Guinea Pig Teeth Chattering: What It Tells You About Their Mood

Guinea pig teeth chattering

Guinea pigs chatter their teeth to assert boundaries or when they’re angry, annoyed, or upset. It’s normal for cage mates to bicker, especially if they’re newly bonded, and you typically shouldn’t separate them unless they injure one another. If your guinea pig is chattering their teeth at you, stop what you’re doing and give them space.

It’s important to listen to our pets’ boundaries to the best of our abilities. Of course, there are times when you won’t be able–such as when trimming their nails or if they’re chattering at the vet.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything there is to know about teeth chattering in guinea pigs, what it means, and what to do about it.

Why is My Guinea Pig Chattering Their Teeth?

Teeth chattering in guinea pigs can indicate anger or annoyance. It can also be a way to show dominance.

You’re most likely to notice teeth chattering when bonding new guinea pigs to one another, but it can happen in any pair or group, even those who typically get along well. Male pairings, in particular, may continue to chatter their teeth at one another even after living together for years.

While teeth chattering is technically aggressive, it doesn’t mean your piggies will fight or hurt one another. They could be warning the other to back off, similar to a growling dog.

Asserting boundaries is crucial for any relationship, including those between guinea pigs–or those between a guinea pig and their owner!

Why Does My Guinea Pig Chatter Their Teeth When Pet?

Guinea pigs chatter their teeth at humans for the same reason they do it to other piggies. They’re annoyed or angry, and often trying to set a boundary.

If your piggy chatters their teeth while you pet or hold them, they’re telling you they don’t like it. Please change the way you’re petting them or put them back in their cage to get some space.

Typically, guinea pigs like to be petted on the tops of their heads. Some may like their backs or chins scratched, while others won’t. Remember that the neck is a very vulnerable area, and you may need to gain more trust before your piggy is willing to let you pet them near it.

Most piggies don’t like their rear ends touched and will let you know about it! The tummy is usually a no for guinea pigs, and you should never place them on their back for belly scratches as this can damage their spines.

Stroking your guinea pig in the same direction as their fur grows typically feels best for them, rather than petting them “backward.” This can be more difficult with breeds whose fur grows in varying directions, such as Abyssineans, and you may need to pay more attention to ensure they’re enjoying being petted.

Guinea Pigs Chattering Their Teeth During Bonding

Teeth Chattering During Bonding

As we discussed above, bonding is where we see guinea pigs chatter their teeth most often. During bonding, guinea pigs are just learning about one another. They’re establishing a hierarchy amongst themselves, and also letting each other know what their boundaries are.

It’s important to let guinea pigs assert boundaries with one another and establish a hierarchy within the pair or group without human interference. Separating your guinea pigs for little things such as teeth chattering can hurt their bond or even cause it to fail entirely.

Only separate during bonding if one of the guinea pigs hurts the other. Supervise your piggies more closely if they’re teeth chattering a lot, especially paired with other aggressive behaviors. You should always have an oven mitt, towel, or another object on hand during bonding to ensure you can separate them safely if they fight. Your piggy might not bite you on purpose but can bite you by mistake if you interrupt them as they’re going after another pig. It’s important to keep your hand protected!

I hope this article has helped you to understand why your guinea pig is chattering their teeth, or even just to learn more about piggy behaviors. Remember that teeth chattering indicates annoyance, but isn’t always followed by aggression.

However, it’s good to take precautions and watch guinea pigs who chatter their teeth more closely than you might watch piggies who seldom argue. And if your guinea pig chatters at you, you should stop what you’re doing whenever possible!

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