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Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies? (The Surprising Truth)

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Tim Rhodes

Do guinea pigs eat their babies after they’ve just had them?

That’s what this article addresses amid many other questions about guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs are large than rodents; usually, they weigh between 700 and 1200g.

A fully grown guinea pig is between 20 and 25 cm long.

The average lifespan of the guinea pig is four or five years, but it can live much longer.

Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies And Why?

In this article, we will reveal whether guinea pigs eat baby guinea pigs and the reasons behind such a behavior.

However, first, we’ll uncover interesting facts about guinea pigs.

The Behavior of Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are intelligent; they can easily learn a specific path and remember it for a long time.

The strategy which guinea pigs use is known as motion.

Guinea pigs can jump over obstacles but these obstacles should be small.

When they recognize they are in danger, guinea pigs stand in one place for a long time then suddenly run very fast with a darting movement.

This way they can easily confuse their predator and a group of guinea pigs doing this is known as “stampede.”

Most guinea pigs show surprise and happiness by running fast.

Actually, when guinea pigs are happy, they hop, similarly to a ferret’s war dance.

Guinea pigs are also good swimmers.

Like other rodents, guinea pigs are self-groomed.

A particular substance comes from the eyes of a guinea pig; they rub it on their hair when they are grooming.

In the group, guinea pigs chew each other’s hair based on hierarchy.

At this time, they appear very social.

Compared to humans, the eyesight of guinea pigs is not good; they cannot recognize distance and colors.

However, guinea pigs have a wide angle of vision of about 340°.

Guinea pigs have dichromatic vision.

Nonetheless, their sense of hearing and smell is very good.

Health Problems in Guinea Pigs

Common diseases in domestic guinea pigs include respiratory infections, diarrhea, itching, and boils due to infection (often the neck, throat, or external scratches).

Mange worms (Trichocross cavia) are a common cause of hair loss, and other symptoms may include excessive scratching, abnormal aggression when being touched, and, in some cases, seizures.

Guinea pigs suffer from “running lice”, a small, white worm that can be seen roaming in the hair.

Eggs that appear as black or white spots are sometimes called “static lice”.

Other causes of hair loss due to underlying medical conditions such as ovarian cysts may occur as a result of hormonal distress.

Foreign bodies, especially grass or small pieces of grass, are visible to guinea pigs, resulting in more blurring, tearing, and corneal ulcers, which in some cases form a translucent film over the eyes.

Although guinea pigs occasionally sneeze, frequent sneezing is a sign of pneumonia, especially in response to climate change.

Pneumonia can occur with torticollis and can be fatal.

Because the guinea pig has a strong, compact body, it can easily withstand extreme cold or extreme heat.

The body temperature of a guinea pig is between 101–104 F (38–40 C), so its ideal ambient air temperature is similar to that of humans, approximately 65–75 F (18–24 C).

Genetic abnormalities have been reported in guinea pigs, similar to those found in other breeds of animals (such as hip dysplasia in dogs).

In general, the color of Abyssinian guinea pigs is associated with congenital eye defects and digestive problems.

Other genetic diseases include “vaulting disease”, stroke, and seizures.

Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies?

Yes, guinea pigs eat their baby guinea pigs.

However, guinea pigs eating babies is uncommon behavior.

Guinea pigs eat their babies mostly by accident.

When the mother guinea pig eats the babies, she does so because she is excessively hungry.

On the other hand, male guinea pigs eat guinea pig babies when they recognize that the babies are not theirs.

Also, after delivery, the mother guinea pig is likely to eat its babies accidentally, while eating the placenta.

However, a mixture of alfalfa and timothy grass keeps female guinea pigs hydrated and can prevent this from happening.

If your guinea pig babies do not appear, it does not mean that mother guinea pigs ate them.

Why do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies?

Guinea pig owners know that keeping a guinea pig as a pet is a wonderful experience.

However, new guinea pig owners should be prepared for a long-term commitment.

Most people find guinea pig babies are sweet and beautiful.

They have small bodies and big eyes.

It’s natural for you and me to humanize the behavior of animals.

We try to conform to the same standards and expectations when it comes to animal interactions and instincts.

This can be very misleading – especially when it comes to motherhood.

For instance, most rats eat their babies.

