If you love guinea pigs, you might want to keep more than one. But will guinea pigs kill each other? Do guinea pigs get along with each other or do they fight?
The good news is: guinea pigs usually won’t kill each other – as long as you are there to intervene if the fight gets out of control. Properly paired guinea pigs also usually won’t kill each other.
However, it is very important to know which guinea pig pairs are safe to keep together and exactly how many guinea pigs you can safely house together in a single enclosure.
- Guinea pigs are social creatures and experts even recommend housing at least 2 guinea pigs together.
- In most cases, properly socialized and introduced guinea pigs won’t kill each other.
- At the same time, fights between guinea pigs are not entirely unheard of. Often owners have to intervene and separate two fighting cavies.
- If you aren’t there to intervene if a fight starts, there is a chance that a larger guinea pig might accidentally kill a weaker or smaller one.
Also Read: Can Guinea Pigs Live Alone – Is Depression Common in Guinea Pigs?
Do Guinea Pigs Get Aggressive With Each Other?
Yes, there are several reasons why guinea pigs could get aggressive with each other or fight with each other:
- For Dominance
Guinea pigs usually fight for dominance and to establish control of the herd. In such cases, one guinea pig will back off or be submissive and allow the other to establish dominance.
You should keep an eye out when this happens. This is because, sometimes, despite one cavy backing off, a bully-type cavy might get overly aggressive and even try to kill the other meeker cavy. In such cases, it is best to separate the two animals.
- Pain or Illness
If paired correctly, two guinea pigs will live in harmony without any fights. They will also enjoy and welcome each other’s company as they are social, friendly animals who need to be with their kind.
However, if one guinea pig is in pain or is suffering from stress or illness, it may become aggressive or cranky and pick fights with the partner. In such a case, it is important to see your vet right away.
- When the Pairing is not Rightly Done
As a guinea pig owner, you must pair the guinea pigs correctly from the beginning. The RSPCA recommends the following pairings of guinea pigs:
- One neutered male with one or more females
- Two females with one or more neutered brothers they have been reared with from the start.
- An older guinea pig with a younger one – both of the same sex.
- Small Cage or Inadequate Resources
If guinea pigs are stuck together in a small cage without adequate resources like toys, food, water, hay, etc. then they could get hungry, stressed, and aggressive with each other.
The Humane Society recommends at least 8 to 10 square feet of space for a pair of guinea pigs and a minimum of 15 sq. ft space for 4 guinea pigs.
- A Lack of Mental and Physical Stimulation
Bored guinea pigs are also likely to fight and attack each other. Your cavies need stimulation with at least one hour of exercise outside the cage in a safe enclosure. They also need to run, play, and hide.
Therefore, it is important to provide toys, treats, hideouts, perches, ladders, and hammocks along with an exercise wheel for your cavies to expend their energies.
Also Read: How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live Alone?
Can Guinea Pigs Be Cannibalistic?
While exceedingly uncommon, there have been incidences of cannibalism in guinea pigs. Here are some scenarios that may drive guinea pigs to kill and even eat each other:
Runts or Stillborn Babies
A mother guinea pig might eat the runt of the litter or stillborn babies. They do this to prevent other predators from entering their habitat and also to avoid degradation and contamination of the surroundings.
Mistaking the Baby for Placenta
Mother cavies eat their placenta or after-birth.In some cases, she may accidentally eat a baby that is covered in blood and tissue if she mistakes it to be the placenta.
Starvation or Lack of Resources
A hungry guinea pig won’t just stop at attacking and killing a cage mate; it might even eat it to stop sharing the limited space or resources. While rare, such incidents have been known to happen. This is why it is very important to provide adequate space and resources for all your cavies.
Can Guinea Pigs Dislike Each Other?
Properly socialized guinea pigs usually live harmoniously and form a loving bond with each other.
The only time fights occur between cavies is one of the reasons discussed earlier – lack of resources, improper pairing, illness, etc.
When two cavies are first introduced, there is a show of dominance or assertion. However, these social creatures are more than willing to follow a hierarchy so one guinea pig will usually back off. After this display of power, the two usually get along.
Bottomline: two properly paired guinea pigs should live harmoniously and peacefully.
How to Get My Guinea Pigs To Like Each Other? How Much Time Does it Take for Two Guinea Pigs to Bond With Each Other?
When you first introduce two guinea pigs, you must allow some time for them to get accustomed to each other.
If there is fighting or bullying that continues way past the usual show of assertion, please separate the two animals and try again after a few days.
You can feed some delicious treats (high-value treats) to both pets so they will associate each other’s scent with tasty food. Just make sure to provide plenty of it otherwise they may fight over it!
Once your guinea pigs bond with each other, they might sniff each other affectionately. They may even play and chase each other. They will then progress to resting in each other’s presence and grooming each other.
The amount of time it may take for establishing such bonding between cavies can vary from pair to pair. Some pairs may instantly bond within a few hours while others may take several months to start accepting each other.
FAQs – Will Guinea Pigs Kill Each Other?
Can you put two male guinea pigs together?
Never put two unneutered single boars in one cage if they are under the age of 1 year. They will surely fight. Instead, go for one old and one young boar so there is clear dominance and hierarchy.
How do you bond two pairs of guinea pigs?
To bond pairs of guinea pigs, introduce them slowly. Make plenty of food and hay available and ensure that the cage is nice and spacious with enough hideouts, perches, and levels.
Why do guinea pigs hiss at each other?
Guinea pigs often use hissing as a sign of warning. It is a way of asking the other cavy to back off.
Can guinea pigs live alone if one dies?
It is seen that a vast majority of guinea pigs sink into depression after a guinea pig they have bonded with dies. Guinea pigs need to have at least one friend.
Key Takeaways – Will Guinea Pigs Kill Each Other?
Guinea pigs usually won’t kill each other as long as you introduce them properly and choose the right pair to live together.
After the initial show of dominance and submission, most guinea pigs tend to live harmoniously together and even welcome each other’s company.
Give some time for your pets to bond with each other. However, if you see signs of bullying or aggression or one of your cavies is losing weight or appears scared, please separate them right away.