Bertie and Pinni are one of the strongest bonded pair of pigs I've had (my best bonded were Vicky and Athena). But like any close couple, they have their off days and spats. When they do, they can really dish it out. And because there is so much badness two pigs can get into - I'm going to cover it in a trilogy of posts.
Today's unseemly behavior: biting, snapping, hissing and lunging.
|Best buddies: Athena and Victoria|
Bertie and Pinni tend to go for the lunge/bite/snap at each other. Have you ever seen two kids slap each other on the arm saying "you're it!" "No, you're it!" back and forth? I've seen Bertie and Pinni do this - except they use their teeth. It's most often when they want the same cozy/food/tunnel. Sometimes it's in reaction to being pestered for too long, or suddenly and rudely awakened from a sound sleep. The exchange is lightning-fast and stops after a round or two.
It may look vicious, but there's more posturing to the attack than brute force. First, guinea pig skin is really tough to puncture. Anyone who has ever given an injection to a guinea pig can attest to that. In addition, guinea pigs are prey animals and no one wins (except the predators) if there are serious injuries from a fight. In my experience, battles tend to look a whole lot scarier than they truly are.
That's not to say pigs can't have a serious falling out. If your pigs are biting each other hard enough to draw blood or becomes a true battle that looks like a whirling ball of fur, then your pigs have a severe clash of personalities and they need to be separated. Separation can be temporary or permanent, depending on a bunch of factors, including age, health, and living quarters.
There is a good overview of guinea pig social interactions on CavySprit's website called Social Life. I review it every time I do guinea pig introductions.
In the end, I told the Girls Next Door that Pinni and Bertie were just having a disagreement, and that they shouldn't worry that I would have to separate the two pigs. Everyone is allowed to be cranky once in a while, even guinea pigs.
Next up with Rodent Relations: Bickering.