Guinea pigs are incredibly social animals and can make excellent pets, and are often a fun addition to your home.
They play with each other more often, and occasionally some of their play can make it hard to tell if your guinea pigs are playing or fighting, but how do guinea pigs play with each other?
Guinea pigs play with each other in several ways, including light chasing, humping, sniffing each other, etc. are all considered playing for guinea pigs.
While any biting, lunging with hostile intent, or any action leading to bloodshed, is considered fighting. We’ll find out more about guinea pig playing behavior in this post.
Let’s get started!
How Do Guinea Pigs Play With Each Other?
Most people always find it difficult to differentiate when their guinea pigs play with each other and when they are fighting.
Guinea pigs usually are highly social animals and tend to live as a herd or group in the wild, there are a variety of behaviors they will exhibit towards each other in social situations, and it’s not unusual for them to occasionally have small disagreements over dominance issues.
You only really have a problem if they are persistently aggressive towards each other and possibly cause harm in the process.
Sniffing and nudging each other’s behinds is normal and is just their way of saying hello to each other, as is touching noses.
The parent’s guinea pig will often make a cooing sound towards their babies. Sometimes adults will do this with each other too.
Guinea pigs may make a deep purring sound. This indicates that they are happy, especially if their posture is relaxed. A higher-pitched purr with a rise at the end may indicate annoyance, however.
If they are unsure about something, they may make a short purr that might involve them freezing in place as they try to figure out the situation.
When guinea pigs that are bonded are in a happy and playful mood, they may do something called popcorning. This means that they abruptly jump up into the air like popcorn popping off.
You occasionally see this in younger pigs, but older ones may also do it. Males may also rub their genital area along the ground to scent their territory as a sign of dominance.
Read Also: Do Guinea Pigs Have Play Dates?
How Long Does It Take For Guinea Pigs to Start Playing?
Before guinea pigs start bonding, they will probably spend the first fifteen minutes establishing dominance. After that, they will likely take another fifteen minutes or longer to get to know each other.
Full bonding will take place over a more extended period, but if they are getting along after thirty minutes to an hour, then they should be okay together. In most cases, full playing will take as long as it takes and can vary depending on the personalities of the pigs and other factors.
If your guinea pigs are taking a while to bond, then giving them some more space may help. Ideally, a pair of pigs should have around seven and a half to ten and a half square feet of space to live and play in. provide them with a large cage or give them an area to run around in outside their cage.
If necessary, you may need to separate them for a while if they continue to be stressed and aggressive. If they are still not getting used to each other, keeping them together in a small area will not help.
How Playing Guinea Pigs Behave
Their play is natural but can look slightly aggressive. That’s why it can lead to some confusion when trying to figure out if your guinea pigs are playing with each other.
While it can take guinea pigs a while to decide who is the boss, they should eventually settle down and become comfortable with each other. Once this happens, you should finally settle down and become comfortable with each other.
Grooming behavior is typical, with each grooming the other’s face and fur. They may emit loud, happy squeaks and follow their friend around, hoping to play.
They should be comfortable eating near each other and be happy to share food, though there may be occasional disagreements. This is normal.
Male guinea pigs may climb the submissive member and rub against them. If this doesn’t lead to a fight, then they are probably okay. They may also make gentle rumbling sounds when they are comfortable around each other.
You can tell your guinea pigs are playing with each other when they groom each other and happily share food. They will also enjoy a lot of cuddling and playing between bonded guinea pigs.
Before guinea pigs play with each other, they may exhibit some aggressive behaviors that can worsen if you don’t understand what is going on with them.
One will usually try to assert dominance over the other, and you may mistake it for unnecessary aggression rather than the normal process.
When guinea pigs try to establish dominance, their aggression towards each other can seem like it goes on for too long. So you should be aware of their normal dominance behavior, so you don’t interfere with this process.
Read Also: DIY Toys For Guinea Pigs
How to Know That Your Guinea Pigs Are Not Playing With Each Other
Before guinea pigs start playing with each other, it’s normal for them to try to establish dominance and work out who’s the boss between them.
They may make some kind of sounds, growl, squeal, chatter their teeth, and chase each other, and you may also find that one will mount the other non-sexually. This may just involve the dominant guinea pig clinging or climbing onto the others back.
They may also start rumble strutting where the one establishing dominance will wiggle it’s behind while making a rumbling growl.
This can be a sign of an impending attack depending on how well their bonding is going, so keep an eye on them when they do this. If the one doing this just pounces and then backs off, you should be fine.
This is all part of the process of them getting to know each other. If they are not being aggressive to the degree of potentially causing harm, then you should just let them get on with this process.
Signs That Your Guinea Pigs Might Be Fighting
Signs that will let you know that things are not going well will be if they nip at each other and possibly draw blood or aggressive hair pulling.
Other signs can include:
- Chattering their teeth
- Raising the hair on their body
- Feet stamping
If one is persistently chattering their teeth, then this is also a sign that they are not getting along.
Raised hair and feet stamping are usually signs that an attack is impending, though it is not a good idea to interfere unless needed.
Before guinea pigs play with each other, they need to get this aggression out of their systems and establish dominance in the process.
What if Your Guinea Pigs Don’t Play With Each Other?
Those aggressive behaviors mentioned can sometimes lead to them attacking each other in a full-out fight. At which point you should separate them and give them some more time to get used to each other in a very calm environment.
Using the split cage method is highly advised if your guinea pigs don’t bond correctly but are still slightly compatible.
This is when you put them apart from each other and place them back into a split cage where they can continue to get used to each other.
You can use mesh or small wire fencing to split the cage right down the middle. This is an excellent solution given their social animals.
It makes it so they can still see and interact with each other while keeping them separated. They won’t fully touch each other, so you don’t have to worry about leaving them alone together or any fights breaking out.
If your guinea pigs are even slightly compatible, the split cage method overtime can start the bonding process over again.
You can tell the split cage method is working, and they are beginning to bond when they begin to nest at the wiring so they can be close to each other.
Once you start seeing actions like that along with little to no hostile behavior, you can try removing the wiring or mesh and let them live together naturally.
Just be sure to pay close attention to them if they start becoming aggressive to each other again.
Read Also: What Do Guinea Pigs Play With?
Usually, guinea pigs are good-natured little fellows. They tend to play a lot with each other when they have developed a good relationship, but they face off for dominance every once in a while, but this is normal.
On the other hand, aggression or misbehavior that pops up out of nowhere is worrisome.
After going through this article, you should be able to study the behavior of your guinea pig and know precisely how they behave, when they are in the mood to play with each other and when they are fighting.
You should also be able to understand how to handle each situation effectively.