Why do guinea pigs bite? Simple, it’s because of their instinct. It is a simple defense mechanism of an animal to protect themselves from danger.
I can attest to that fact; that’s what Ginger did the first time I got him. It takes time for me to tame him. Eventually, he got used to me. And he never ever bit me again.
Here’s what you should take note of:
Guinea pigs are very gentle pets that don’t usually bite when well cared for. There are some instances that they do bite or nibble but don’t happen without any reason.
It’s only natural for guinea pigs to defend themselves from danger. I mean, what animal who doesn’t?
Even people also feel threatened when we sense danger.
If your guinea pig keeps on biting you, it is essential to know the reasons why. So you could do something or make them stop doing it. (please read here How to entertain Guinea pig)
Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Do Bite
The question is:
Why do guinea pigs bite? Everything has a reason. That means that there are some reasons why guinea pigs bite. Let’s find out what these are!
#1. They feel a threat
Animals, humans even, have their defense mechanisms when they feel that they are in danger.
Don’t worry; it’s natural. It’s not something that you should worry about. (Please read here Why do Guiena Pig cry)
#2. They smell food
Animals have a keen sense of smell.
Meaning they can smell the last food you ate with your hands if you haven’t washed them.
Of course, the poor little guinea pig would mistakenly bite your fingers, thinking it is food.
That’s the reason why you should not allow your pet to get hungry; feed it with healthy food such as cucumbers(why Cucumbers for Guinea pigs), asparagus(can Guinea pig eat asparagus), cauliflower, basil, and more!
#3. They’re in pain
Perhaps you don’t know that your pet is feeling pain.
The discomfort can be associated with minor injuries or aches within the body. Or maybe it’s because of you managing them.
You might be holding them too tight that they would feel suffocated.
If they do still bite you, try consulting your veterinarians for the recommendation
#4. They need to visit the toilet
Have you noticed your guinea pigs fidgeting while holding them for a long time?
Those fidgeting is a sign that they need to use the restroom. Not that they have to go to the bathroom, but they need to pee.
Biting you might be their way to say, “I’ve had enough cuddle for now, and I need to pee.”
Just bear in mind that guinea pigs tend to pee at an average of 15minutes interval, or they may end up biting or having them wet in your hands.
Ways To Stop Them From Biting
Don’t worry, and I will show you some ways to stop your guinea pigs from biting you. Here’s how:
#1. Clean hands
As mentioned above, guinea pigs are sensitive to smell.
And if you’re wondering, why your pet guinea pig nibbles you then you should sit down and think, “What’s the last thing you touched with your hands?”
Your guinea pig might be biting you due to the smell of food in your hands.
It is best to wash those hands of yours first before handling your cavy. Get rid of the smell if you want your cavy to stop biting you.
Handle your guinea pigs with gentle care.
Swinging it around and passing from one person to another creates fear in your guinea pig.
Once it feels anxious, there is a high chance of biting you.
To handle your cavy with care and be gentle and calm when picking them up.
#3. A companion
It is also possible that your guinea pigs bite you because it is lonely. Adding a companion wouldn’t be a bad idea if you can afford it.
They might start to bite each other, but eventually, they will get used to each other’s presence.
You can’t be with your guinea pig 24/7 so having some playing is an excellent idea.
Let him play around the house. There is a chance that your guinea pig is biting you because there is not enough room or space to play around.
Letting them run loose could establish trust between you two. They would feel more comfortable in your house and with you.
But remember to keep watch while they run around, or else something might happen.
#5. Make it feel safe
Your pet guinea pig is like a baby. They need extra care and attention. They react to threat and defend themselves from danger.
Talking to them harshly, although they can’t understand you, they could react and bite you instead.
They can read expressions too, you know. They’ll see if you’re angry or what.
What To Avoid
These are some things to avoid doing for your guinea pigs to stop from biting you.
#1. Too much audience
What is more fearsome than having stage fright?
Well, not all of us enjoy having too much audience; it’s the same with your guinea pigs.
Seeing too many people scares them also. New faces might scare them.
So it is best to show your guinea pigs with 2-3 persons only, or they might bite you.
#2. Too fragrant
Perfumes might be alluring and smell nice for you. But that doesn’t go well with everybody, which includes your pet cavy too.
Too much perfume can trigger your guinea pigs to bite you because of the strong smell.
#3. Loud noises
Upon hearing loud noises at an instant makes you want to jump out of surprise, right?
It is the same manner that your guinea pigs react. They might be biting you because of the sudden loud noises they hear.
Your guinea pig, when startled, can flinch or generate a high whine. So never grab your pet because it will probably bite you when it detects fear.
Mites are parasites that feed off your guinea pig’s skin. Make sure that there is no lice or mites that are living in your guinea pig’s fur.
Mite bites could be why your guinea pig keeps on biting you when you pick it up.
Because of these lice and mites, wounds from scratching and all those itchings might infect and be painful for them when you touch or try to pick them up.
In order to ensure cleanliness, use a high-quality non-irritating shampoo made for guinea pigs; this can surely avoid mites to stick in your pet’s fur. If you ask me, I buy only what’s best for Ginger.
To ensure your guinea pig’s comfort towards you, look for bruises and wounds that may be in their body.
It is not that rare to have those kinds of injuries while they play, but you’ll need to try and fix their play place to make sure they stay safe.
Their bruises might be why they keep biting you when they feel hurt when you pick them up.
Why do guinea pigs bite? There are various reasons, so it is not the same every time.
They may smell food, feel threatened, or need to pee.
Your guinea pigs biting you doesn’t necessarily mean that they hate you. These types of pets are gentle, thus need gentle care too.
If your guinea pigs still keep on biting you, there might be something wrong.
Visit your attending veterinarian for professional advice and recommendation.
Delbert Curtis is a senior writer at Petcosset, a leading online resource for pet care information. With over 10 years of experience in the pet industry, Delbert is passionate about helping pet owners provide the best care possible. He has written extensively on pet health, nutrition, training, and behavior. Delbert is dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the pet industry to provide the most accurate and helpful information to Petcosset’s readers. Delbert enjoys spending time with his pets and exploring the great outdoors when he’s not writing.