In the wild, it is no surprise when we hear of animals eating their young. We see it with polar bears, fish and even in primates occasional. 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 cannibalisation 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 desire to insure a continued gene line such as that with lions. Animals that exhibit this behaviour kill cubs out of a desire to insure their genetic lineage is continued over that of a 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 cannibalisation are very rare in guinea pigs. I have heard reports of cannibalisation 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 cannibalisation than their female counter parts. 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 litters popping out of your new born pups. Secondly, inbreeding to this extent (father to daughter) does not result in a healthy outcome. On top of this, make sure you seperate baby male guinea pigs from their mothers after three weeks as the reverse is also possible with males impregnating their mothers.
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, 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 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.
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 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.