Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More
6 Reasons Guinea Pigs Bite, and How to Stop It
If you have just purchased your first guinea pig and notice that it seems to be biting you or the objects in its cage, it’s common to have questions about why your pet is exhibiting this behavior and what you can do to stop it. Keep reading while we tackle these questioned and show you how to figure out what’s going on with your guinea pig.
Before We Start
The first thing you should know about your guinea pig is that its bite will not harm you. A bite from a guinea pig will rarely break the skin, and it’s much more of a nibble than a bite. It can be startling to have a guinea pig suddenly begin gnawing on your finger, but there is no danger, and these pets are perfectly safe for children.
Reasons for Biting
While no one is sure why hamsters or any pets do the things they do, there are some good ideas backed up by strong evidence that we can discuss.
Your guinea pig is a kind of rodent, and like all rodents, it learns more about its environment by chewing (nibbling) things. It will often nibble on any new objects you place into its cage, but not to destroy them and learn about them. It will also nibble on things to learn its way around your home, and it can use this system to learn complex paths to food, and it will remember them for several months.
2. You smell like food
If your pet continuously nibbles on your fingers when you pick it up, even after it has had time to get to know you, there is a chance that you smell like food to it. Guinea pigs love fruits and vegetables, and if you have recently handled some, your pet might smell it on you and start to nibble.
3. Feeling uncomfortable
If your guinea pig is a baby or a stranger is handling it, there is a good chance it feels uncomfortable and needs time to adjust. In the meantime, it might do some extra nibbling to learn more and to convince you to put it down.
4. Needs to use the bathroom
If you often handle your pet and feel it knows who you are, it could need to use the bathroom if it suddenly starts to bite you. Your guinea pig will try to warn you it needs to use the restroom long before it relieves itself in your hands. It’s important to learn this signal so you can return them to their cage in time to prevent an accident.
One of the more serious reasons your guinea pig might start to nibble on you is that it’s frightened. Since these pets are fleeing animals, they will only bite when feeling trapped or pushed into a corner.
6. Feeling unwell
If you have handled your guinea pig for years and are sure that the biting you are experiencing is something new, it could be that your pet is not feeling well. Nibbling is a primary way to communicate, as we know from them telling us when they need to use the bathroom. They will also tell you if they are not feeling well.
The most likely reason your pet is nibbling is that it is simply exploring its environment and learning how to get around. If you have just placed something new in its cage or in its regular path, it will need to explore that as well. Guinea pigs will not hurt you, and you should not be afraid to let it nibble on your finger to bond with you and to let you know when it needs to use the bathroom.
We hope you have enjoyed our look into this strange behavior and what you can do to stop it. If you have learned something new, please share this guide to the six reasons that guinea pigs bite on Facebook and Twitter.
Related Guinea Pig Reads:
Featured Image Credit: Dmytro Vietrov, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.