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Biting Okay I think I have a serious problem on my hands


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Apr 23, 2011
Alright everyone, I think I have a real problem with Brutus and I am not sure at all what to do.

I have an 8 year old son (Jake) with some mental health and behavioral issues. He has ADHD, SID, PTSD, PICA and Trichotillomania (he eats hair - but not guinea pig hair) and quite possible some other issues. We have taken to turning the cage around at night before bed because we have caught him removing brutus in the middle of the night in order to sleep with him. We have explained it's not safe for him or the pig, but he can't remember after a couple days. Brutus seems to like it as he now wheeks at midnight expecting to be picked up and snuggled - he's just going to have to wait until 6am. My husband is drawing up plans to add locking doors to the cage so we can just lock it to keep them safe when we can't supervise instead of turning it all the time.

But here is the issue, Bru has really taken to Jake. To the point of whining if anyone else is holding him and chattering if anyone else tries to clean his cage. He will run from anyone, even me and the hubs. Yet will walk up to Jake as soon as he's next to the cage. Unfortunately, he has taken to biting the girls when they try to touch him and gave my youngest (Van - 6 yrs) a pretty significant cut between her thumb and forefinger. He has not tried to purposely bite me or the hubs yet (he did get me when grabbing lettuce out of my hand once). The girls are NOT rough with him at all. Wash their hands before petting or holding and after each pig.

The other two pigs do not do this at all. On the one hand I am glad they have a good bond on the other, I can't have him biting the girls all the time.

What can I do? We have a "piggy elevator" to get them out of their cage, so it's not a "chasing him around" issue. Clean hands always. It really seems to be an attachment/favorites issue. I'm okay with him choosing jake over everyone else, I'm not ok with the biting.

Geez, give us one we can't answer, why don't you? :(

That's a complex situation. Are the girls old enough to just avoid Brutus and concentrate on the other pigs?

If not, maybe you could have the girls feed him some of his favorite treats while he's sitting on their laps. Of course, that would involve your catching him, but treats in the piggy elevator might lure him in so that he doesn't run from you.

It's not clear from your post whether all the pigs are in the same cage? I assume so, but wanted to check to be sure.
Sorry :( The oldest (Faith) is 11 so she is and is starting too, but Van is only 6 and just wants to love them all.

I will have them try treats, something only they give him so he associates that with them, and hopefully that works. That's a good suggestion and so obvious I don't know why I didn't think of that myself!! Thanks!

We have them caged separately since they can't get along and would rather fight with each other, none of the usual tricks worked to curb it so for their sanity and health we separated them. I guess that's the chance when you take in pigs who have been neglected/abused (Popeye, our senior pig, was housed in a small soft sided pet carrier in a preschool/daycare until the lady didn't want him anymore; And Samson, the lethal, was abandoned by DH's restaurant we tried to find his owner but no one ever came forward, we have since discovered a lot of scar tissue all over his back - we assume it's from other pigs but who knows - in addition to his other issues. Bru was a baby when we got him and originally lived with and loved popeye until the vacuum scared them and they tried to kill each other)

They live in a stacked cage (almost the equivalent of 2x4 C&C cages) That the hubs and I built. But the front is not enclosed - we wanted easy access for feeding and loving. But with Jake now trying to sleep with Bru, we need doors.
Wow, I honestly don't know, unless you let Jake hold them and the girl pet him/feed him. That way they associate them with good things too. maybe somebody with more experiences can help.
Maybe you should just let Bru be your son's pig, and let the girls have the other two.

I suspect that your problems with them getting along are that Bru is being a teenaged jerk. How old is he? If he's less than two, you have some hope of him outgrowing the obnoxious behavior toward the other pigs and then housing them all together again.

How old is Samson, do you know? If you're interested in the life of another lethal, read (broken link removed). Fairy's about two now, and is one pampered piggy.

We'd love to see pictures, by the way.
Maybe the piggie senses that your son needs him and is in tune to that. I read a few wks ago about someone ended up having a Skinny Pig certified as a therapy animal because she helped keep the woman's anxiety down and whatnot. Maybe he is trying to offer comfort to your son?
Pics of my boys:
Okay I think I have a serious problem on my handsOkay I think I have a serious problem on my handsOkay I think I have a serious problem on my hands

Popeye is the grey and white one, Brutus is the brown one and Samson is the fluffy one! Excuse any poos and the mess in Popeye's pic, Samson had been roaming around and he tends to create a mess - he sheds like a cat (and black carpet tends to show it!)

I hope it doesn't come to that, the girls love him very much - all of us do. But if it does that is what we will do. I am definitely going to try the treats first. And I think it's going to be Sunday fruit (I usually give them a "sweet" treat on sundays, I can let the girls give him his) he loves fruit! Actually, he hasn't met a food he didn't like the little fatty!

Bru is a little over a year old he was about 4 months old when we got him. So maybe that is his issue. I really hope he grows out of his bad behavior. I would LOVE to have them together again, I hate to think they are lonely like this.

Samson is about the same age as Brutus, by best guess of the vet, but he didn't come with any info, Popeye is around 5 yrs old. I will check out Fairy's story. Samson is well pampered, but then again they are all pretty spoiled. :D The hubs say's I treat the pets better than him (we have a cockatiel - PJ - who is pretty spoiled too) poor, poor neglected man...
Maybe the piggie senses that your son needs him and is in tune to that. I read a few wks ago about someone ended up having a Skinny Pig certified as a therapy animal because she helped keep the woman's anxiety down and whatnot. Maybe he is trying to offer comfort to your son?

I have heard this before, animals are very intuitive. And I am perfectly okay with him picking favorites. I just don't want him to use the girls as chew toys.
Are you sure Samson is a lethal? I don't think I've ever seen or heard of a long-haired lethal. Does he have major tooth problems?
The vet said he most likely is. He's blind, mostly deaf, has some physical deformities: his feet and legs are deformed. His toes are deformed, his hips are completely out of whack (he hops like a rabbit) The inside of his ears have grown funny - which probably contributes to his deafness. His teeth seem fine, they didn't notice anything major but said to keep an eye on it since they were a little long, but said that could be neglect. He has not had any issues eating once we got him to eat. He doesn't appear to have any organ issues.

He may not be, but the vet said they don't have much experience with them, but given his complete lack of color and his other issues that was their guess. I have zero experience with them. We love him either way.
He may have an incomplete expression of the lethal gene (I'm assuming that's possible with the lethal gene -- it is with some others that cause genetic defects). The defining characteristics of lethals are very small or missing eyes, deafness, mild to severe tooth issues or totally missing teeth, and immature digestive tracts. Foot and hip issues aren't listed as being part of that constellation, but I've never heard of a lethal that didn't have dental issues. Fairy has to have her incisors clipped on a regular basis, and if I remember correctly, it took her a year or more to learn to pick up food on her own.
It would certainly be good if he's not, as I understand it they have a much shorter life span than other guinea pigs and we would love to have him around for years to come.

Thank you for the information!
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