Over on our uber-popular Myth #1: Male Guinea Pigs Can't Live Together post, Andrea asked:
I have a 2 year old male guinea pig named Murray, he's very calm with humans (he doesn't bite, he's calm and is trained). I've just got another guinea pig we named him Pablo, he is another male guinea pig, he likes to snuggle with Murray. They seem not to be getting along at all... Murray is a short haired guinea pig, and Pablo is a fluffy haired guinea pig.. I was wondering if they will eventually get along or is it something to do with their race of boar/their personalities?
The answer is that it has everything to do with their personalities, and nothing to do with their breed. They might get along better with time, they might have an irreparable falling out in the future, or they might simply tolerate each other in a civil--but not contented--cohabitation.
Guinea pigs are generally amiable spirits, and the vast majority stay true to the communal nature of their species (they want roommates, not solitary living). But that doesn't mean every guinea pig gets along with every other guinea pig. Sometimes, for reasons we humans may never know, someone just...plain...doesn't...like...someone else. It might be instant dislike, or it might be something that develops over time. On a number of occasions, when Cindy introduces two males, there's tension but not instant fighting--until many minutes (or hours or, occasionally, a few days) later tensions boil over because one pig has realized the other pig is...not...going...away, and wants to make sure he does.
If your guinea pigs seem to be getting off to a less-than-smooth start, there are a few reasons to consider:
- the longer resident pig might be having adjustment/adaptive issues with sharing space he's been used to having to himself, even if the introduction process was gradual and relatively non-contentious
- the longer resident pig might be peeved because he feels like the introduction of a new roommate was too abrupt
- the newer pig is not respecting boundaries because he's trying to assert his dominance
- the newer pig is not respecting boundaries because he's trying too hard to fit in (e.g., trying to snuggle too soon)
- someone just doesn't like someone else
Unfortunately, you don't know what's going to happen until you try to pair up two guinea pigs. This is where guinea pig rescues can be a huge help--they typically have a number of adoptables, they know the personalities of the individual pigs in their care, and they can usually make a couple of well-informed guesses about who might be a good match for your pig.
If your males do have a falling out, you'll need to put them in separate cages. You might find they do better as neighbors and derive sufficient companionship from the arrangement that loneliness and depression won't be an issue for either of them.