8 guinea pig sounds and their meanings

8 Guinea Pig Sounds and What They Mean (with Examples)

Guinea pigs are fascinating creatures that make a wide range of noises. You’d be surprised about how high and low their pitch can be. After hours of researching, I condensed all the Guinea pig sounds and what they mean in this article. 

When I first adopted my first Guinea pigs, I was surprised by the variety of sounds that they could make from their tiny mouths. 

The amount of sounds your Guinea pig vocalizes also depends on their personality, like humans. 

For example, Popcorn likes to convey his message with obvious body language and actions. He would chew on the cage’s bars like an alarm clock to tell me, “You’re 5 minutes late to feeding me breakfast! I’m dying over here!”.  

Mochi, on the other hand, is the vocalist of the group. He will wheel as long as he can when I come home to demand treats. 

And Coffee? Well, with the other two piggies advocating and protesting for more veggies every day, he doesn’t need to do anything to get treats. Two alarms are enough for me. 

Okay, enough talking. Let’s get into what you’re here for – 8 types of Guinea pig sounds and what they mean. 

How many sounds can Guinea pigs make?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how many noises a Guinea pig can make. That’s because some sounds appear very similar to the human ear. 

However, experts say that there are 9 main types of sounds a Guinea pig makes. Some are made more frequently, and a few that you might not even hear once in your Guinea pig’s life.  

What sounds can Guinea pigs make? 

Guinea pigs make a wide variety of sounds, but here are some examples:

  • Wheeking
  • Chutting 
  • Rumbling
  • Whimpering 
  • Teeth Chattering
  • Shrieking 
  • Chirping
  • Whining 

How to determine what a Guinea pig’s sound means

Body language: You can’t dissect what your Guinea pig sounds mean if you carefully look at their body language. Yes, it’s that important.  This is especially helpful for sounds that sound very similar but have very different meanings, like purring. 

Context: Another factor that’s just as crucial is the context. What’s happening that made your Guinea pig vocalize its feelings? This will help you determine what your piggy is saying. 

For example, if your Guinea pig is wheeking. Does it want food and attention, or on alert? Looking at your surroundings and context will make it much more clear 

Timing: How long did your Guinea pig make this sound? Does it come in short bursts or does it voice the sound for 20 seconds straight? These are just some of the things to hear. 

guinea pig names ideas

Wheeking 

“I’m happy!”

“ I’m hungry and I want food!”

“I want attention!”

Wheeking in guinea pigs generally means they are happy, excited, and want attention. It sounds like a loud and sharp whistle sound and your Guinea pigs will most likely wheek several times with other Guinea pigs joining in. 

My guinea pigs usually wheek when they hear my footsteps walking to their rooms or hearing the fridge door open. They make the wheeling sounds to express their excitement and also say “I want food NOW!”. In that case, I like to give them veggies or some healthy homemade treats like these DIY hay cookies for guinea pigs.

Wheeking is usually more heard of in younger guinea pigs than older ones because, like humans, kids get excited more easily.

Whining

“I don’t like this”

A guinea pig whining almost sounds like a high-pitched moan. It usually means they are annoyed, bothered, or disturbed.

For example, they may make whining sounds when someone wakes them up from their nap or dream (yes, they have dreams!), or when you are picking them up. In these cases, it’s best to let them be and don’t disturb them.

However, sometimes a softer variation of whining (like whining in a lower, weaker volume) may indicate that they are in pain. This can be from a lot of things, such as bladder stones. If this is the case, remember to watch them closely and take them to the vet if needed.

Chutting

“I’m relaxed and happy”

Imagine stepping into a new park when you were young, or just looking around a big place, curious and excited. That’s how your guinea pig feels when they make chutting sounds.

Chutting, or clucking, is a pleasant sound that’s kind of hard to describe in words. Some express chutting as a low to medium chirruping sound. Others say it sounds like “clucking” sounds like how a mother hen would make. Adding to that, they tend to make this noise in conjunction with each step they take.

Either way, when your guinea pig makes chutting or clucking sounds, it means you are doing a good job being a piggie parent.

Guinea pigs make chutting sounds when they are interacting with their piggy buddies positively, exploring a new environment curiously (say, a new cage setup, being in a playpen, or exploring a maze), and just enjoying their lives in general.

Purring / Bubbling

What does a Guinea pig purr sound like? 

A Guinea pig purrs are low, continuous vibrating murmurs that sound very similar to a cat’s purr. Some people describe it as “bubbling”.

I know, it’s quite interesting that a tiny potato-shaped fur ball that emits high pitch wheeks can reach such a low tone as well  

There are different kinds of Guinea pig purring and they mean very different things. It depends on the situation and your Guinea pig’s body language, but here are some meanings of Guinea pig purring 

guinea pig sounds and their meanings - purring

Why do Guinea pigs purr?

A Guinea pig purrs for many reasons. In most cases, purring means they are feeling happy, comfortable and content. Other times, it may mean your Guinea pig is feeling threatened. 

You can differentiate the sounds by the pitch and length of the purring. 

What are the 2 meanings of guinea pig purring?

Feeling content and happy

If your guinea pig is making a deep purring sound, that sounds like bubbling and its body language is relaxed and calm, this means it feels comfortable and happy. This usually happens when your guinea pig is bonded with you and loves you (here are 10 signs your guinea pig loves you).

