Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rodent Relations II: Bickering

Today's topic:  Bickering.  This, honestly, is a variation or escalation of Biting to include chasing, screaming and the occasional rumblestrutting (and possibly teeth chattering, although my current girls don't do that to each other).

Everyone has a day that nothing seems to go right and you take it out on whomever is closest to you.  It seems that guinea pigs go through this, too, and it's especially true when sows go into heat.  Both Pippin-Willow and Pinniped-Bertie were experts at all out screaming matches. 

And they're impressive:  Pinni and Bertie caterwaul at each other worse than a pair of fishwives.  When the screaming is at its worst, it's enough to make me lose my mind.  The hollering usually starts when one or the other is in heat, so it can last as long as two days.  All.  Day.  Long.

It is often accompanied by chasing, humping, biting and occasionally peeing on each other (which gives new meaning to the phrase "pissed off").  The whole thing certainly looks fierce to the uninitiated.  I've had people ask how they can stop their guinea pigs from peeing on each other.  You can't.  Gross as it may seem to you, it's a basic part of their vocabulary to warn off another pig.

I often vacillate between yelling at them to stop it and shut up or sitting down with popcorn to watch the show.  I have yet to get a good video of them having an all-out pissing/screaming match, because they stop by the time I get the camera set up.  Don't want to tarnish their public image, you know.

However, I did managed to catch one of their more subdued displays of vexation:

Usually Pinni chases Bertie.  Sometimes it's just until Bertie moves away from whatever object Pinni wants, such as the water bottle or a good sleeping spot.  Other times she chases Bertie all over the cage.  I can tell when Bertie is really annoyed at getting chased, because she'll start to popcorn around the cage.  This time the tables had turned, and Bertie chased Pinni around the cage, complete with constant grousing, humping and peeved popcorning.  Imagine this, much louder and lasting for hours, and you've got a feeling for what they're like at their worst.

People think that guinea pigs are cute, quiet creatures.  Ha.  I used to have to wear earplugs to sleep when Willow and Pippin's cage was outside my bedroom door.  There was a lot of wheeking and carrying on.  In the end, after the dust settles, things go back to their normal routine.  Well, at least until they find something else to disagree about.  I am curious, though, if boars have screaming matches like this, or if it's just a sow thing.

Part Three:  Stealing (and Bonding)


  1. I've never noticed screaming matches with my boars (either the last pair or this new pair, when the one guy passed away). They'll high-nose and rumblestrutt all the time, and sometimes crab at each other with little squeaks, but it's nothing this lively!

    Although, to be fair, getting boar glue out of fur after an exuberant dominance dance is not a fun activity, for slave or pig. One thing sows don't have to deal with. :-)

  2. Ah, hormonal pigs. It is amazing how they can keep it up for so long (and for mine it almost always is a minimum of 36 hours).


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