In fact, hamsters and rats are famous for such practice.

A female guinea pig usually won’t eat baby guinea pigs.

It is not a common occurrence.

However, male guinea pigs may eat the newborn guinea pig babies if they believe that the babies are not theirs.

It’s best to keep male guinea pigs out of the cage anytime after intercourse.

Besides, always separate baby guinea pigs from male guinea pigs.

Yet, the mother guinea pig will take care of them during the first few weeks, so don’t separate them from her.

Every baby guinea pig needs mother’s milk, which provides enough nutrition during the first crucial days of their lives.

These small pets need a lot of food and nutrition.

Mostly, guinea pigs eat timothy hay.

They need it in unlimited amounts, as it helps them keep their teeth trimmed.

Besides, guinea pigs eat herbs, vegetables, and fruits, but in moderate amounts.

Yet, a pregnant guinea pig requires a lot of extra nutrition.

When a mother guinea pig does not get enough food, she may resort to feeding on her young.

If she is pregnant, her chances of suffering from some illness will also increase, which will tempt her to eat as a child.

There are many reasons why guinea pigs eat their babies:

  1. Less likely to cause harm: guinea pigs may be Darwinian in their process towards motherhood, meaning only strong individuals can survive and reproduce more
  2. Terrorism, to prevent the attraction of carnivores, they terrorize their children
  3. Stillborn: if the baby is stillborn, a guinea pig will start eating the body of the guinea pig baby
  4. Regional behavior: to eliminate competition, guinea pigs are reluctant to share their enclave, and this may be especially true if other male guinea pigs are kept together
  5. Placenta: guinea pigs are disturbed during calving and placenta feeding, and may eat the babies thinking it’s the postpartum part
  6. Dietary proteins: they are bored and lack food and energy after their babies are born

How Can I Prevent Guinea Pigs From Eating Their Babies?

When they are small and weak, it’s much easier to keep baby guinea pigs away from male guinea pigs.

If you have affectionate male guinea pigs, you can introduce the babies when they are in the same cage.

When you decide to do so, follow their behavior (monitor them for aggression) and respond quickly.

When it comes to females, the best thing you can do is provide adequate and proper nutrition.

When a guinea pig is carrying babies, you should give her extra food, water, and nutrients.

Lack of food is the main reason why guinea pigs eat their young, and this is something that can be easily prevented.

Your guinea pigs should have access to unlimited timothy grass and timothy hay and water, and it’s better not to leave the food bowl empty.

Also, a typical guinea pig needs at least 1/8 cup of pellets per day.

When a guinea pig is pregnant, she needs extra energy.

Give her extra access to fresh fruits and vegetables as she needs nourishment.

When properly fed, you don’t have to worry that she will eat her babies.

To avoid the risk of your guinea pig, eating her babies, take these safety steps.

Watch after your guinea pig gives birth because they are more likely to eat as they cause confusion between the placenta and guinea pigs.

Increase the protein content in your pregnant guinea pig’s diet.

Add alfalfa hi to their premises during the last few weeks of pregnancy.

This way, your guinea pig will not feel the need for extra nutrition.

Show some tender feelings towards your guinea pig.

Explain to them that they have not been replaced or that their babies have replaced your guinea pig.

This should reduce their spatial and jealous tendency.

During pregnancy, keep your guinea pig cool before and after.

Your guinea pig will be frustrated if their youngsters are upset or stressed.

Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies if You Touch Them?

Your guinea pig won’t eat its babies if you touch them.

That is a common myth and is definitely not true.

You cannot do any harm by touching your adult guinea pig or its babies.

How to Care For Baby Guinea Pigs?

Moms take care of the hardest part as much as possible.

Unlike many other animals in the animal kingdom, guinea pigs are not self-sufficient.

They need to stay with their mother guinea pigs and suck their milk, but they will quickly become active.

Don’t separate them from their mother for too long, but you don’t have to worry about the mother rejecting her baby.

Guinea pigs are peaceful creatures and if you look after and care for female guinea pigs regularly, they will allow you to touch their baby guinea pigs.

The earlier and more regularly you handle them, the more likely they are to warm up as you get older.

The next thing you need to take care of is that make sure that their cages are heavy, comfortable, and not escapable.

Baby guinea pigs are much smaller than their parents, so they can escape from the cage.

