you’re edible or you have something on your hands.
When the guinea pigs realize that your hand isn’t food, they will stop nibbling on it.
Why Is My Guinea Pig Biting Me?
Guinea pigs are calm creatures and they will never bite unless they are threatened. When it comes to the pet owner, there could be several reasons why they may bite you.
The most common reason is the smell of your clothes. Guinea pigs have a very acute smell and can sense danger. If they smell other pet’s scent on you, they may bite you if you try to hold them.
They mean no harm, but it’s their instinct to bite to try to escape danger. Guinea pigs are at the bottom of the food chain and they are prey to many other creatures, even cats and dogs.
When they bite you, they think a cat or dog is nearby. Their instant reaction is to bite you to try to escape.
For that reason, before handling your pet guinea pigs, if you’ve pet or played with your other pets, make sure to wash your hands and change your clothes. This way, they won’t feel threaten and bite you.
Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Bite
Is my guinea pig afraid?
One of the reasons why your guinea pig bite could be something that is scaring them. This could be other pets in the house, loud noise, and even a stranger.
If you have other pets such as a cat or dog in the house, this could cause them to fear. Since guinea pigs are small creatures, they make easy prey for cats and dogs. While your other pet won’t harm the cavies, their instinct will cause them to be wary of them.
If you’ve just recently played or pet your cat or dog, the scent will be on your hands and arms. As you go to pick up the guinea pigs, they will smell the scent and bite you.
Is my guinea pig in pain?
Another reason why your guinea pig is biting is due to the pain they have. If you hold your guinea pigs and they start to bite you, you may be holding them too tight.
Also, it could be an illness or injury they have. If they are injured, by picking them up, they will be in a lot of pain and they will start to bite.
A disease they have could also cause biting. Diseases such as mange can be very painful for them. If they do have mange and you try to pick them up, they will start biting.
Is my guinea pig lonely?
If the guinea pig starts to bite on their cage, this could be a sign that they are lonely. If you have just one guinea pig, this is usually the cause. Guinea pigs are social animals and it’s best to keep them in pairs.
If being lonely isn’t the cause for biting, the only other potential cause is testosterone if your guinea pig isn’t neutered. If this is the problem for biting, you’ll either need to find them a mate or consider taking them to the veterinarian to get them neutered.
Why Guinea Pigs Bite Each Other?
If you have more than one guinea pig in the cage, biting is usually normal for them. This usually happens when you have an adolescent guinea pig in the cage. When they are in the cage with an older guinea pig, the younger one will start to bite them.
This is normal as long as it’s not too frequent. If the biting becomes too often or they get into a fight, it’s best to keep them in separate cages.
How To Train Your Guinea Pig Not To Bite?
Guinea pigs are very docile creatures, which means they will rarely bite without a cause.
To prevent them from biting, you’ll need to train your guinea pig not to bite. This can be accomplished by teaching them to not be afraid of you.
It won’t happen right away so don’t expect them to not bite you again after a day.
You can start by placing a treat on your finger and training them to eat off your finger. They may be slow to grab it off your finger at first, but gradually they will. This may take a couple of days or even weeks.
Once they get used to feeding off your finger, they will have a bond with you. Since they are not afraid of your anymore, there will be no need for them to bite.
Guinea pigs will usually bite if there’s a reason behind it. You’ll need to find the reason to stop them from biting. Other than that, these gentle creatures will not bite you.