Guinea pigs rarely bite?

Well, this is what a vet was telling one of his vet assistant while handling a guinea pig today. Now, while this vet has been working for more than 20 years and has treated alot of rodents, I was wondering about this statement.
I assume any rodent would be just as likely to bite. Any guinea pig owners would agree or disagree?

I think they’ll nip or scratch if they’re severely mishandled, but unless provoked in some way, they’re very unlikely to bite - They’re very docile pets - typically much more so than rabbits, and certainly there are quite a few rodents and other small furry pets that are more likely to bite.

Ours will nibble a finger very gently if it’s put right in front of their mouths, but I think they’re just tasting the salt on my skin.


Mine have never deliberately bitten me. When I’m holding one, sometimes it’ll try to nibble on my clothing and obviously, there’s me behind the clothing so I’ll get nipped sort of as collateral damage.

My mother liked to tell me the story of my cousins Guinea Pig that bite the crap out of me when I was little, I didn’t remember that. I do however remember visiting a friend with a Guinea Pig when I was about 13. The dang thing not only bit me but it peed on me, too.

My personal working theory is that if it has a mouth it can bite.
And if it has intestines and a urinary tract you’d better watch out for those, too.

My guinea pigs have never bitten me. They do take tiny nibbles, though, as if they are tasting my skin (just like Mangetout said). One time my mom kept putting her finger by Chuckalo’s mouth so that he’d nibble her. He must have liked what he tasted, because he went in for a major chomp. Her finger bled quite a bit and there was a kinda gruesome-looking set of puncture wounds. She was mad at Chuckalo, but it was obviously her own dang fault. In general, I have also heard that guinea pigs aren’t big biters.

They can bite, tho. Nasty little bugger with razor-sharp teeth got into my finger once - but you break up a guinea pig fight, you’re gonna pay the price.

Having owned hamsters and a rat, and having good friends who had guinea pigs, hamsters, and rats, I can say that of those, the hamsters are VERY likely to bite, the guinea pigs rarely bite, and the rate, to my knowledge, never bit anyone. (Well, I know my rat (well, to be fair it was a friends rat first, then mine) never bit anyone.))

More often than not, it seemed the guinea pigs were just scared of everything and everyone. Seriously, all they seemed to do was squeal and run away from people.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why hamsters are such popular pets, they’re bad-tempered, frail, short-lived, slow-witted and mostly nocturnal.


I’ve owned a couple of guinea pigs, and neither one was much of a biter. They were for the most part very calm animals, if a bit skittish.

I do have to say though that the one we had as a child hated my sister. I don’t know why. She says she never mishandled it or anything, but it definitely would try to bite her. It would get upset if my sister even came near the cage. It never once tried to bite me, or my mother.

The guinea pig we more recently owned never bit anyone, and it was handled by a lot of the neighborhood kids (oh look, a guinea pig! Can I hold it?)

They will definitely pee and poop on you, though. Our last piggy peed on me before I even got it into the house for the first time.

Gerbils rarely bite as well, which, coupled with their size, makes them a much more desireable anal sex toy than guinea pigs; just ask Richard Gere… :smiley:

I had one a few years ago that bit. He was small when we got him, I assume just a baby, and was extremely scared, so we left him alone. Therefore, he was not used to being handing and once we wanted to get him out, he didn’t want anything to do with us. He bit, so we pretty much left him alone.

Except, fools that we were, we tried to tempt him with fresh produce and grass from the lawn. When he’d hear the door open, he’d assume someone was going outside to get him grass and he’d SQUEAL ear-piercingly loud. Repeatedly.

Damn pig! No squee! for us. Just a jerk of a pig (which we named Piggy Sue before his um maleness became so APPARENT) with wet gross poo from all that produce. :smack:

I raise dwarf hamsters (Campbell’s), and the majority of them are very sweet-tempered and all-around fun for me. Of course, I handle all of my hamsters on a regular basis from a very early age, and that may account for their relative docility. Dwarf hamsters are different in many ways from Syrian hamsters - they can be raised in groups, and are active during many times of the day. I’m not saying they don’t bite - oh ho! No, I’ve had my share of puncture wounds. But it’s generally been because I frightened the hamster by picking it up out of the blue.

We had a guinea pig, too, many years ago. She was my oldest son’s pet. I don’t recall her ever biting anyone. I’ve been toying with getting another guinea pig… maybe I will do so sometime here soon. They’re fun, too!

I had gerbils as a kid. One day I was cleaning their cage out, and one of them was standing up on it’s back legs nosing in the air. I leant down to nose at it in an Eskimo stylee, and promptly sank its fangs into the very tip of my nose. This hurt A LOT, and I recoiled in agony, which then left me upright, with a gerbil dangling from my nose, frantically scrabbling at my mouth and chin with it’s little razor-sharp claws.

Even in extremity, I realised that grabbing the damn rodent and yanking it off my nose was probably a bad idea, so after a few moments of lurching around the living room screeching in pain, waving my arms and brandishing my nose-gerbil, I shoved my face back into the cage. Fortunately, the little sod let go as soon as it had wood-shavings underfoot. If the other gerbil had joined the assault, things might have gone badly. For some reason, my family were not very forthcoming in the sympathy department. I think my mum wet herself laughing, and my dad kept telling me to do it again. :mad:

Startling rodents is a bad idea - just thought I’d share that.