Different Guinea Pig Sounds and What They Mean

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guinea pig sounds

When it comes to understanding your pet, deciphering their sounds and behaviors is key. Guinea pigs are very communicative pets and they are eager to tell you what emotions they are feeling.

Different Guinea Pig Sounds and What They Mean: There are many different types of guinea pig sounds and behaviors. Some show they are happy, such as when they purr while being held, or when they pop up when you are approaching. Guinea pigs can make high-pitched wheeking sounds when they are eagerly anticipating their next meal. Furthermore, guinea pigs can shriek when in pain and chatter their teeth when they are angry or frightened. To really understand the sounds your guinea pig makes, look at their environment when they make each distinct sound. Also, try to respect what they are saying and respond in a caring manner.

What do guinea pig sounds mean?

what do guinea pig sounds mean

Guinea pig sounds mean a whole host of emotions. Just as humans have different ways of expressing ourselves, so too do these fuzzy pets.

The good news is with a bit of observation, you will soon be able to understand what your guinea pig is trying to tell you.

Different Guinea Pig Sounds and Their Meaning

different guinea pig sounds

Chirping

While most guinea pig sounds are easily understood, chirping is still a bit of a mystery. The chirping from a guinea pig sounds similar to a bird and isn’t often heard from guinea pigs.

Its lack of use makes it hard to understand, especially if there are no obvious external factors to examine.

Sometimes when a guinea pig makes a chirping sound, they can appear to be in a trance-like state. If this is the case, it’s best to make sure there are no obvious threats to your guinea pig and then let them sort things out on their own.  

Teeth Chattering

Guinea pigs use many different parts of their body to make sounds. Teeth chattering is when a guinea pig quite literally chatters its teeth.

The sound is used to intimidate another animal and is a way of showing strength. If your guinea pig is angry or agitated, they will show and rattle their teeth, hoping the other animal takes the hint and leaves.

Wheeking

No, this isn’t a made-up word. Wheeking is specific to guinea pigs and is a sound they make when they are particularly excited.

Wheeking often happens around feeding time, showing your guinea pig is both excited and full of anticipation about the food they’re about to enjoy.

This sound is distinguished by a long squeal that can sometimes sound like a whistle. It is also quite loud.

Hissing

No matter what animal engages in hissing, its purpose is usually understood right away. When guinea pigs hiss, it means they are upset.

The guinea pig wants the other animal to go away or the activity to stop.

Whining

Much like a toddler whines when they are annoyed, so too do guinea pigs whine. This long, low sound, kind of like moaning, happens when your guinea pig has a dislike for something.

It could be in response to another guinea pig, or even an activity you are engaged in.

Shrieking

It should come as no surprise that when a guinea pig shrieks, they are in pain or experiencing intense fear. Shrieking is usually in the form of a loud, piercing noise and sometimes sounds like a very strong squeak.

There are many reasons for a guinea pig to shriek. If you hear the noise, be sure to check on your fuzzy pet.

Rumbling

While you might mistake this sound for purring, rumbling is much deeper than purring. It also has much different connotations.

When a guinea pig rumble is expressed, it’s for the purpose of mating. A male will make the rumbling sound, demonstrating to a female guinea pig that they are interested. A female guinea pig will then decide if they want to take up the other on the offer.

Often a rumbling is accompanied by rumble strutting. This is the closest a guinea pig gets to a mating dance and it can be quite interesting to observe.

Purring

Purring is common in most animals, so it’s no surprise guinea pigs have their own version. However, there are different categories of purring so you will want to pay attention to your guinea pig’s actions to decipher its meaning.

If your guinea pig is engaged in a deep purring sound, it means they are calm and relaxed. They might engage in purring if sitting on your lap and being gently stroked.

If your guinea pig has a higher pitched purring, then it means they are annoyed or angry. Perhaps the petting has become too hard or they want to be released to run around.

Finally, a guinea pig might have a purr that is short in structure. If this sound is accompanied by your guinea pig remaining motionless, it means they are afraid or uncertain.

Cooing

This gentle guinea pig sound is quite adorable. It is used when guinea pigs want to communicate reassurance.

Often, cooing is used by female guinea pigs when they are around their babies.

Guinea Pig Gestures and Their Meaning

guinea pig gestures

Touching Noses

There isn’t anything much cuter than when two guinea pigs meet each other. They get really close and will touch noses with each other.

While part of this act involves smelling, touching noses is a cute way of two guinea pigs becoming friends.

Fidgeting While Being Held

While you may love holding your guinea pig, they might get a bit tired of it, and will fidget to show they are done with the activity.

Also watch out as fidgeting may be a sign your guinea pig has to go to the bathroom. It’s best for everyone if you respect your guinea pig and put them back in their pen when they start to fidget.

Scent Marking

Because guinea pigs have such a heightened sense of smell, they like to leave their own scents for other animals to discover. In essence, this is a way for them to mark their territory.

Guinea pigs will rub different parts of their body on objects, including their chins and their backsides. Sometimes, if there are other guinea pigs, one will urinate on an object to show their dominance.

Freezing

When a guinea pig freezes, it is quite obvious to spot. In essence, your guinea pig will stop what they are doing and remain motionless.

Freezing is usually a response to a new element in their environment and allows the guinea pig to take stock of it, to determine if it is a threat or not.

Popcorning

One of the cutest gestures guinea pigs make is when they popcorn. In essence, they go from standing on all four paws and pop up to stand on just their back two.

The behavior shows that your guinea pig is excited or happy. It is often used with young guinea pigs that are looking to engage in some play.

Licking

While you may think your guinea pig is showering you with little kisses, licking may be a bit more practical. Everyone has some amount of salt on their skin, due to sweating, and guinea pigs often lick humans because they like the taste.

Tossing Head in the Air

Guinea pigs have a few ways of telling you they’re done with being held and tossing their head in the air is one way. If your guinea pig repeatedly does this, it’s best to return them right away.

Mounting

When a guinea pig mounts another guinea pig, it is either a sexual behavior or a show of dominance.

Male guinea pigs will mount female guinea pigs to mate. Alternately, mounting can be asexual and instead used to reinforce the social structure in a herd.

Strutting

The act of strutting is usually accompanied with either rumbling sounds or teeth chattering, depending on what the guinea pig’s mood is

Strutting and rumbling sounds are equivalent to a mating dance. Whereas strutting, or moving from side to side while chattering their teeth, is a sign of aggression.  

Aggressive Actions

Usually, guinea pigs are communal animals that enjoy living in a herd. However, sometimes they feel the need to assert themselves, which is shown in their aggressive actions.

Examples of this behavior include guinea pigs rising up on their hind legs, as if they are ready to fight. Guinea pigs may also fluff out their fur or show their teeth.

Often, aggressive actions are used in conjunction with hissing sounds and teeth chattering.

If this behavior persists, you may need to separate your guinea pigs until they calm down, and possibly find a different location for each pet.

Sniffing

Guinea pigs have a highly developed sense of smell and use this constantly. Guinea pigs will continually sniff in new situations, especially around other guinea pigs or humans.

If two guinea pigs are meeting, they will sniff each other around the chins, nose, ears, and backside.

You should let guinea pigs have as much sniffing time as they need so they don’t feel frightened around new situations.

Conclusion

There are many common guinea pig sounds and actions. Understanding them can help you bond with your furry friend for a harmonious relationship.

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