Guinea Pig Sounds
Have you ever thought what it would be like to be able to talk to your fluffy friends? While we can only wish for that to happen, being familiar with the sounds and noises your Guinea pigs make can be the next best thing to understanding what they’re trying to say.
Aside from the advantage of being able to better communicate with your cavies, knowing what message they’re trying to get across can be vital when it comes to taking care of them.
Like any pets, Guinea pigs have their way of communicating with their owners and cage mates. They can produce specific sounds and noises when they are experiencing different feelings such as excitement, playfulness, contentment, anger or sadness.
Although you might hear them squeak all the time, those guinea pig noises come in different pitches, volumes, and frequencies that can mean different things, as mentioned above. To give you a better sense of guinea pig sounds and what you need to do when you hear them, here is our list of Guinea pig noises and their meaning.
1. Wheeking Wheeking is one of the most common noises Guinea pigs produce. Wheeking in cavies is so common that most people consider this guinea pig sound as distinct as a “woof” to a dog or a “meow” to a cat. Wheeking is a type of purr that expresses excitement and anticipation that is mostly related to hunger or the desire to eat. Also, this sound is believed to be usually directed to their human owners and is generally considered to be a happy sound. When a Guinea pig wheeks, you will hear a series of short squeaks followed by high-pitched squeals or the whistle-like noises in between that are often long and loud. If you have a specific time when you feed your Guinea pigs, you will notice that this is the time of the day they usually wheek the loudest. You’ll also hear your cavies wheek whenever they seek attention, especially when you enter the room or before you leave.
Just like cats, Guinea pigs purr for a variety of reasons, but their way of purring isn’t the same way as cats do. Your cavy’s purr isn’t as high-pitched as the cat’s and it is more like a combination between the sound of a low purr of a feline and a grumble of a canine. This sound is also distinct to Guinea pigs since no other animals produce the same noise. When you hear your cavy purr, it means that it is comfortable and satisfied as purring usually relates to Guinea pigs being generally happy – like when humans hum to a song. Although this sound may appear to be mostly positive, cavies may sometimes purr due to other reasons. For example:
Rumbling or low-pitched purring means they are relaxed and content. It is the sound that you would want to hear when you pet or handle them. You will also hear the rumble sounds whenever they’re going about their daily routine as if whistling along their activities.
Some owners mistakenly confuse rumbling as growling sound. Compared to the low-pitched, rapid noise they make when they growl, the rumbling is a long, gentle, and slow, medium-pitched purr, mostly produced by male guinea pigs when looking for a mate.
When they are irritated or annoyed, they produce a high-pitched noise that sounds like a loud purr. The sound is followed by teeth chattering or hissing which are both associated with aggression.
Short purrs usually mean that they are agitated, scared or aggravated. When you hear them purring in low-pitched and short rapid sequences, this means they’re telling you to back off or they are afraid so you should be more careful and gentle when handling or petting them.
3. Teeth Chattering
Teeth chattering or hissing is when your cavies produce a low-pitched clicking sound followed by a rapid sequence of loud squeaks. As previously mentioned, they usually make this sound when they’re angry or annoyed, and it can even mean they are showing dominance towards other Guinea pigs, especially when you introduce cavies the first time. Like rumble purring, they may appear to be shaking due to the chattering motion they make with their teeth. When you hear your cavies chatter, it means that they are testing or warning each other to respect each other’s space. They usually do this by showing off their teeth as they raise their head to appear bigger and more intimidating.
As previously mentioned, growling can be confused with the happy rumbling or purring sound. When you hear your cavies growl, they will produce a low-pitched and rapid “brrr” or “drrr” that is usually followed by the teeth chattering or hissing sound. They also do this while they’re showing off their teeth as a sign of aggression or dominance. However, growling doesn’t entirely mean aggression in Guinea pigs. They sometimes make this sound when they are distressed or agitated, especially when experiencing sudden changes in their environment or when they’re being moved to different cages. They can make this sound when they’re sensing danger as well. When you hear your piggies growl, start petting them comfortably to make them feel calm and relaxed. Also, avoid removing them from their cages when there’s no need to and try to stick with a feeding schedule.
Cavies scream or shriek when they are experiencing fear and panic or when they are in pain. When you hear them make this sound, it can be worrisome and it should be a sign for you to check on them right away. However, if you’re doing your best in taking care of them, you shouldn’t worry about hearing this sound too often. Shrieking is when you hear a loud, high-pitched, piercing sound like a combination of squeak, whine, and chirp all at once. Aside from the sound implying a demand for attention, shrieking can also mean that they are warning other cavies to get away.
Aside from shrieking or growling, your cavies may moan or whine when they’re feeling anxious or disturbed. For example, cavies may scream in disappointment whenever they get awakened from a good nap or when they are interrupted while munching on their afternoon snack. They also make this sound when they’re doing something that they do not enjoy. You’ll most likely hear this sound when you try to pick them up when they want to be left alone and roam free. When you hear your cavies whine while you’re holding them, it is best to leave them alone.
Chirping is a rare and mysterious phenomenon among Guinea pigs. When you hear this sound, you will think that a bird flew into your house as chirping Guinea pigs sound very bird-like. As fascinating as it seems, chirping is the least understood as it doesn’t usually happen in all cavies. Some owners report that one or two of their piggies chirp a lot while some never hear it at all. We have a chirper in our herd here at NFPS Cavies.
One of the most distinct behaviours that you’ll notice when a Guinea pig chirps is that it may appear to be in a trance-like state. When cavies chirp, they exhibit bizarre behaviours like standing still as if singing in a concert, their ears may flap back and forth, and their eyes open very wide. Also, the frequency of chirping may vary – they can chirp fast or slow. There’s no known reason as to why some Guinea pigs chirp.
Chutting is also a form of purring that is associated with the same positive feeling of happiness and contentment, like wheeking. Guinea pigs produce this sound usually when they are actively and happily exploring their environment. Also, you’ll most likely hear them chut and wheek while they’re popcorning as a sign that they’re genuinely having a good time.