Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Are My Guinea Pigs Fighting? Possible Reasons & Solutions

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

guinea pigs inside outdoor cage

Guinea pigs are naturally social animals. In the wild, they live in herds of between 5 and 10, with multiple herds living in close proximity, resulting in several dozen cavies sharing a single space. This means that they can be kept in groups as pets. But, when in captivity, piggies live in very different conditions from when they live in the wild. And, even in the wild, guinea pigs do have a social hierarchy, which can lead to some territorial fighting.

If your guinea pigs are fighting, one is likely trying to establish dominance over the others, but it may be that a male and female are fighting as part of the pairing ritual. Other possible causes of fighting include being kept in too small an enclosure, one of the cavies suffering pain or illness, or your pets being bored.

Below we look at each of the possible causes in more detail and include solutions to help you pacify warring piggies.

Divider Guinea Pig

Reasons Why Are Guinea Pigs Fight

1. Dominance

Guinea pigs have a social hierarchy, which means that some cavies hold a socially higher position than others. Other guinea pigs may challenge the top cavie for its position, and the most dominant one will hold its nerve and its aggressive posture longer than the other. In some cases, though, if the lower guinea pig doesn’t back down, it can result in fighting.

If you see one guinea pig showing dominant behavior to another and one of them backs down, it shouldn’t be too concerning: a pack hierarchy has emerged. However, if neither backs down, and it results in a fight, you will have to intervene and separate them before one gets injured.

cute red guinea pig looking upwards
Image Credit: Dev_Maryna, Shutterstock

2. Illness

Like humans, dogs, cats, and most other animals, illness or injury can foster a bad mood, and a bad mood can lead to aggression. If your cavies normally live peacefully side by side but are suddenly warring, it may be a sign that one has suffered an injury or illness.

Check the guinea pigs over for any injuries and look for signs of illness. The guinea pig that is acting aggressively is likely the one that is feeling under the weather, but this may not be the case. If in doubt, take your guinea pig to the vet and have them checked over.

3. Pairing

Guinea pigs can fight when two opposite genders are introduced. This pairing fight can also occur when introducing two guinea pigs of opposite genders. Ideally, when you do introduce two guinea pigs, one should be more dominant and the other more submissive. The dominant guinea pig is unlikely to bully the other, but because there is a clearly dominant member of the pairing, it will be unlikely to cause aggression.

Two lovely guinea pig babies together in summer
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

4. Boredom

Guinea pigs need stimulation, just like dogs and cats. If they aren’t getting this, they will look for their own ways to entertain themselves. Boredom can lead to problematic and unwanted behavior, including fighting. Make sure your cavies have activities to keep them busy. This does include making sure they have enough hay to munch on, but it can also include the addition of toys to their enclosure and making sure they are getting enough time out of the enclosure.

Letting your guinea pig exercise out of the enclosure, and even interacting with you and other humans, will provide mental stimulation and may help avoid fighting.

5. Lack of Space

A lack of space is somewhat related to other problems, but it is a common issue for guinea pigs. Ideally, two guinea pigs need around 10 square feet at least. This provides them with their own space so they can get out of the way of one another and enjoy some alone time.

If your cavies are kept in a smaller enclosure than this, they will get in one another’s way. If you don’t have enough room to keep an enclosure of this size, consider getting a different pet, but guinea pigs shouldn’t be kept as solitary animals so don’t be tempted to keep just one guinea pig so that you can reduce the amount of space you need.

a cute guinea pig in the enclosure
Image Credit: Dev_Maryna, Shutterstock

Divider Guinea Pig

Can Guinea Pigs Live Together After a Fight?

If aggression becomes a full fight, the first thing to do is to separate the warring guinea pigs. Keep them apart for a night. You may be able to successfully and peacefully reintroduce them the next day, but this isn’t always possible. Sometimes, if guinea pigs have fought, they may not be able to live together again.

However, it is worth taking the aggressor to see a specialist vet. If they are ill or have some sort of injury, this may be the cause of the fighting. Similarly, ensure they have enough space and that there is plenty to do in the enclosure because boredom and a lack of space are common causes of in-fighting.

Is It Okay to Let Guinea Pigs Fight?

If one piggie is showing dominance and the other submits, this usually means an end to the fight, and this kind of aggression is generally fine. It means that one of your guinea pigs is dominant and the other submissive, and this will actually tend to mean a peaceful coexistence for the two of them. However, if it does progress to a full fight, you need to intervene.

It is a good idea to wear thick gloves or use a towel or some other form of shield to protect yourself against guinea pig bites and scratches because they can be painful. Then try to determine the cause of the fighting and look for ways to remedy the problem so that the two of them can hopefully go back to living peacefully in the same enclosure.

Divider Guinea Pig


Guinea Pigs are sociable animals that not only tend to do well together but need the companionship of another cavie living with them. There will be a hierarchy between two or more guinea pigs that share an enclosure, with one being the more dominant, and this can mean seeing signs of dominance and submission.

If this progresses to full fighting, however, it is time to take action. Protect your fingers and separate the two of them. Let them spend some time apart, and check the enclosure is big enough and provides enough stimulation, before reintroducing them. You may also want to take them to the vet to be checked for injuries or illness because these can also cause guinea pigs to become aggressive.

Featured Image Credit: JohnatAPW, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database