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If you think of guinea pigs the first thing that comes to mind is their cuteness and activeness. Undoubtedly, they are sweet, energetic, and, timid. They bring great joy to you. But sometimes they try to attack you and then you’re left with a question in your mind, why does my guinea pig bite me? Suddenly, you’ll be curious to know why your pet guinea pig is exhibiting this nature? What can you do to stop it? But before we start with our blog, one thing is essential to know the difference between guinea pigs nibble and bite.
Nibbling should not be confused with biting
Guinea pigs are often found pinching or tweaking which is confused with biting. Biting is very rarely observed with guinea pigs. Generally, guinea pigs nibs without opening their mouth wide opening. It can hardly harm or pains you. Guinea pigs might nib to show their love or affection while grooming. Sometimes, guinea pigs nib one another in the cage to establish the order of dominance.
So if they are nibbling at you, they are showing their love and affection to you. So don’t be confused thinking why does my guinea pig bite me?
Reasons why Guinea pigs can bite
It is quite seldom, guinea pigs bite, but if they bite there might a reason behind it. So, it is essential to know, as a guinea pig owner, whether they are bitting or nibbling. They might nibble you if they’re unhappy with you or willing to communicate with you. No one is sure why a guinea pig becomes aggressive to attack you, but there can be multiple reasons backed up by strong evidence.
- Your hands smell: This can be one of the reasons why guinea pigs try to nibble your hands. They are fond of eating fruits and vegetables and if you’ve recently handled it, the smell in your hands might fascinate them. Therefore, it is recommended to wash your hands before handling them.
- Due to fear or uncomfortableness: Sometimes, the guinea pigs can develop a negative image of a person who might have mishandled them before. Or else if a child is trying to chase them, they might feel uncomfortable and start nibbling.
- Pain or discomfort: Guinea pigs are very active animals. They keep playing around and search for food the whole day long. They might experience some bruise or sprain. This is because when a person tries to hold them, they cannot stand the pain and end up retaliating against the person.
- Needs to go to the restroom: The guinea pig might try to attack you by biting, as it can give the warning signal it could need to use the bathroom. It is important to learn this sign as if ignored, they might stop telling you later. They may begin to pee as their wish, and it can be hard to convert them back.
- Handling incorrectly: Sometimes, guinea pigs are handled incorrectly or they don’t want to be handled at all. As they can not communicate verbally they try to nibble or bite you. So if they feel insecure or feels like offending, they initiate such fighting behavior.
- Curiosity to learn: When the young guinea pigs try to communicate with their masters or express their anxiety, you will experience them nibbling around everything. It can bite around your finger when you feed them. They can also nibble your hands when you hold them or put back them to their cage.
Since now you’ve got a clear answer to your question why does my guinea pig bite me. Here explained is their bite dangerous and what is its treatment.
How dangerous Guinea pigs bite or nibbling are
Like other pets, guinea pigs do not tend to bite or can not create serious injuries. Guinea pig’s bite cannot harm you. It can barely nibble on the fingers, and it cannot break your skin or wound you. The nibbling by guinea pigs does not hurt or tend to bleed. It is rather painless. So not to worry, they’re completely safe!
But this is not the case if guinea pigs bite. Guinea pigs have sharp and long incisors. They use them to chew most of the things including hay and veggies. If it tends to bite, it opens its mouth wide and holds firmly. The person can feel the pain if it bites. In fact, you can not escape easily as they do not leave quickly and keep holding hard. The skin can also get cut and you may tend to bleed. It might take several days to heal the wound.
The young guinea pigs are less aggressive and have smaller teeth than the adult ones. So the bite of young guinea pigs is less painful than adult ones. However, the reason for the bite can also define the intensity of cut it can probably give. If the guinea pig is enraged or anxious, it may bite harder.
What happens if guinea pig bites and its treatment
The guinea pigs generally do not spread any diseases as rats or mice. Unfortunately, there are some illnesses that guinea pigs can pass to their human companions. Of course, the wild guinea pigs are a little more critical as they are more exposed to germs. This is not the case with domestic ones. If they bite, it can cause bleeding. In some cases, it may lead to some kind of skin infection like itchiness, cracking, redness or rashes.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is a rare disease that can be spread by guinea pigs to humans. It can be transmitted through infected guinea pigs’ urine, saliva, droppings, or cage material. In 2017, in the Netherlands, a physician reported three severe cases of pneumonia caused by guinea pigs. The infected people were reported to have respiratory failure caused by the bacteria Chlamydia caviae. Reportedly, conjunctivitis and rhinitis were also caused by guinea pigs.