A happy guinea pig purring usually occurs when you’re cuddling or petting your piggy, or when they are being fed. Other times, your guinea pigs might let out a happy purr when they are exploring a new area or snuggling with their buddy.

Feeling Annoyed or threatened

A high-pitched, short purr, especially near the end of the purr, may mean that your guinea pig is annoyed, stressed, or threatened. Their body language will be paired with a tense posture, most of the time while being motionless and still. 

Sometimes when a guinea pig is feeling tense, they may even vibrate too. However, this also applies when they are feeling happy. 

This sound is a warning to other guinea pigs, humans, or another sound like a phone ringing. 

Teeth Chattering

“I’m warning you, stay away!”

“I want this so bad!”

Teeth chattering in guinea pigs is one of the more common ways they vocalize their feelings of annoyance and warn others to stay away. When chattering their teeth, the piggies usually make a rapid clicking sound, paired with tensing their body and facing the thing they consider the threat.

Guinea Pigs chatter their teeth to warn others to leave them alone and not to interfere with their territory or personal space. You usually hear it when bonding your guinea pigs, or when you are doing something to them that they don’t like, such as clipping their nails.

Some mother piggies may chatter their teeth if they feel that you are getting too close with her pups as well.

Another cause of your guinea pigs to chatter their teeth is when they want something. For example, when they see you getting pea flakes, they may run up to you and chatter their teeth. In this context, they’re saying, “I want the pea flakes, human!”.

Does guinea pig teeth chattering mean they’re cold?

No. Even though humans chatter their teeth when they are cold, that’s not the case for guinea pigs. These furry creatures chatter their teeth as a sign of annoyance and a warning.

In the video below, you’ll hear sounds that guinea pigs commonly make during introduction and bonding. Including teeth chattering and rumbling.

Rumbling

“I’m the boss!”

“I want to mate with you”

Rumbling is a repeated low-pitched sound that almost sounds like growling and purring combined. Usually, it comes with a vibrating effect too. Your guinea pig may also sway their chubby hips left and right while rumbling, holding their head high and walking slowly. Their fur may be a little puffed up to make themselves look bigger and mightier as well. This is called “rumble strutting“, sometimes nicknamed the “war dance”.

There are two meanings when your guinea pig makes rumbling sounds.

The first is to show their hostility and assert dominance. This is especially common in boars and when bonding guinea pigs. My guinea pigs constantly made rumble strutting noises when they were first introduced because they were fighting to be the boss and neither guinea pig wanted to back down. Sometimes it indicates that the piggies are about to fight, so keep an eye on them when they are making this sound. I actually had to separate my piggies for a while after.

guinea pig rumbling meaning

The second meaning of rumble strutting is mating. Your guinea pig may make rumble sounds to woo its crush/another guinea pig to mate. A male guinea pig may start wiggling his hips and walk around the female piggie in a pattern to get her attention and say, “Let’s mate!”.

On the other hand, if a female guinea pig wants to signal to male guinea pigs that she’s in season and ready to mate, she will make rumble strutting sounds too.

What is rumble strutting in guinea pigs?

Rumble strutting is when a guinea pig makes a low-pitched rumbling sound repeatedly while swaying their hips back and forth. It can mean they are showing dominance and also a mating call.

Shrieking / Screaming

“Help!”

“I’m in pain!”

“I’m very scared!”

Sometimes humans scream in excitement, but when a guinea pig screams, it’s never a good thing. Because shrieking means they are in pain, terrified, screaming for help, or all of the above.

A guinea pig’s scream sounds like a loud squeal. If the pain seems to be the cause of your guinea pig’s shrieking, please remove the potential sources of its pain (for example, if they were bitten by another guinea pig, separate them immediately) and take it to the vet as soon as possible. Because their health can go from 1 to 100 really quickly. Here are 3 things you NEED to know, about having guinea pigs.

Chirping

guinea pig chirping

Chirping is a rare sound that many guinea pig owners may never hear even once in a piggie’s life. I know, it’s weird how guinea pigs can make the sounds of a bird. Right? And chirping is exactly how you imagine it to be – chirping.

Chirping in guinea pigs is not studied extensively, so researchers are still not very sure what it means. But it’s believed that chirping is a sign of low-level stress or discomfort. In other words, they’re feeling uneasy. But unlike shrieking or teeth chattering, they are not in a full-blown panic mode.

What to do when your guinea pig is chirping?

Ig your guinea pig is making chirping sounds, it’s important to find out the cause of their stress and remove them from your piggy’s environment as soon as possible.

Video

Conclusion

And there you have it, the fascinating world of guinea pig sounds and their meanings! By now, you’re well-equipped to understand and communicate with your adorable furry friends. But the learning doesn’t have to stop here.

Remember, every guinea pig is unique, and it may take time to decipher their vocalizations fully. But with patience, love, and a keen eye for their cues, you’ll become a guinea pig sound expert in no time!

If you want to dive deeper into the wonderful world of guinea pigs, why not sign up for our “Potato Piggies Post” newsletter? It’s your one-stop resource for all things guinea pig-related, filled with tips, tricks, and heartwarming stories about these incredible creatures. Plus, as a loyal subscriber, you’ll be the first to know about new videos and discounts!

If you have any further questions or would like to share your experiences with guinea pig sounds, please leave a comment below. Happy guinea pig sounds decoding!

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