My Piggy Is Suddenly Very Agressive?

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Ct_Amy

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I'm a new guinea pig owner and have two piggies, both a few months old. One of them, my first bought one, Leia, has suddenly become extremely agressive and nasty.

Here is some maybe helpful background information: I bought Leia about two months ago now. She was very sweet and timid, loved to be held. I did my best to speak with her and spend time with her every day. But with me having classes all day and my mother at work etc. We had no one to talk with her most of the day. We decided another Guinea pig was best, as we heard they're best in pairs or groups, thus we purchased our other piggy, about the same age, Chewie. Both are females.

We introduced them and both got on very well with one another. They do live together now and Leia clearly likes to show she is the dominant one. They got on quite fine but...

But now Leia often likes to nip or snap at Chewie. She has become impossible to pick up, bites me and my mom any chance she can, and when I am able to take her out, she will bite non stop, at my shirt, hands, etc. She will agressively rip apples or carrots from my hands, which never happened before.

I've done nothing wrong to her, I did SO much research to ensure she gets the best treatment and care she can get, but now she is just extremely rude and agressive, I barely take her out due to the fact she will bite or make unpleasant noises towards me.

If anyone has any advice I'd really appreciate it because I'm honestly at a loss!
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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Have you taken her to the vets? Quite often this can be a sign of pain. Definitely worth getting her checked out.

Regarding her cage mate, what size is the cage? Bigger is always better but particularly in smaller cages tensions can run high.

It could also be a fear thing too, as she is still quite new and young. Might be worth reading some of the behaviour and bonding threads :)

Most importantly, she doesn't hate you and she isn't meaning to be "nasty". It's too easy to apply human feelings and behaviours to piggies but they don't work the same way as us. Please don't feel that she's doing it on purpose, there's normally a reason for these sorts of things and I'm sure it'll be straightened out soon. I would definitely suggest a vet visit to a piggy savvy vet to rule out pain first :) Good luck!
 

Freela

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A very docile pig in the early days may actually just be too scared to do anything else- being prey animals, guinea pigs will tend to run or, if it's not possible, freeze in the hopes that a predator will pass them over. In the early days, you are the predator. Once she figures out that you aren't going to kill her, she may stop freezing and move on to other coping behaviors, which can include biting when frightened, running and being difficult to catch to hold, etc. Also bear in mind that young pigs are still learning and are not sure what is food and what is not... I've had plenty of small pigs who tried to eat or bite clothes, hair, fingers, furniture, etc. until they learned enough to realize that these things weren't edible.

First, rule out any medical issues that might be causing her to be aggressive. Some external parasite, like mites, can cause the skin to be very sensitive and painful, which can lead to biting out of discomfort from even light touch. If there are no health issues, then you're going to have to chalk it up to a behavioral issue right now, likely still being fearful while being held. It will get better as her comfort grows- but you will have to continue to make efforts with her and take her out, even if you don't get the reaction that you like at first. There is a sticky at the top of the page about reading guinea pig body language and communicating in a way your pig will understand- that may help you to make some inroads by speaking her 'language.'

Finally, try not to 'humanize' her behavior too much. She isn't being rude (guinea pigs don't even know the concept!) She is a small animal who has evolved to be fearful due to her place on the food chain, and you are a large, largely unknown predator who she has to learn to be comfortable with. First make sure there are no issues medically, and then give her some time to learn to trust you. It can take guinea pigs months to settle in and feel comfortable with humans, so don't lose hope too soon!
 
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