What is My Guinea Pig Saying?
Guinea pigs are very communicative, and knowing what the different guinea pig sounds mean can help you take better care of them. Here are some common guinea pig sounds with a description of what your guinea pig is trying to say.
Eek or Wheek
This is one of the most common sounds guinea pigs make. It can be considered a “happy” sound. A guinea pig will make this sound when he is expecting to be fed or when he sees his owner after an absence. Sometimes a guinea pig will wheek to get your attention or just because she wants something. She might want to go outside, or he may want food or attention. If they hear anything that might remind them of food, like shopping bags rustling or a refrigerator door opening, they will often wheek. Wheeking is sometimes referred to as whistling, squealing, or eeking. Wheeking is common, and if your guinea pig isn’t wheeking at all, it might signal that your guinea pig is lonely. Guinea pigs are very social animals, so it’s a good idea to have more than one. If you only have one, just be sure to give it plenty of daily attention.
This is another “happy” sound. A guinea pig will make this sound when he is happy and contented. He will often purr when he’s getting petted or cuddled. Purring can sound like a rumbling sound, but it’s kind of a low, deep sound. Purring is sometimes referred to as “bubbling”. Sometimes, guinea pigs will purr when they’re being groomed, being fed, or exploring a new place. If your guinea pig’s purr happens in a short burst and he has a startled body language (e.g., he immediately freezes when moving), it could be he has been startled by something, like a noise or a sudden movement.
This is another “happy” sound. A male guinea pig will make this sound when he tries to mate with a female. Female guinea pigs often make this sound when they’re in the mood for romance. Guinea pigs might make the rumbling noise when in a group to exhibit their dominance. Sometimes a guinea pig will rumble when he’s angry or scared. You can tell by his body language and the context he’s in. Usually, if angry or scared, he will freeze or his body will vibrate a little.
This is another “happy” sound. This sound sounds like the guinea pig is mumbling to himself. It is sometimes called a “chut chut” or a “chubble”. Sometimes a guinea pig will mutter when he’s being petted or being fed or just walking around exploring. It means that he’s happy and contented.
Chirping is a distinctive sound that is not very common. There are some guinea pigs that chirp a lot, but there are guinea pig owners who have never heard any of their guinea pigs chirp at all. Oftentimes, there is no discernable reason for a guinea pig to chirp. Some do it just for the heck of it. Researchers have attributed chirping to being alarmed or disturbed. Sometimes a baby will chirp when it is separated from the rest of its litter.
Shrieking indicates something is wrong. A guinea pig will shriek when he’s hurt or really scared. This high-pitched noise demands your immediate attention. Shrieking can also be a warning call to warn others to get away, especially when around other guinea pigs. A shriek is usually some kind of alarm call, so you should investigate and see what’s going on with your guinea pig when he makes this sound.
Whining means your guinea pig is discontented about something. It’s a way for your guinea pig to express his distaste for something, someone, or some situation. If you pet him in the wrong place, or if she wants something she can’t have, you might hear a whine. Whining can start softly but increase in volume if the situation causing the displeasure is not rectified. Basically, the guinea pig is saying “Enough! Stop!”.
Teeth Chattering is a strong warning call. When a guinea pig is very upset or feels like he is in danger, he will chatter his teeth. This is a strong statement saying, “Stay away!” Some guinea pigs are ready to attack when you hear this call. Sometimes teeth chattering will be accompanied by defensive body language, like raising the fur around the neck to appear bigger and stronger. They may also stomp their feet or rock their body from side to side. These are all signs of aggressive behavior and indicate that the guinea pig could be ready to attack.
Here's a recording of an annoyed guinea pig. They make this sound when they want you to know "Enough already!"
Squeaking is a normal part of guinea pig chatter. Some guinea pigs will squeak when they're about to get fed. Sometimes they'll squeak when interacting with other guinea pigs or people. Sometimes they will squeak when a favorite person leaves the room. There are lots of reasons why a guinea pig can squeak, so to determine exactly what your guinea pig is squeaking for, pay attention to what's happening at the time to figure out what he's trying to tell you.