So as long as the enclosure is secure and the bars are tight, you should be fine.

A cage with a deep pan will make it more difficult for your guinea pigs to escape, but it’s not necessary.

You have to remember that these babies are coming out of the womb ready to run around the cage and have fun very quickly.

Baby guinea pigs’ growth is fast.

They reach their adult size very quickly.

So, consider getting a cage large enough for them to play around.

It’s better to have a cage that is much larger than a cage that is too small.

The advantage of choosing the Midwest Habitat Plus is that it’s very affordable and you can transfer your male guinea pig to a different section early, the day after birth.

It offers up to 8 square feet of space and is also approved by vegetarians.

Can a Guinea Pig Baby Live Without the Mother?

To most people, guinea pigs are cute pets, and having just one will suffice.

For some others though, guinea pig farming may be of interest.

For those interested in raising guinea pigs, how to care for orphaned children should be given.

Another observation is that a female guinea pig needs to be reared for the first time before the age of 7 months.

Newborn guinea pigs come with open eyes and can stand up immediately after birth.

However, they should be raised for at least 5 days.

Guinea pigs make the best mothers and give puppies the best chance of survival.

If mother guinea pigs are unable to be nursing due to illness or death, keep the orphans with as many pet guinea pigs as possible.

Keep in mind that guinea pigs are not the best choice to raise other female guinea pig’s babies.

Raising orphans is difficult and almost impossible.

Orphans should be fed from an eyedropper or pet nurse within the first 12 to 24 hours of life.

Feed for the first 5 days around the clock every 5 hours.

During that time, feeding can be reduced to every 4 hours.

Over the next 2 weeks, the feeding time gradually decreases.

Give the orphaned puppy the same amount of water and evaporated milk.

Most puppies know not to breastfeed for the first 3 to 4 days of life.

Soak guinea pig pellets in water from the first day of life.

On the second day of life, the puppy can start feeding during feeding.

Continue to give milk to puppies at 21 days until they give birth even after eating solid food.

What Happened to the Babies if your Guinea Pigs Have Not Eaten Them?

If you think your guinea pig does not have kids and has not eaten them, one of two things can happen:

If a hunter is found entering the premises, a hunter will eat the guinea pigs.

The hunter may be a small creature, for example, a rat.

Your guinea pig may not realize it because they are sleeping with their cubs.

Young children can fall from a guinea pig enclosure and get lost.

If you find a baby guinea pig, return it to the nest at once.

Baby guinea pigs do not live long without their mother’s heat and milk.

In some cases, it may already be too late.

If a guinea pig eats young, the owner must improve the safety of the guinea pig enclosure.

Check the cage wire for signs of chewing holes.

A hunter may have chewed his way to feed his baby in a guinea pig.

If your guinea pigs are excluded, you will need to take additional safety measures.

In these situations, it’s advisable to wear a Perspex coat on the premises.

This will protect your guinea pigs and allow us to see them from the outside.

For fresh air circulation, place enough space in the forex coat from one side.

Not every guinea pig eats its young, but guinea pigs that eat them usually do so only once.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Sometimes Kill Their Young?

You should not breed your guinea pig if it occurs more than once.

Your guinea pigs have rejected motherhood.

This can irritate your guinea pig if you force them to reproduce.

You could say that the female guinea pig is lethal to some of their babies, but not to others because it’s caused by effective action or negligence.

Also, they can divide their children into two groups and raise only one group.

Because the group of infants was declared very weak and helpless.

Guinea pigs are controlled by self-defense.

An important role in this is to reintroduce healthy infants who continue to breed.

They agreed to focus their attention on the surviving infants.

If this happens you can try to feed the guinea pig.

Also, you can feed your guinea pig remedy on your own.

You can search for it when needed.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have uncovered some of the reasons why adult guinea pigs might eat their babies.

For instance, we revealed that a male guinea pig might believe that the babies are not his.

Likewise, we have explained that a female guinea pig doesn’t want to eat her babies, but it can still happen by accident and because of a lack of sufficient nutrition.

Anyway, it’s best to keep female and male guinea pigs separate, as adult guinea pigs of different gender don’t get along really well.

Always separate them right after intercourse and before the female gives birth to baby guinea pigs.

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