Do Guinea Pig Bites Hurt? 3 Reasons Why A Guinea Pig May Bite
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A common question many new guinea pig owners ask is “Do Guinea Pig Bites Hurt?”
If your thinking about picking up a new guinea pig then figuring out if they bite or not is very important.
It can be frustrating to know that your new fluffy and friendly pet has a nasty side but stick with me and I’ll reveal the truth behind guinea pig biting habits.
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Do Guinea Pig Bites Hurt?
The short answer is usually no, but sometimes, yes. Overall, they are more likely to give you a nibble than a bite, which will tickle more than hurt. The chances of it hurting depends on what caused them to bite you.
If you are looking at this article as a preventive, continue reading to identify the reasons they might bite you. Proper handwashing post animal interaction should take care of most bites. If the bite has broken skin or you are bleeding, some disinfection and a bandage should take care of it.
3 Ways To Avoid Guinea Pig Bites
1. You Have Handled Food
The most common situation when a nibble might happen is when a guinea pig mistakes your hand for a piece of food. Usually, this will only be a soft bite, and once they realize that you are not a delicious carrot, they will pull away. Do not try to handle them while feeding them, until you can wash your hands.
2. They Are Trying To Communicate with You
This bite happens while you are handling them, and the depth of the bite will depend on what they are trying to communicate with you. Common behavior in some guinea pigs is tugging on their owner’s clothing or biting them to tell them that they are about to pee. The bite rarely hurts, as it is more of a warning, and if ignored they will just pee on you. This behavior might take a while to recognize if you are new to them and will take some trial and error.
If the guinea pig is scared or feels threatened, they might bite you. The severity of this will depend on their personality, and if you have ignored other signs that they have been trying to communicate their feelings to you, such as rumbling in anger.
Giving them a treat or putting them back in a place they feel safe, such as a tunnel or cage, will usually calm them and stop this behavior. In stressful situations make sure they are as comfortable as possible and feel secure. When grooming or doing health checks, plan breaks for them and treats to distract them from the situation.
3. Adolescence, Growing & Dominance
Guinea pigs are social animals and often engage in a behavior called rumble strutting, where they try to show dominance over one another. This is common in young guinea pigs, when a guinea pig is reaching adulthood and wants to challenge the current hierarchy, or when new guinea pigs are introduced.
Fighting can happen during this, and a worried guinea pig owner might try to separate them with their hand, which is drastically dangerous. Instead of using a hand, you should use a piece of cardboard, then separate them until you want to try reintroducing.
These bites and scratches are usually the worse guinea pigs can cause. As it is one of the cases where they are trying to attack, blood is often drawn, and you will require to clean the wound and watch for infection.
How To Get Your Guinea Pig To Trust You
In conclusion, do guinea pig bites hurt? Most often, no, and can easily be prevented if you get to know your guinea pig and their behavior.
Be patient and try to remain calm around them, as they are prey animals, and will try to escape if scared or attack if their way is blocked. The more time you spend with your guinea pig, the more comfortable both you and the guinea pig will be with handling, and the less stress that will be placed on them.
Hi, my name is Ayana! I am an Algonquin College Professional Writing graduate. When I am not writing I’m spending time with either my cat, three guinea pigs, beta fish, or a foster hamster.