Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies?

Guinea pigs make adorable pets that are quite easy to tame. Since they are social animals, they are always happiest when they are surrounded by other guinea pigs. If you plan on getting a pet guinea pig it’s a good idea to make sure they have a friend, but if they’re not the same gender you can guarantee they will make some babies.

In the wild many animals are known for eaitng their own babies, and many rodents are known to do this as well. It is possible that your pet guinea pig could eat one of its babies. If your pet guinea pig is pregnant, keep reading to know what to expect.

Will Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies?

Before your guinea pig gives birth it’s a good idea to be prepared with how they react to their babies. There have been cases of guinea pigs eating their own babies, but this is extremely rare. Under the right circumstances, your guinea pig likely won’t eat its babies.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies?

While cannibalism is very rare among guinea pigs, there are specific reasons why it can occur. Most of the times when it happens is due to malnourishment or extreme hunger. Sometimes if a male is very hungry and doesn’t recognize one of the babies as his own, he may eat one.

A reason that a mother may eat their baby is due to malnourishment during birth. They may also eat their babies if they have consecutively given birth to two different litters. However, a guinea only gets pregnant back to back if you are breeding them, which isn’t a good idea. If either a male or female gender guinea pig gets hungry enough then they could eat one of their babies.

Will Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies if You Touch Them?

Guinea pigs have a keen sense of smell, and they actually recognize their owners smell very well. So if you touch their babies that won’t cause them to not be able to recognize their babies. They will have no problem distinguishing that it’s your smell on their offspring. 

How To Prevent Your Guinea Pig Eating Their Babies:

While most guinea pigs don’t eat their own babies if they are treated right, there’s still the odd chance that it could happen. This is why it’s important to be prepared before they give birth. If you take the right precautions then you likely won’t have to worry about your guinea pig eating its babies.

How to Prevent a Male Guinea Pig From Eating His Babies

The best way to prevent a male guinea pig from eating his babies is to separate them until the babies are at an appropriate age. When they are newborns, they are too young and vulnerable to be around adult males. When it comes to introducing them, make sure you do it slowly and monitor them until they are ready to be left unattended. 

It’s a good idea to stay nearby just in case there are any signs of aggression and you need to separate them. Always stay close until they are used to each other so you can react in a timely manner.

How to Prevent a Female Guinea Pig From Eating Her Babies

Female guinea pigs won’t kill their offspring for no reason, so it’s important to make sure the mother is well taken care of to prevent this. To start off on the right foot, make sure she has enough food at all times. She will need extra nutrition during her pregnancy as well. 

When cannibalism does occur, the number one reason is lack of food. This is always preventable by making sure they have enough food available. Don’t let their food bowl go empty, and always make sure she is getting at least 1/8 cups of food each day. However, you’ll need to make sure she gets more when she’s pregnant.

Allow her to snack on some fresh fruits and vegetables as well. This will give her an extra boost of nutrition and help her get any vitamins or nutrients she may be missing. She will also be less likely to bite her babies if she has an unlimited supply of hay. As long as your guinea pig is well fed, she shouldn’t view her babies as a threat.

What Happens To Babies If Your Guinea Pigs Don’t Eat Them?

If you have kept the mother well fed, then she likely won’t even think about eating her babies. This means that they will be able to grow into adult guinea pigs. An interesting thing about guinea pigs is that they are born with the instincts to be self-sufficient. The mother will care for them as needed, even though they are active at an early age.

Should I Remove Guinea Pig Babies After Birth?

You should not remove guinea pig babies from their mothers after birth. It’s important to leave the babies with their mothers until they are of an appropriate age. Although the babies have fur and are fully functional, they require the nutrients from their mother’s milk to grow up healthy.

When Is A Good Age To Separate Baby Guinea Pigs?

You should always wait until the baby guinea pigs have grown to an appropriate size before separating them from their parents. Depending on your guinea pig, they can be separated anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. If you don’t plan on getting your guinea pigs neutered then you will need to separate them to prevent inbreeding.

To prevent unwanted litters, you should separate the female guinea pig babies from their father after 21 days. Males should be separated from their mothers after 3 weeks so they don’t impregnate her. The same goes for the litter of babies, if the males and females are still around one another at this age they could attempt to mate. 

Separating your guinea pigs is the best way to stop any more litters from being produced. However, it’s a good idea to try to keep the female guinea pig babies with their mothers for at least 4 weeks to make sure they are well nursed. 

Do Guinea Pigs Reject Their Babies?

In some circumstances, a mother guinea pig may reject any of her babies. When this happens, the baby won’t be able to suckle milk from her or use her fur to get warm. This means that you will have to take care of the baby’s feedings. One important thing to remember about feeding baby guinea pigs is that they can easily choke if you use a syringe.

When you do need to feed a baby guinea pig, the best thing you should do is put the milk on a teaspoon with a piece of brown bread to soak it up. The guinea pig can then suck the milk out of there safely. Although guinea pig’s milk has the most nutrients, the next best option is a full-fat goat’s milk.

 A rejected guinea pig baby will also need your assistance going to the bathroom the first few days. After feeding them, you should gently rub their genital area with a cotton pad. This will help them to open their bladder and bowels so they can go to the washroom. 

You will also need to help the rejected baby get warm since they can snuggle up to their mother. A good way to do this is with a hot water bottle wrapped in a blanket. It’s important to make sure this water bottle is wrapped up well so the baby doesn’t overheat. 

Can You Hold Baby Guinea Pigs After Birth?

