Are Guinea Pigs Aggressive?

Are Guinea Pigs Aggressive

Guinea pigs are adorable and affectionate pets and they are favored by most people for their cuteness. Another reason for their popularity as a pet animal is their easy-going nature and simple habits. They are not demanding like other pets and you can easily manage them with little effort and care.

Are guinea pigs aggressive? Aggression in guinea pigs is not very common. However, changes in routine, abode or circumstances can trigger aggression. In case of aggression, put the aggressive pets in separate cages. Look for changes in behavior and introduce change gradually.

Symptoms of Aggression in Guinea Pigs

Although guinea pigs are quite affectionate normally, sometimes they tend to show aggressive behavior. The symptoms might include biting, fighting and squeaking. Living in a pair or a group, they might bare teeth at each other, showing unhappiness. Sometimes grinding and shaking teeth when they look at each other can be a sign that they intend to start a fight.

These signs of hostility usually subside if one of the opponents backs down and does not respond to the intimidating moves of the other. When picking a fight, the male guinea pigs mount on each other’s backs to show dominance.

Factors Influencing Aggression in Guinea Pigs

There are various reasons that aggravate aggression in these cute, little, affectionate pets. At times, moving into a new place, they might want to mark their territory or show dominance over others. This is a natural procedure that many species follow when they get into a new place. Mostly, these dominance wars don’t get to a serious level and subside as the time passes. Severe physical conflict only occurs if one of the opponents shows resilience and is not willing to surrender to its own nook.

Things That Cause Aggression in Guinea Pigs

Sometimes an injury or illness can trigger aggression in guinea pigs. Going to an unfamiliar place also tends to cause aggression and anxiety. While some animals are curious to discover new places, guinea pigs seem to be comfortable in known territories.

While two male guinea pigs can live together in harmony, the same might not be true when both genders are living together. If two males are living in presence of a female guinea pig, they are much more likely to insinuate fights and aggression. So, if you are going to keep more guinea pigs in a cage, it might not be a good idea to mix genders in a way to cause competition amongst them.

When is the Aggression Alarming in Guinea Pigs?

When guinea pigs fight, their easy targets are ears of their opponent. In order to determine if their aggression is alarming, you should check for injuries on the ears of their cage-mates.

How to Distinguish Aggression from Abnormal Behavior in Guinea Pigs?

Normally guinea pigs are cute little pet animals and they rarely show aggression. But, as an owner, it’s your responsibility to pay attention to behavioral changes. They start to excessively vocalize, biting their cage and pull hair to register their protest and show that they are angry or have some issues. Many things can make them angry, unsatisfied or unhappy. Just be active and analyze their behavior and note it down to come up with a better solution for it.

Aggression is slightly different from abnormal behavior. There there are various things that will trigger an aggressive behavior. Aggression can make them bite you or their cage mates.

Behavioral Change is a Result of any Trigger

Guinea pigs are quite expressive in terms of letting you know about their feelings by changing their behavior and voices. Being a guinea pig owner, your responsibility is to note such behavioral changes and try to minimize or eliminate the reasons that are causing the irritability in them.

Any event can prove to be a trigger to stimulate a behavioral change in guinea pigs. To address such abnormal behavior, you need to know the events that happened prior to this behavioral change. Accordingly, you can eliminate adverse effects or come up with a better solution to satisfy your cute little creature.

For example, when your guinea pig sees a new person, it may squeal or hide. When he is unhappy with his meals or quantity of meal, then they show their dissatisfaction and irritation by hissing or shrieking. Beware, that these are in the category of abnormal behavior and not be classified as aggressive behavior.

How to decode aggression from body language?

Guinea pigs quite casually display behavioral expressions showing love, hatred, aggression, disliking by making different vocal noises. It’s really a matter of time with analyzing their behavior that you will be able to decode various body expressions of a guinea pig.

If your pet is whistling, then know that it’s out of sheer excitement and happiness. When they purr in high pitch then it means they are annoyed. To show that the little creature is angry, they will make chattering teeth sound with bared teeth.

Only after you have spent some months with your guinea pigs will you be able to understand the different ways through which they exhibit different emotions. Freezing, fidgeting or throwing up head in the air means he is not happy or comfortable with his condition or surroundings. Teeth barring, hissing and strutting are also some signs of aggression.

Guinea pigs are quite social and friendly pet animals. On the contrary, when the little pet is happy he will show by rapid hopping like popcorn popping or rubbing noses. This shows that they are happy and content.

They love to play so make sure that you spend time with them or they have other cage mates with whom they can play and socialize, otherwise they may get stressed out or depressed. Guinea pigs are sensitive creatures and they show it quite effectively as well. They do feel stressed out and depressed. In the state of depression, guineas make themselves aloof and show that their energy is drained. You need to consult a vet if this state of depression is shown in your pet guinea pigs for a prolonged period.

Does separating guinea pigs help in reducing aggression?

Aggression is a state that is commonly found in guinea pigs and they show it off quite regularly only when the environment around them is not pleasing for them. Sometimes, aggression occurs when two or more boars are placed in the same cage at the same time. The place will be new for them so both of them will fight each other to prove their dominance in that place.

The first solution is to separate the two guinea pigs from each other at least for a night or two only.  This will help them in stabilizing their nerves and settle down the aggression a bit when they are on their own for some time.

Next day introduce each other again but closely monitor their behavior. Usually separating them for a night helps a lot. When you re-introduce them to each other, it gives them enough time to familiarize with the environment in each other’s company. Make sure that cage is big enough for two boars to roam and play around.

How is guinea pigs’ aggression different from other pets?

For starters, it’s a definitely not a rocket science in accepting that guinea pigs are amazing little pet creatures for people who don’t want to rush to the vet every time something unusual happens. They are easy to maintain and train. Other pets like cats and dogs, show their aggression quite fiercely by destroying your belongings, pooping around or biting you off or your friends who come to the house.

Aggression phase in guinea pigs is short and signs of aggression begin to show before the actual burst off as they change their behavior. Some other pet animals, like rats, rabbits or others silently build up an aggressive behavior and then suddenly put you in a shocking and embarrassing situation by bursting it off instantly. Guineas are easy to tame and they are not like other smart animals like rats, rabbits, dogs or cats who take months to train in an amicable manner.


Guinea pigs are not destructive. The maximum aggressive behavior they do is biting off the cage and your hand if you put it inside the cage or the other cage mate. Cavies are reasonably good to take care of, even when they are most aggressive.

Guinea Pigs are great for pet animals. They live longer than other pet animals and provide a great company. Take good care of them and look out for the signs and stimulus that may lead to their changed behavior.

Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.