Salmonella is another disease that can be passed to humans. It is a bacterial disease passed by the excretions of guinea pigs. It is not so serious and can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever in humans. Similar to LCM bacterial disease, undomesticated guinea pigs are also prone to spread leptospirosis. It is also a bacterial disease and can cause chills, headaches, and muscle aches.
Treatment, if Guinea Pig bites
If you’ve got a doubt “Why my guinea pig bite me?” then there can be plenty of reasons but treatment to the wounds they’ve caused can be the same every time. If they turn impatient and tend to bite, here are some remedies how to treat and get relief instantly.
- Observe the injury that the guinea pig has given. Depending on the size and shape of the teeth, the cut can be deeper.
- Remember if the cut is small and the blood drew in smaller quantity, it can be treated at home, otherwise, you need a doctor’s advice.
- Wash the infected area with soap and water.
- Clean the wound with the use of Dettol to prevent infection.
- Now apply Neosporin on the wound to recover fast. You can also apply a bandage for a day or two.
- It is advised to visit a doctor immediately if the blood does not stop in the infected area or pains severely or has a burning sensation.
How to train Guinea pig to avoid bite
Guinea pig is usually not aggressive. If you’ve got a doubt why does my guinea pig bite me? Then it is important to understand the reason behind it. Bitting is the primary outcome of fear. Some other environmental and biological reasons can be if they feel threatened, irritated, mishandled, suffering from pain, or feeling sick. You can try few possible ways if you own them so that they can not bite you.
- Remember, your guinea pig will bite if it feels stressed or bearing a high level of anxiety. Pain can cause a bite because it is correlated with its physiological issue. Without any delay, one should get them consulted to a local veterinary to get the apt treatment on time. During this time, one should avoid picking them up, as it may further cause damage to them. They have no other way to convey their feelings other than biting.
- The other effective way, in avoiding bitting from the guinea pigs is to wash and sanitize your hands properly. They have an excellent sense of smell and a sensitive nose. They correlate with some kind of food or danger if being touched with untidy hands.
- Guinea pigs have a high rate of metabolism. They usually take 15-30 minutes before they relieve their bladder. So, if you’re holding the piggy and at the same time it wants to go to urinate, it might start nibbling you. If the holder does not respond they might bite you. To avoid this situation train your guinea pig how not to litter.
- Another reason for their bitting can be the inappropriate living condition. Sometimes guinea pig is bites or chew the bars of its hutch. This may indicate that they are feeling quite boring and lonely. Since they are sociable animals and live in groups they may require a cage mate guinea pig as their companion. They will love this surprise and in fact, reward you by licking your fingers.
- Another way of preventing your guinea pigs to bite is to create a playful atmosphere in the home. Quite often we give love, and excess relaxation to the pets but don’t think about playing with them. Playing with them gives them enough exercise so that they can get tired easily and can also get a good sleep. The owners can also give them their favorite toys and further treat them with their favorite meals to keep them interested and entertained. This gives them no room to bite or nibble at their owners. The owners can also stroll them in their house garden especially during the summer seasons.
- You can also train your guinea pigs by supporting their good behavior. If they tend to bite do not reward them by giving attention. If you notice they are biting to tend your attention, leave them. Catch them later when they become calm. If you attempt to reduce its biting behavior with treats, it will associate biting and bad behavior with tasty treats. So, to teach him, good behavior avoid pampering it.
- Teach your child how to hold a guinea pig comfortably. It is very important to feel secure and comfortable. While holding them, if their feet are in the mid-air, they assume themselves to be at risk. This gives them a sense of insecurity and initiates a biting behavior in them.
- Lastly, introduce yourself to these small piggies. Sit with them, talk and spend some quality time near their cage. Give some of their favorite veggies. Avoid loud noise of TV or music system near their cage. They are afraid of cats and dogs. So keep the away. They will surely start loving you.
A final word on Guinea pig’s bite
So, if you’re thinking why does my guinea pig bite me? there are plenty of reasons behind it. The first thing is to explore its environment and learn how to get around. If you notice your guinea pig is willing to have more cage partners with him, introduce them immediately. Or try to be friendly with it. Don’t be afraid if they nibble at your fingers it will create a bond between you both.