You shouldn’t hold a guinea pig baby or its mother after birth. They need time to settle before they can be picked up. Always wait at least a week before handling the guinea pig baby so you don’t disrupt them. When it comes to the mother guinea pig, she may be very tender in certain areas of her body so it’s best to avoid unnecessarily handling her for a month. 

Mothers can be very protective of their baby guinea pigs for the first month. This is why it’s not a good idea to let people who are strangers to your pet handle the babies. However, if you’re the one handling her babies she may not be as defensive.

There’s a big misconception about the guinea pig owners handling the babies. Since a guinea pig mother is familiar with your scent, if you have a good bond with them having your scent on their babies may bring the mother comfort. Guinea pigs are calm creatures, and if you’ve treated her well she likely won’t mind you holding her babies. 

FAQ

Does A Mother Guinea Pig Ever Eat Her Babies Out Of Confusion?

There have been cases where the mother has gotten confused during afterbirth and mistook a baby guinea pig for placenta. This has caused the guinea pig to eat her baby out of confusion because she didn’t recognize it.

Will Guinea Pigs Ever Eat Their Babies Out Of Fear?

Sometimes guinea pigs will eat their babies because they fear that predators will be attracted to their territory. As a way to eliminate their scent from the area they may eat their babies. This helps them feel safer if there are any predators nearby.

Will A Guinea Pig Ever Eat A Weak Baby?

When a guinea pig is stillborn, the mother may eat it as a way to remove it from her territory. They don’t want any weak members in their colony, so they could eat a baby that they believe would bring down the strength of their family. This is because they only want the strong guinea pigs to continue reproducing.

Do Guinea Pigs Ever Eat Their Babies Because They Are Crowded?

Male guinea pigs can be territorial, especially when they are living in the same enclosure. If the guinea pigs feel like there isn’t enough room, they may eat their babies as a way to remove the competition. 

What Vitamins Do Guinea Pigs Need?

A good way to make sure your guinea pig doesn’t eat its babies then you need to make sure it’s well nourished. The one vitamin that guinea pigs often lack is vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the healthy development of their skin and joints.  It also helps protect their bodies against many diseases and other health problems. 

What Should I Feed Guinea Pigs To Prevent Them From Eating Their Babies?

Guinea pigs need a steady diet of guinea pig pellets and low-calcium hay. However, there should be some vegetables rich in vitamin C incorporated into their diet so they get all the nutrients they need. Some vegetables that they prefer are:

  • Leafy greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Beets
  • Squash
  • Carrots

Vegetables are a much better option than fruits that are high in vitamin C. This is because of the high sugar content, too much sugar could lead to an imbalance of intestinal bacteria. However, they can handle small amounts of kiwi, pear, orange, and apples. 

Make sure there is plenty of fresh water available at all times. If they don’t feel like their water or food supply is at risk, then they won’t feel like they need to kill their babies. Preventing malnutrition from occurring is the best way to prevent the guinea pigs from trying to eat their offspring.

What Do Baby Guinea Pigs Need To Eat?

Baby guinea pigs don’t have a special dietary requirement, so you can feed them the same thing that you are feeding their parents. The only thing you need to do differently with their diet is to make sure they are getting more calcium. Extra calcium during their first few weeks is essential to grow up strong and healthy. 

Other than their mother’s milk, alfalfa hay is one of the best things you can feed a baby guinea pig to make sure they are getting their daily dose of calcium. However, you’ll have to monitor the alfalfa hay to make sure the adult guinea pigs don’t eat too much of it. Too much calcium could lead to health problems in adults. 

When it comes to their water bottles, remember that babies are much shorter than their parents. You may have to invest in a second water bottler and keep it at a lower height for the babies. 

How Can I Make My Guinea Pig More Comfortable Around Its Babies?

Your guinea pig may feel threatened around her new babies. It’s important that you show her she’s not being replaced as your pet. Be gentle towards her and continue to give her plenty of attention. This may help her curb those jealous instincts and no longer view her babies as a threat. 

Make sure your guinea pig has a calm environment before, during, and after birth. If your guinea pig feels relaxed then she won’t try to eat her babies. This is why it’s so crucial to make sure she doesn’t feel stressed or unsafe in her environment. Do your best to make sure the mother feels safe and secure at all times.

Should I Get My Male Guinea Pig Neutered?

When your pet guinea pig becomes pregnant, it’s the perfect time to get your male guinea pig neutered. After the procedure, your male is still fertile for an additional three weeks. Making sure they can’t get the female pregnant again will prevent her from mass breeding. 

When a female has back to back pregnancies she is more likely to eat her babies. If you get your male guinea pig neutered during her first pregnancy, you can stop this from occurring. It’s a good idea to act fast because females can get pregnant 15 hours after giving birth. 

Final Thoughts: Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Own Babies?

The short answer to this question is: yes, a guinea pig may eat its own baby.

When it comes to whether or not a guinea pig may try to eat their baby is more complicated than a yes or no answer. There have been cases where a guinea pig has eaten its own offspring, but it’s extremely rare. This is rare because it’s easily preventable. The main reason a guinea pig will eat their baby is lack of food.

Providing all the right nutrients, and plenty of them, is how you can prevent a guinea pig from trying to eat their babies. Make sure they know their food and water supply aren’t going anywhere so they know the other guinea pigs around them aren’t a threat.

Actually, if their food isn’t at risk then guinea pigs are very friendly with one another. They will actually be much happier with more guinea pigs around them. The only thing you may have to worry about is the male guinea pig becoming territorial or trying to mate with the females. If you get him neutered then you likely won’t experience this issue with them.

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