Guinea pigs are social animals who need companionship.
Sometimes, however, they don’t get along and will fight.
They will often go for the ears in a fight.
Once bitten off, guinea pig ears do not grow back. If a pup’s ears are nibbled by the sow and misshapen, they will continue to grow this way. Simple cuts can heal up with veterinary care, but bitten-off chunks will not grow back.
Although guinea pigs enjoy each other’s company, there are times when aggressive or dominant behavior causes injuries and ear biting.
Boredom also causes aggression, so make sure your pets’ enclosure is stimulating and fun with a guinea pig toy.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Bite Each Others’ Ears?
Ear Biting as Aggression
Sometimes guinea pigs are just not the right match for each other.
Just like there are personality differences in humans, there are differences between guinea pigs.
Evaluate piggies’ personalities carefully to make sure they are suitable cage mates.
Whether male or female, guinea pigs may be aggressive with their cage partner.
Some signs your pets are behaving aggressively are:
- Fur Pulling
- Raising Their Hackles
- Baring Their Teeth
- Chattering Angrily
If your piggies get into a fight, the ears are easy and delicate targets.
Ensuring males are neutered will go a long way towards ensuring minimal aggression.
Pairing females with females or neutered males with females is optimal.
Guinea pig sows will often nibble their pups’ ears if there is not enough space in their enclosure.
Your pets need plenty of room, resources, and entertainment to minimize aggression.
Ear Biting and Dominance
Guinea Pigs also bite ears to determine hierarchy.
The guinea pigs will chase each other, and one will mount the other to show their dominance.
Usually, one will submit, and all will be well again.
Some things triggering dominance behavior in guinea pigs are:
- Hormone fluctuations as boars age, going on between 4 and 14 months
- Introduction of a new cage mate
- The change of the season
- A female guinea pig being around, in the case of boars
- Lack of space or inadequate resources.
If dominance battles continue or get too severe, your piggies might not be the right cage partner for each other.
Guinea Pig Bites and Veterinary Care
If the skin is broken or bleeding, seek veterinary care from an experienced guinea pig vet.
Rinsing the injury with saline solution will keep the injury clean until a vet can look at it.
Guinea pigs have sharp incisors and can injure other parts of the body besides the ears, leading to infection.
Infection can lead to an abscess, a painful and severe collection of pus, and needs immediate veterinary care.
Signs Your Guinea Pigs Are Fighting
Guinea pigs play a lot, but playing differs greatly from fighting.
When your guinea pigs fight, they mean business.
Your guinea pigs are fighting if:
- They use forceful, harmful bites, not little love nibbles
- Your guinea pigs lunge at each other in aggression
- Your piggies engage in loud, aggressive teeth chattering
- They are rolling and tumbling in a knock-down-drag-out fight
If your piggies are fighting, it is only time before someone is severely injured.
Why Guinea Pigs Fight
Both young and adult guinea pigs fight when they are aggressive or establish dominance.
The piggies might be fighting over resources such as food, water, mates, hiding spots, and adequate space.
Your pets may also be fighting out of boredom.
Once you have made sure, they are not fighting over resources, evaluate their environment.
Give it a new guinea pig toy such as a tunnel, a tube stuffed with hay, crumpled paper, or a ping-pong ball.
To keep your guinea pig happy, make sure they get plenty of floor time or even lawn time, if appropriate, and aren’t just cooped up in their enclosure.
What To Do If Your Guinea Pigs Are Fighting
If your piggies are severely fighting, wear heavy gloves to protect your hands and separate them with a barrier in the cage or into two separate cages.
You may need a temporary cage for one of them until you decide what to do.
Guinea pig battles may be fatal.
If there is severe injury, take your pet to an experienced guinea pig vet.
What are Guinea Pigs Ears Supposed to Look Like?
Guinea pig ears are usually rounded and floppy with mostly smooth edges.
Tatty edges could mean another pig has nibbled or bitten his or her ears.
Your pet’s ears should be clean and range from pink to red depending on blood vessel dilation.
The redness is from blood flow to the ears, which helps your pet cool down, just like an elephant.
There should be no buildup of earwax or white crust, indicating a fungus.
Guinea pigs can get ear mites, so those should be checked for.
Gently clean your pet’s ears with a couple of drops of oil in the outer ear and wipe them clean.
Do not clean your pet’s ears more than two to three times a year.
Are Guinea Pig Ears Floppy?
Most adult guinea pigs have adorable, floppy ears.
Their ears droop more as they get older.
Do Guinea Pigs Like It When You Rub Their Ears?
Most guinea pigs love a good scratch behind the ears.
Start by gently rubbing in circles behind the ears with one or two fingers.
You will be able to tell what your pet likes by his or her behavior.
A happy guinea pig will lick or nibble you gently and make happy purring noises.