Why Does My Guinea Pig Eat My Hair? 7 Menacing Facts

It can be disconcerting to realize that your guinea pig has been eating your hair. The moment you make this realization, you will definitely want to know what is making the guinea pig eat your hair. You may also want to know whether it is safe for the guinea pig to eat your hair. Further, you may be keen on knowing what you can do, to stop your guinea pig eating your hair. Read on, for answers to all those questions.

Why does my guinea pig eat my hair? Well, guinea pigs may be drawn into eating human hair because of its fibrous nature. Further, your guinea pig may eat your hair as a way of bonding with you. There are also scenarios where your guinea pig eats your hair simply out of curiosity. Boredom and stress are other reasons that often push guinea pigs to engage in barbering behaviors.

Why does my guinea pig eat my hair
Why does my guinea pig eat my hair

The way to stop guinea pig from eating your hair may simply be by keeping the guinea pig from coming into contact with it. Where the hair eating behavior seems to be due to lack of fiber in diet, provide the same.

And where the hair eating behavior seems to be due to boredom, design stimulating activities for the guinea pig (e.g. by providing toys and hay to chew on). Where it is due to stress, identify possible sources of it, then address them.

 

Do Guinea Pigs Eat Human Hair?

Before proceeding to address the question on why does my guinea pig eat my hair, it is important to first figure out whether these animals do (generally) eat human hair. Only then can we be in a position to figure out whether or not it is a normal behavior.

So, do guinea pigs eat humans hair? The answer is ‘yes’. Guinea pigs are known to eat human hair. Therefore if you find your guinea pig eating human hair, you need to put it into context: it is something that guinea pigs do.

Of course, not all guinea pigs eat human hair. There are people who have kept guinea pigs for years, decades even, and never once had a guinea pig eat hair. Thus, it can come as a surprise if all your previous guinea pigs didn’t try your hair. Then one of those you currently have chomps off your hair!

So it is important to understand that we don’t necessarily have each and every guinea pig eating hair.

And even for the ones that do, there may be times when they engage in this behavior, and times when they don’t. But generally speaking, guinea pigs do eat human hair. Therefore if your guinea pig starts eating your hair, don’t get the impression that he is weird, possessed or otherwise abnormal. Guinea pigs eating human hair is a common enough occurrence.

 

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Human Hair?

The question on why does my guinea pig eat my hair is usually preceded by another one: can guinea pigs eat human hair? And the answer, as it turns out, is ‘yes’. Guinea pigs can eat human hair. It is something that guinea pigs have been observed doing from time to time.

So it is definitely something they are capable of doing. And in most cases, when guinea pigs eat human hair, they don’t seem to suffer much harm from it. So it seems to be basically safe.

It is important to point out that where they do it, guinea pigs usually eat human hair in a gentle manner. So if you were wondering, do guinea pigs attack humans in order to eat their hair, you should be reassured. You are unlikely to have a situation where your guinea pig waylays you with the intention of eating your hair!

Instead, what will normally happen is that the guinea pig will eat the hair gently as you attend to him in his cage. Or as you lay around in the house.

 

Why Does My Guinea Pig Eat My Hair?

If I happen to find guinea pig eating my hair, there is one key question that I am likely to have at the back of my mind. This is the question on why does my guinea pig eat my hair? Or to put it differently, why is my guinea pig barbering me? And the answer is that the guinea pig may be eating your hair out of curiosity.

This is especially likely to be the case if yours is a very young guinea pig. A very young guinea pig is still trying to discover the world around it – mostly by nibbling.

The guinea pig could also be eating your hair in search of fiber. If it is not getting enough fiber in its diet, it will try to get it wherever it can: including by eating your hair. Then again, the guinea pig may be eating your hair as a way of bonding with you. Over time, the guinea pig comes to view you as its ‘mate’.

And just as guinea pigs often bond with their mates through barbering behaviors, it may decide to bond with you in a similar manner.

In the bonding process, by barbering your hair, the guinea pig may be trying to impose its dominance over you. So it will be similar to how a male chicken may try to impose its dominance over you by pecking you.

Then again, the guinea pig may engage in the hair eating (barbering) behavior as a result of boredom or stress. For instance, if it is in too small a cage, it may develop stress. It then takes that stress out through barbering.

 

Why Does My Guinea Pig Want To Eat My Hair?

Besides wanting to know, why does my guinea pig eat my hair, you may be keen on knowing the deeper motivations for the guinea pig eating your hair. This would push you to pose the question on why does my guinea pig want to eat my hair?

And the answer is that the nature of your hair may be making the guinea pig curious. For instance, yours could be the curly hair guinea pig is inclined to try to eat. So it just tries to eat it out of curiosity: because it looks potentially edible.

Your guinea pig may also want to eat your hair if it is not getting enough fiber in its diet. Or it may eat your hair as a way of bonding with you (in a process we refer to as barbering). Further, the guinea pig may want to eat your hair because it is under stress or because it is experiencing boredom.

So it figures that nibbling on your hair may give it catharsis (in the case of stress). Or it figures out that eating your hair may give it some stimulation (in the case of boredom).

To know exactly why your guinea pig wants to eat your hair, ask yourself several questions. Is it a very young guinea pig? Then it could be due to curiosity. Is it a guinea pig that is not getting enough dietary fiber? Then it could be in search of fiber.

Is it a guinea pig that is staying in a very small cage or has recently been moved to a new place? Then it could be trying to eat your hair to relieve the stress.

All in all, there are many possibilities for your guinea pig wanting to eat your hair.

