Are Guinea Pigs Territorial?

Guinea pigs are territorial animals and will fight with each other if they feel their territory is being threatened. Though it may take some time, it is possible to teach them to get along.

In order to explain how to get two guinea pigs to get along, let’s first look at guinea pig behavior.

Guinea Pig Temperament

Guinea pigs are herd animals. They are outgoing, friendly, and sometimes even clingy. They are also energetic and burn a lot of energy.

The guinea pig rarely bites and is an excellent pet for children of all ages. Since they are herd animals, it’s usually okay to keep multiple pigs in one cage.

Guinea pigs are fun to watch, especially as they run around and play with each other. But there’s another side to this temperament.


Guinea pigs don’t like being bored and may act out to get attention. They require plenty of variety in their daily routine.

Regarding training guinea pigs, they do not learn like cats or dogs. Canines, for instance, learn at an early age. Guinea pigs pick up instructions, like finding toys or recognizing faces, a bit later in life. This is usually around 9 or 10 months of age.

Although you can train them to get along, it can take more time than other animals.

Guinea Pig Introductions

If you already own a guinea pig and get a new one, the old one may not like the new one at first. This is because guinea pigs are very territorial.

The pigs you currently have learned how to get along with each other and have formed a bond over time. If you simply introduce a new guinea pig into the cage, they won’t have time to establish a bond.

How Guinea Pigs Interact

It’s best to buy a pair of guinea pigs at the same time, but it’s not always possible. You must remember that these are strangers and know nothing about each other. They don’t know if this new animal is a friend or enemy.

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Since these animals are territorial, some factors govern how they interact with each other initially.

Territorial Factors

There are several factors involved in guinea pig pairings. Bringing a young guinea pig to live with an older one is easier. Since the older guinea pig will already be the dominant pet, the younger animal will automatically observe this behavior, and the pair should get along well.

Other dynamics can, however, interfere. Do not bring a non-desexed male into the presence of female guinea pigs. They breed rapidly, so you may end up dealing with a lot more guinea pigs than you bargained for.

Even though same-sex pairs work best, male guinea pigs may randomly begin fighting. This goes back to the territorial instincts of the animal and its herd mindset.

Be sure to determine the correct sex of the animal before bringing it home. Ask a veterinarian if you have any doubts.

Guinea Pigs and The New Environment

Never pair guinea pigs with other species like rabbits. They cannot communicate effectively and will fight for territorial rights. When you pair two males, make sure there’s plenty of space to claim their own territory within the cage. Keep the cage clean and uncluttered, as this also reduces territorial fighting.

Can Stress Come From Territorial Issues?

Occasionally, guinea pigs become stressed because of territorial issues. Stress can come from introducing new pigs without preparations. But there are other reasons for stress as well.

Signs of guinea pig stress include:

  • Being aggressive or irritable
  • Not wanting to be held
  • Not eating
  • A lack of energy

If you notice these signs, seek a vet’s advice.

How to Stop Territorial Fighting

Territorial fights will inevitably happen. Some pigs fight simply because they are bored, but most conflicts stem from territory instincts.

To prevent or lessen fights, it’s best to have two of each toy, plenty of space, and plenty of tools for activities. And yes, males fight more than females.

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Occasionally, dominance fights occur. If it continues for more than a few minutes, it’s time to separate them.

You can try to remove the reason for their fighting (such as a toy), but if this doesn’t help, it’s a sign that their personalities may clash.

If so, the guinea pigs may have to live separately. Guinea pigs nip at each other, but this is not the same as fighting. They do this as a sign of happiness or grooming.

Separation When Bullying

If your guinea pig shows signs of bullying, this calls for immediate attention. Symptoms of concern include skittish behavior, missing hair, sores, and scabs.

If you’re not sure if your guinea pig is being abused by another pig, you can install a camera and watch their behavior when you’re gone.

Helping Your Guinea Pig Feel at Home

Help your new guinea pig feel more at home by introducing them correctly in the beginning. This helps reduce territorial fighting and reduces stress.

For initial introductions, use a neutral area to let your new guinea pig socialize with your existing pets.

You can use a new cage or an area of the home quarantined for their safety. This shows your current guinea pigs that your new guinea pig has some territorial rights and reduces the risk of fighting.

The Happy Guinea Pig Family

It’s normal for both males and females to fight for dominance. Older pets usually welcome younger ones, but still may fight occasionally. When bringing a new guinea pig into the home, take it slow and consider all the factors involved. Never bring home a pregnant or sick guinea pig, as this can cause additional issues.

Take territorial actions in stride, but understand when it’s time to intervene. Guinea pigs are territorial, but this doesn’t mean you cannot have a happy little guinea pig family.