Sunday, April 17, 2016

Guinea Pig Introduction - Lola 2 meets Buffy!

It's time for another Cavy Savvy guinea pig introduction! This has only really been done once before, when Lola (#1) and Broccoli got into some serious drama. The humans decided it was finally time for us to meet Lola (#2) today without any bars between us. (Although the vet originally told us 30 days is the standard quarantine period, we were told on a second visit that we can introduced early since we were under observation for several days while the humans were out of town, and the vet found no evidence of health problems.)

To introduce us, the humans picked a neutral location (not one of our cages), and placed us at opposite corners so we could discover each other on our own terms. Broccoli decided to be silly and run away at the first sight of Lola (#2). Although I haven't been always been the bravest pig, today I found my courage to walk right and introduce myself!

Hi! I'm Buffy. Who are you?

The humans wanted to give Broccoli another chance to redeem himself, and he ran away again!

Nope nope nope...

When introducing guinea pigs, usually some dominance-establishing behavior takes place. Here is Cavy Spirit's guide to behaviors that you should and should not tolerate during introductions:
  • Safe, non-combative, dominance behavior (don't worry yet!)
    • Rumblestrutting
    • Butt sniffing
    • Butt nudging
    • Chasing
    • Butt dragging (they are leaving their scent)
    • Mounting (any which way: rear mount, head mount, side mount, flying leap mount!)
    • Nose face-offs (higher in the air wins, one must lower their nose to be subservient to the other)
    • Teeth chattering: a little (signal of dominance)
    • Raised hackles (hair on the back of the neck and along the spine)
  • Posturing for possible attack, battle for dominance is escalating (monitor very closely!)
    • Teeth chattering: sustained (signal of anger, aggression, warning)
    • Nips, light bites, may result in little tufts of fur in their teeth
    • Wide yawn, but this is no yawn, they are showing their teeth
    • Snorting (like a strong puff or hiss)
  • Fighting with intent to harm (time to separate)
    • Bite attacks are no longer warning nips, they are lunges with intent to harm.
    • Combination of raised hackles, loud and angry teeth chattering, rumblestrutting in place with the head staying in one position while facing the other guinea pig doing the same thing. Usually a signal of a biting attack. But they may back down before they engage.
    • Both pigs rear up on their haunches, face to face. This is a clear, brief signal of their intent to launch full attacks at each other. Separate if possible before the attack.
    • Full battle. The pigs are locked together in a vicious ball of fur. This is very serious. Separate immediately, but be careful. Throw a towel over them and use a dustpan or something other than your hand to separate them. Unintended bites from their very sharp incisors can cause serious damage.
The humans had a towel ready to throw over us just in case things didn't go well. Apparently, the towel was not necessary.


  1. That went well with Buffy and Lola#2. Broccoli's hasty retreats made us all laugh. We thought that he was a big brave boar!

    Better luck next time but at least there was no aggression.

    1. He's certainly big, but perhaps not quite as brave as he'd like us to think!