Why does my guinea pig eat my hair
Why does my guinea pig eat my hair

What Does It Mean When Your Guinea Pig Eats Your Hair?

Another way of looking at the why does my guinea pig eat my hair question is by exploring the meaning behind the behavior. There are many possible meanings. It may mean that the guinea pig is not getting adequate dietary fiber. It could also mean that the guinea pig views you as a ‘mate’ and wants to bond with you through barbering.

Further, it could mean that the guinea pig is curious about your hair. Or it could mean that the guinea pig is under stress/bored.

The best approach in solving this problem is where you use elimination. So you eliminate the possibility of it being due to search for dietary fiber (by ascertaining that the guinea pig is getting enough fiber). Then you eliminate the possibility of it being due to boredom (if the guinea pig has enough mentally stimulating activities).

Then you eliminate the possibility of it being due to stress (if the guinea pig is in a big enough cage, and is getting enough of everything).

Only after eliminating all these possibilities can you attribute it to curiosity or the desire to bond with you.

 

Is It Bad For Guinea Pigs To Eat Human Hair?

Well, in terms of safety, it doesn’t seem to be particularly bad. There have been many cases of guinea pigs eating human hair, and they don’t seem to suffer much harm for it. So in terms of safety, it may not be too much of an issue. But in terms of etiquette, human hair eating may not be very good.

Suppose, for instance, your guinea pig develops a habit of eating human hair. Then one day, you may have guests in your home, and he ends up eating their hair. The embarrassment.

Even for you, if your guinea pig develops the habit of eating your hair, he may end up leaving you with bald spots on your hair. So it is not good for guinea pigs to eat human hair.

Once they develop a taste for it, human hair seems to become very addictive to guinea pigs. This may lead to a situation where, soon or later, you find yourself wondering: why does my guinea pig eat my hair all the time? Yet it is you who allowed him to get addicted to it.

 

What Happens If Guinea Pigs Eat Hair?

To put it differently, what if guinea pigs eat hair – what are the consequences? This question may come up if you discover your guinea pig is eating your own hair. Or it may arise if you discover your guinea pig eating each other’s hair. Another scenario where it may arise is if you discover your guinea pig pulling her hair out (that is, guinea pig pulling hair out, then proceeding to eat it). Or even where you have guinea pig eating his own hair.

The good thing is that guinea pigs seem to be capable of eating hair without becoming sick. Therefore if your concern is on whether the guinea pig will be unwell because it ate hair (human hair or guinea pig hair), you need to be reassured. The guinea pig will probably be alright.

Nonetheless, this is a behavior that can lead to formation of bald spots. That is a common problem following self barbering in guinea pigs. But it can also be the end result in cases where some guinea pigs eat others’ hair in a bid to bond with them/impose domination over them.

Where guinea pigs eat human hair, they may become ‘addicted’ to it. This may lead to embarrassing situations: like where your guinea pig tries to eat your guests’ hair!

 

Guinea Pig Barbering Me – Why?

If your guinea pig is barbering you (and you are sure that it is true barbering), then it means that the guinea pig wants to bond with you. It has come to view you as a ‘mate’, and wants to bond with you through barbering. This is exactly what it would do with another guinea pig. And any research on how common is barbering in guinea pigs reveals that it is a very common behavior. So it is a key (and pretty much inevitable) aspect of guinea pigs bonding behavior.

But it is important to understand that not all instances of guinea pig eating your hair amount to barbering. Sometimes, the guinea pig is just chomping your hair, but not as part of a barbering ritual. So in all cases, it is important to first consider all possible answers to the why does my guinea pig eat my hair question.

 

Guinea Pig Eating My Hair – How Do I Stop It?

The first step is to figure out exactly why does guinea pig eat hair? Or more specifically, why does my guinea pig eat my hair? Sometimes, the solution may lie in wearing your hair short. Guinea pigs tend to be drawn to long hair. If you have truly short hair guinea pig is unlikely to try to eat it. If you can’t cut your hair short, consider covering it whenever you are interacting with the guinea pig.

Where the guinea pig is eating your hair because of lack of dietary fiber, ensure that he gets adequate fiber. Include long-stemmed hair for him to chew on. Where the guinea pig is eating your hair because of boredom, provide him with better mental stimulation: including toys to play on and things to chew on. If the guinea pig is eating your hair because of stress, identify the source of stress (too small cage, other pets and so on) and deal with it.

In cases where the guinea pig is eating your hair as part of barbering behavior, you have to embark on the barbering guinea pig treatment. This may entail trying to train the dog not to eat hair. The focus should be on distracting the guinea pig from hair, and rewarding him when he desists from chewing on hair. It is a slow process. But you may eventually get results.

An animal behaviorist may offer you help in barbering guinea pig treatment. But a more basic approach is where you just ensure that you wear your hair short. Or that you cover your hair while interacting with your guinea pig. If the guinea pig is unable to access the hair, then he obviously won’t be in a position to eat it.

Why does my guinea pig eat my hair
Why does my guinea pig eat my hair?

 

Final Verdict – Why Does My Guinea Pig Eat My Hair?

As we have seen, there are many possible reasons for a guinea pig eating your hair. It may be out of curiosity. Or it may be in search of fiber. Further, it may be as a way of trying to bond with you. Or it may be due to stress or boredom.

Once you identify the specific reason for your guinea pig eating your hair, you should be in a position to deal with the behavior. Alternatively, you may opt to just ensure that your hair is never within the reach of your guinea pig.

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