Guinea pigs make a lot of different noises and it sometimes hard to understand what are they saying. The noises they make are not random and each one of them is used for a specific situation/ emotion that they want to express. Some of the noises they make are relaxing and a sign of happiness and you will enjoy them.
Other sounds are warning sound and they are used for showing dominance or just keep away from me. They also have a sound for distress, calling for help or just showing that they are scared
There is a lot of questions you could be asking your self
- What does a happy guinea pig sound like?
- Why do guinea pigs make grunting noises?
- Why does my guinea pig sound like a bird?
When you are new with guinea pigs and all of the sounds you hear are for the first time and they can be confusing. So i have written this article and embedded audio sounds to help you understand what is your Cavy telling so let’s start
Why is my Guinea Pig Wheeking?
The most common sound that you usually hear from your guinea pig. Wheeking sound relates to the excitement either when they are asking for or getting food, being let out, or playing.
Most of the owners know that the moment they are opening a bag with treats or the fridge door is opening, Cavy’s starts to make this noise that resembles a long whistle sound. They also make this noise when they are thrilled to play with some toy. It can also be used just for attracting your attention.
An interesting thing i read recently is that scientists discovered that wheeking is the noise that was developed by guinea pigs to communicate with humans because they say that in wild they do not make this noise. Humans are food providers when they are in captivity and also hand fed so this is the main reason for developing wheeking sound.
Why is my Guine Pig Purring?
Purring can present different emotions, it can show that they are annoyed and they want you to stop what you doing, this purr is usually high pitched. And you will be able to see that they are very tense.
A good example was given by Abby from skinny pigs, when she pets her Cavy, down her back and gets to close to her bump guinea pig will start purring, and if she keeps doing that her Cavy will get up and leave. If she stops petting before the bump area she will stay and enjoy petting. So in here case it is the sign of discomfort and telling the owner to stop.
They will also make purr sound if they hear some unexpected or new noise (if you drop something) and become scared.
Some owners have experienced purring when as a sign of happiness and the purring is soft and low, the body is totally relaxed so you can see that they are enjoying petting them for example.
Me personally have never experienced happy purr and i have to agree with Abby that when guinea pigs are happy they are ussing happy talk not purring but not all Cavy’s are the same.
You find some owners explaining unhappy purring as durr and happy as sof purr but after a while, you will learn what is your pet telling you
Meaning of Rumble Strutting in Guinea pigs
The rumble strutting is a combination of the sound and body vibration that guinea pigs use as a dominance display and they use it in communication with other Cavyis. While making the rumbling sound they also look like they are vibrating, you should not worry when you hear this sound, it is common everyday communication.
For example, they make a sound when they are introduced to a new guinea. The same sound will be produced by two males who will make this noise at each other to show who is the dominant male, which will continue until one of them walks away. In case it lasts too long you should step in and prevent the altercation.
The rumbling is also used as a mating ritual, male will also go around the female and wiggle its hips making this low vibrating sound to attract females to mate. It happens sometimes that females (that are in heat) will make this sound to attract males as they are forced to make the first move if they realize that males are not wooing them at that time.
Why does my Guinea Pig make Teeth Chattering sound?
They use this sound towards other guinea pigs, humans or they just want to show that they are bothered by something. They use teeth chartering when they want to make other guinea pig back down or just say ”move out of my way”.
Cavy’s will use this sound also if they need some space and another guinea pig is making them uncomfortable using so they are showing that they are frustrated with the situation that they are in. They can use this sound when they are in pain.
Chattering is also used when they are introduced to a new guinea pig, in a way they are checking out each other through this sound. If you have two males in a cage they will use this to each other as a warning something like stays away from my territory (cage dominance).
It usually ends by one of the males going away but if you hear that they are not stopping with chatter and nobody is backing up, step in and separate them before they start fighting. This will happen on more occasions especially when guinea pigs are new to each other. Until they learn to live together you should be involved and helping them to find a common ground.
Teeth chattering is used both by males and females but usually, males are the ones that will use this sound the most.
In case if you find you Cavy is chathering by him self and there is no obvious reason most likely they are in pain , so good thing would be to take it to the vet.
Why is my Guinea pig Squeeking / Shrieking?
It is a very high-pitched sound and it represents a very alarming situation that will scare you a bit. They are making this sound either they are afraid of something or they are in pain and you should check if they need help. They make this sound if other guinea pigs bite them and it was painful.
Also, another good example is when you are clipping their nails and you have cut the nail to close to the ”quick”. In case you hear this sound when your guinea pig is trying to go to the toilet, it is a sign that you should take it to a vet because they could have a bladder infection or similar situation.
All in all this sound is translated as asking for help so make sure you check your pet and provide them help.
What Growling means ?
This is a warning sound and they use it when they feel threatened by something in their surrounding and they feel that there is no way out. For example, they can start growling if they hear a sudden loud noise and they freeze in fear so you can help them by petting them softly to calm them and assure that all is good and they are safe.
If the growling is combined with teeth chattering maybe they just want to be left alone and need their space free from other guinea pigs or humans.
Chirrup in Guinea Pigs
Very rare sound and it sounds amazing,it resembles a bird sound its like a canary entered the cage : ). This sound is a big mystery for everybody and nobody is sure what it means. It can happen that something startled them and they enter some sort of a trance state.
Some of the thing that is a type of a warning or to confuse the predator as and defensive strategy but it is very rare sound and do not give to much thought into it because most likely will not hear it.
Chutting a Happy Sound
You will hear chutting noise when guinea pigs are happy and relaxed. They make this noise when they are enjoying themself by exploring surroundings. For example, when you change their cage setup and put them back inside they start to explore around and find out what is new. So all in all happy sound.
Cooing a Nurturing Sound
It is usually a sound that guinea pigs mom makes to calm down the babies or just when she has her babies around her and nursing them Some guinea pigs use it to calm other guinea pigs. It happens if some guinea pigs like you a lot so you can get a cooing sound as a sound of affection. Cooing is generally the sound of relaxation, happiness affection
What does Hooting mean?
This is a sound that guinea pigs make either they have something in their throat so they will try to clear it and usually they succeed. If that sound persists it could be a sign of respiratory disease and they should be taken to a vet. If you hear it for example when your Cavy is eating and hooting is combined with a cough that lasts for a few seconds and stops they are just clearing their throat.
Quiet Guinea Pigs
There are some guinea pigs that are less vocal then others and that is ok.But if you notice a change in behavior and the noisy Cavy becomes quiet you should concider taking it to the vet for checkup.The same goes if the quiet Cavy start to make more noise than usual it could also be a sign that something is wrong.
When you read about all the different sound your Cavy is making it seems like you need a translator to understand what are they saying. Do not worry, every Cavy owner after a while starts to understand all the sounds and noises their pet is making. Hopefully, after reading this article it is a bit clearer what most common sounds represent and will help you understand your pet.