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Biting I've got a biter


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Feb 5, 2012
One of my 5 month old boars likes to pull at your clothes when you pick him up. He's done this for a couple of months now. He doesn't have any other signs of mites that I can tell (no scratching). During floor time he will sit there and let me pet him and doesn't act like the petting bothers or hurts him. I've always just considered him a little ornery and that he was telling me he doesn't want to be picked up. He starts pulling my shirt almost imediately so I also don't think he's telling me he needs to go pee.

Well today, I picked him up and held him near my shoulder to carry him to floor time and he decided to bite on an area near my shoulder blade that had no shirt. He pinched my skin pretty good. When I tried to reposition him, he nipped my wrist. Neither time broke skin.

Should I treat him for mites just in case?

It it's not mites, then how do you teach them that it's not ok to bite??
Guinea Pigs will not bite unless they are in discomfort. However, a Guinea Pig in discomfort would always be a biter-- Not just some times as in your case.

If it continues to bite, treat for Mites. It is safe to treat even if they don't have it.

Do you have more than 1 Pig? You would need to treat both.
Guinea Pigs will not bite unless they are in discomfort.

That would depend on how you define "discomfort." Our Jumble nipped quite a bit -- not herself, but people -- when she was young. Fear, high strung, wanted to get down, saw something shiny, she'd bite. Now she doesn't bite flesh unless she is desperate to get something across. She licks us when she wants to get down and pee. She grumbles and licks us if we are petting her the wrong way on her rosettes or she is in heat and being peevish.

There are a couple of piggies at the rescue that won't be adopted out to families with small children because they nip. Not necessarily from a known provocation, because they nip at experienced adults, too, but kids of course are more likely to provoke and also more likely to get hurt if nipped.

Jumble basically grew out of nipping as she settled down and as we learned to read her cues. She does not, for example, like to have more than 5-10 minutes of laptime at a time. She would rather run around and try to get into trouble.
Discomfort in general. Basically, if they aren't as happy as can be. So, being scared falls under that category.
Amy is a very high strung piggy so she bites once in a while. My husband is grabby and not patient, so she chomped him once when he was trying to get her out of the cage. With me, I just approach slowly, pet her gently a bit, then pick her up with no problem. However, she'll nip me lightly in the arm a few times on the way back to her cage when she isn't ready to go back after floor time. She can also be a snuggle bug, so I chalk it up to her wild Abby personality.

Always rule out of physical cause like mites, which is the cause most of the time. If that's not it, then you might just have a high strung piggy who needs to be handled with care.
I've definitely got a high strung 1: He'll sit and nip our clothes but not us. He squeels with happiness when petted though so it's not mites LOL
Templeton, my biter, might just be high strung then. He is trying to be the dominant one. He loves to rumblestrut and doesnt seem to be very fearful of us. He doesn't usually even run and hide when we walk near the cage, but is definitely not the cuddler like his brother Kevy. I assume treating for mites won't hurt even if they don't have them?
My pig, Petunia does this as well. Whenever I pick her up to move her she immediately scurries up to my shoulder and bites at my shirt (sometimes catching my skin in there too... ouch). However, once I sit down and put her on my lap she starts squeaking happily and stops tugging at my clothes. I've treated her for mites and that wasn't the issue. I think some piggies just don't like being carried around.

Also, to answer the mite question-- shots of ivermectin won't have any adverse effects (except for maybe drying out their skin a little) if they don't have mites.
I assume treating for mites won't hurt even if they don't have them?

You can read the first reply to this thread to find that answer. ;)
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