Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish if your guinea pigs are fighting and how to handle it. Guinea pigs are social animals, however they can take time to warm up to another guinea pig. Sometimes when guinea pigs participate in aggressive play. As you can see from my recent YouTube Vlog, there are a few scenes where my guinea pigs seem to be fighting but that is sometimes not the case. Let me break down for you how to tell if your guinea pigs are fighting, and what you should do when your guinea pigs fight.
Are My Guinea Pigs Playing or Fighting?
Sometimes guinea pig bonding can give you the impression that they are fighting. Usually when you own more than one guinea pig, it is common for one of them to establish dominance. In my case, I usually see Tofu establish her dominance around Dumpling pretty often, you can recognize the similar habits in most of our YouTube Vlogs.
Dominance can seem a lot like fighting, but it is actually normal and can happen often. Normal bonding and dominance signs can look like chasing each other, lifting their head high, teeth chattering, rumbling, mounting, and butt-sniffing. To learn more about how guinea pigs express their dominance through sound you can visit our blog Guinea Pig Sounds and Their Meanings!
When your guinea pigs are playing you may notice they interact through behaviors and sounds. When guinea pigs are playing they will chase each other, follow each other (sometimes called piggy train), interact with the same toys and hideys like Crunchy Condo or Queen's Castle, or make purring sounds. When you witness your guinea pig behaving this way, it is safe to know that they get along.
Signs My Guinea Pigs Are Fighting
If your guinea pig is behaving more aggressively towards other guinea pigs, they may not be getting along. Some signs to distinguish fighting behavior are biting with harmful intent, drawing blood, using full force to lunge at other guinea pigs, loud aggressive teeth chattering, and/or full blown physical altercations. My guinea pigs are females, and females don’t tend to fight as much as male guinea pigs. However, they have had a few fights in the past. To learn more about why guinea pigs fight and how to prevent them, read our blog 5 Reasons Your Guinea Pigs Are Fighting.
How to Handle a Guinea Pig Fight
Once you establish that your guinea pigs are fighting, it is recommended that you separate them. Due to the fact that guinea pigs are social animals, I wouldn’t recommend that you remove them from the cage or room that they are in. Your guinea pig cage should be large enough to separate them by placing a soft object that divides the cage. This will give them the space they need to cool down, and they will still be able to see and hear their cage mate while doing so. If the aggression continues, you may need to place your guinea pig in a separate cage close by. Remember that it is also important to introduce your guinea pigs before placing them into the same cage, you can read more in our blog How to Introduce Guinea Pigs.
Want to learn more about guinea pig behavior and what it means? Read our other guinea pig blogs: