7 Guinea Pig Sounds – Do You Know What They Mean?
Guinea pigs are social animals and these small furry creatures rely on a number of different guinea pig sounds to communicate with others of their kind as well as their human owners.
Some of the noises that guinea pigs make are pretty clear and easy to interpret. For example, persistent squeaking probably indicates that they need or want something such as food or water. However, many of the guinea pig sounds they make sound just like each other, which make it tough to figure out what your cavy is communicating.
Listed below are seven guinea pig sounds that are commonly made and what they each mean. Having this knowledge can assist you in caring and catering to your guinea pigs needs, and might just give you a bit of insight into your what makes your guinea pig happy.
Guinea pig sounds #1: Chirping
We might as well start off our list with possibly the rarest of these seven guinea pig sounds. Chirping is a special sound. Many consider the sound of a guinea pig chirping to be comparable to a bird singing or whistling. This guinea pig sound does not have a concrete meaning behind it, as it depends on your piggy and what they are doing, their surroundings, and their personality. Guinea pig chirping has been associated with a stressed out guinea pig as well as a piggy who is hungry (typically newborns and babies). Despite this, the chirping sound has also been linked to nothing more than a random trill with no apparent meaning.
Guinea pig sounds #2: Purring
Most people associate purring with cats, but guinea pigs do it as well. This guinea pig sound has two very different meanings when it comes to piggies, so recognizing the situation that your guinea pig is in can help you discern what type of purr they are emitting. The first variation of a guinea pig purr is happiness or excitement. Many piggies will make a purring noise when you pet them, and not only can you hear the thrilled sound, but you can also feel it vibrating through them. If your guinea pig is purring while being pet or cuddled, keep doing what you’re doing! Your piggy feels happy and content with you and is probably enjoying themself as much as you are. Alternatively, if this sound randomly comes from your pig in a short burst, it is usually caused by a sudden fear of a sound they don’t recognize nor expect. This includes a door shutting, the television switching on, or a phone ringing. Normal, everyday noises to us can come as shockers to guinea pigs, and in light of this, they let out the small purring noise as a sound of distress. They may continue making this vibration if the threatening note continues, or if they continue to feel upset over it. Despite this, the shorter purr can also be caused if they are awarded a treat unexpectedly, and is a sound of happiness like the longer purr, instead of fear.
Guinea pig sounds #3: Rumbling
Similar to the sound of a purr, guinea pigs also make a “rumbling” sound, though it is very different in its meaning, which can sometimes be a bit confusing. The real difference between purring and rumbling, in terms of how they sound, is that rumbling is more often than not louder and deeper than purring. Once again, looking at the guinea pig’s situation can, at times, be necessary towards understanding which of the guinea pig sounds they’re making and what it might mean.
One meaning of the rumbling sound is a mating call. When a boar (male guinea pig) meets a sow (female guinea pig), either one of them can emit this noise accompanied by a type of strut where your guinea pig will move their body back and forth whilst walking towards the other piggy, which is commonly called “the mating dance”.
In addition to this, rumbling can also be a sign of dominance and can happen between two boars or two sows. Depending on the guinea pig’s personalities, a fight could potentially ensue as an extension of this dominating guinea pig sound. Therefore, precautions should be set in place in case you need to break up the disagreement. Rumbling can also be an upset sound, typically in the presence of other guinea pigs, and can be differentiated by its slightly shriller pitch.
Guinea pig sounds #4: Shrieking
If you’ve ever heard your guinea pig shriek, or scream, you might want to give them a thorough onceover and some cuddles. Typically a sign of pain and distress, anything from a vacuum cleaner too close to the cage or another guinea pig nipping them on the back can cause this noise.
Shrieking is usually very loud and shrill, and is not often confused with other guinea pig sounds as it is always frantic and can sometimes be accompanied by teeth chattering (read on), shaking, and running rapidly around their enclosure.
Another reason your guinea pig might shriek is when they feel threatened by another of their kind and feel either angry or scared. Typically, an irritated guinea pig will use shrieking as a warning signal to the others to back down or face the consequences, though a fight ensuing isn’t always the case, or a scared piggy might scurry away as they lack the desire for any disputes, physically or verbally, and just want to be left alone.
Taking into account all of this, guinea pigs may also shriek to alert other piggies, or even you, about a former companion leaving the cage. Babies may make this sound similar to when human babies cry, as it shows a feeling of abandonment and calls the other guinea pig(s) to return to them.
Guinea pig sounds #5: Muttering
Muttering is one of the most common guinea pig sounds, and although it is hard to explain, the soft noise can really be described by its title. It may seem as though your guinea pig is talking quitely under it’s breath as it cuddles with you or sits happily in it’s cage. This is a sound of calm happiness — simple contentment with their surroundings and with you.
Muttering is also often heard when you’re giving your piggy love, in addition to frequent purring. If your guinea pig has a combination of muttering and purring, they are extremely happy and feel comfortable in and with their environment.
Guinea pig sounds #6: Chattering
Chattering, or otherwise known as teeth gnashing or teeth chattering, is when a guinea pig’s teeth do exactly that — they chatter back and forth as a sign of anger or warning against other piggies. A slight inclination of the head accompanies this guinea pig sound, and most guinea pigs know to back down if their companion begins chattering.
Chattering is mostly heard when one guinea pig becomes annoyed with another, when two piggies are meeting for the first time, or when they feel threatened by an outside element or noise. If you suddenly stick your hand inside their cage or try to pick them up without warning, you may hear them make this sound. Be calm about it and try to soothe them, showing them that it’s only you and nothing that could potentially harm them.
If you’re trying to introduce two guinea pigs, teeth chattering can quickly escalate and turn into a little piggy brawl. Be prepared for this, as you don’t want them to hurt each other. A small cloth will work well to throw over one of the piggies so that you can safely separate them without hurting either of them or yourself, should it come to that.
Overall, if your guinea pig is chattering, locate the source of the problem, and try your best to take care of it and calm your piggy’s nerves so that they no longer feel threatened or upset.
Guinea pig sounds #7: Wheeking
Wheeking may just sound like a normal squeak to you, and in your head, it might seem as though it could range from anything in meaning — maybe they’re just happy to see you! That could be, but more often than not, if you’re walking past their cage and they suddenly start wheeking, they’re probably in need of something. Food, water, cleaning up the cage a bit — tend to your piggy’s needs and they’ll happily quiet down.
Also, if you happen to bring a plate of food past them or rustle a bag within their hearing range, they may just think it’s feeding time and from across the hall you might hear a sudden burst of wheeking. Even if you might have fed them just an hour before, guinea pigs are definitely little piggies and love food, food, and food! Throw them a couple of veggies or treats and they’ll be as happy as can be (and might give you a content purr or mutter in return!)
Guinea pigs communicate with a wide array of different sounds. Through excited wheeks and unhappy shrieking, by keeping the above guide of guinea pig sounds in your mind, you can reach a better understanding of how your guinea pig is feeling. As pet owners, we strive to create the best possible environment for them, and through the most basic knowledge of their language, we can make this dream a reality.
Taking better care of your guinea pig starts with understanding them to the best of our abilities — and just a short read can make that happen.
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