In the wild, it is no surprise when we hear of animals eating their young. We see it with polar bears, fish, and even primates occasionally. So do guinea pigs eat their young? Well, the simple answer is yes, guinea pigs do eat their young. While this is very rare, there have been reports of cannibalization taking place. However, this is far less common than compared to other rodents such as rats or hamsters.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Young?
Whenever animals decide to eat their babies it is out of a perceived necessity. This necessity can come from two reasons. The first is out of a desire to ensure a continued gene line such as that with lions. Animals that exhibit this behavior kill cubs out of a desire to ensure their genetic lineage is continued over that of rival males.
With guinea pigs, and particularly with mother guinea pigs, they will only eat their babies if they are seriously malnourished at the time of giving birth and within the early stages of your baby guinea pigs’ growth. In saying this, cases of cannibalization are very rare in guinea pigs. I have heard reports of cannibalization being more common amongst mothers that have consecutively given birth to two litters back to back. In my experience, back-to-back pregnancies are relatively uncommon unless you are deliberately breeding guinea pigs, which I strongly advise against.
Unlike most rodents, male guinea pigs are not more susceptible to cannibalization than their female counterparts. However, make sure you keep your female baby guinea pigs apart from their father after 21 days. If you allow your female guinea pig babies around their male counterparts after roughly 21 days, the males will attempt to mate with the females. First off, you probably don’t want any unexpected litter popping out of your newborn pups. Secondly, inbreeding to this extent (father to daughter) does not result in a healthy outcome. On top of this, make sure you separate baby male guinea pigs from their mothers after three weeks as the reverse is also possible with males impregnating their mothers.
Why Female Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies?
Female guinea pigs are known to eat their babies, but why they do this is still a mystery. Some scientists say that the mother Guinea pig may be trying to protect her young, while others believe that the mother Guinea pig may be trying to get rid of her litter. It is still up for debate as to why female guinea pigs eat their babies, but one thing is for sure- it’s an interesting behavior to watch!
Guinea pigs are very cute and friendly animals. They are usually found living in groups. Their diet includes grasses and seeds. A mother guinea pig may eat its own young if she is too hungry. Guinea pigs’ mothers sometimes accidentally eat the placenta while cleaning their babies. This could be due to malnutrition. In addition, the mother may want to clean her baby by eating the placenta because she wants to start producing milk.
How To Prevent Guinea Pigs From Eating Their Young
The simple solution is to eliminate the malnutrition factor. Make sure your guinea pig is well feed and has a full and healthy diet. The reality is, that many people can neglect to give their guinea pigs a full and healthy intake of food. For example, it is not unheard of for guinea pigs to fall short of their vitamin C requirements due to a lack of the necessary substances your guinea pig would naturally be getting in the wild. Check out the ultimate guinea pig food list for a full list of all the food types your guinea pig can and should be eating as well as the ones you should steer clear from.
The answer to the question “Do Guinea Pigs Eat newborn guinea pig?” is yes. Guinea pigs are known to eat their young, and this cannibalistic behavior is most likely due to a lack of food. Generally, a guinea pig should have 1/8 cup of pellets per day, one cup of fresh vegetables, and unlimited timothy hay. If you are considering getting a pet guinea pig as a pet, be sure to provide them with enough solid food or extra food so that they do not feel the need to cannibalize their young. Guinea pig owners know that keeping a guinea pig as a pet is a wonderful experience.
So yes, guinea pigs can eat their young… but it is very rare. All you have to do is make sure you are not neglecting your guinea pig in the first place and making sure it is receiving all the necessary nutrients it could possibly require.
If you are after some tips on how to take care of baby guinea pigs, check out my article here.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.