New Adopted Piggy- Normal Behavior?


New Born Pup
Aug 29, 2020
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Washington, USA
In July, I adopted a 3 year old sow named Bean from the local animal shelter. I have owned guinea pigs in the past! For a little background, her previous owners had neglected her and mishandled her, and she hadn't gotten along with her littermates. She was surrendered to the animal shelter because she drew blood on her ten year old owner, most likely because she was scared or hungry.
When we adopted Bean in July, she was incredibly overweight due to gorging herself on food in the shelter (she is now a healthy weight with beautiful glossy fur!). She was incredibly protective of her food dish, even making these horrible sounds that I've never heard from a piggy before when I took her food dish out to clean it until I put it back. Initially we put her in a big play pen with lots of toys to clean her with very very limited lap time that we planned to slowly increase as she got more comfortable, but she turned out to be incredibly cuddly (she turns into a liquid puddle on one's lap) and would get upset when we put her back so soon, so lap times are up to about what they would be for most piggies! We've noticed that when she's completely flat, she reaches out to the nearest arm and begins grazing her teeth across the skin, still relaxed and puddled. Assuming she had to use the bathroom, we put her back and she got visibly upset that lap time had been cut short.
I've never seen this behavior in my piggies before- is she maybe trying to groom me? She has plenty of chew toys that she adores, so I don't think it's her teeth being too long. It hurts, but isn't a normal chomp (which she has done when startled) I have no problem with it, I can just drape her blankie over my exposed arm, but I want to make sure that she's not trying to tell me something when she grazes! Additionally, Bean lives alone. The shelter says she got along horribly with her previous roommates with many physical altercations, and to make sure we keep Bean alone. Is there anything we can do to make sure the little gal isn't lonely? We have her cage in the central part of the living room- all of my housemates will stop by and gently talk to her throughout the day, which she seems to enjoy, and we take her out for frequent play pen times with lots of toys. Is this enough for such a social creature? Do y'all have any suggestions on working with a piggy with a rough past? Thank you!


Forum Donator 2020/21
Aug 2, 2018
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I’ll add in a link about the grazing you with her teeth.

" Biting" And What You Can Do (Biting, Tweaking, Nibbling and Nipping)

A successful bond comes down to character compatibility. It’s not necessarily the case that she must be kept alone, there may be the perfect friend out there for her. If she is fear aggressive though then it won’t necessarily be easy to find a new friend for her but I would absolutely look into trying to find somepig for her to live with. It does happen that there are some piggies who do need to be kept alone though.

I’ll add in some guides below to help

Moody guinea pigs: Depression, Bullying, Aggression, Stress, Fear and Antisocial Behaviour
Enrichment Ideas for Guinea Pigs
Single Guinea Pigs - Challenges and Responsibilities

Merab's Slave

Forum Buddy
Nov 27, 2017
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Wirral, UK
I agree with @Piggies&buns about character compatibility.
My boar, Micah, was badly bullied as a baby and I was told he had to live alone.
I took him home, had him neutered and 6 weeks later he joined my 3 sows.
He has been a very happy boy ever since.

Bean sounds a lucky girl to have landed with you.
Welcome to the forum