The reason behind your guinea pig sound and noises Upgrade your relationship with your guinea pigs: understand what they are trying to tell you.

Guinea pigs are small, flurry and simply cute animals to have at home, but, some purchase a guinea pig thinking it would be a quiet companion. Far from reality! Guinea pigs are surprisingly noisy pets, the caring owner will worry about having a healthy and happy guinea pig at home. Therefore understanding the noises your guinea pig makes will help you provide a better environment and treatment for your dear home pet.

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Here at PetComments, we'll help you achieve this goal by sharing with you the most frequent sounds you'll probably listen in your guinea pig and the significance for you and your pet.

Different Sounds Guinea Pigs Make

Wheeking

This is a high pitched, loud noise guinea pig do often when being happy or excited. Is associated with mealtime or play time.

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This is the most frequent sound you'll probably hear in your guinea pig, or you should since it means they are happy. Now "Wheeking" is an onomatopoeic term also known as "squealing" or "whistling".

If your guinea pig has plenty of food and yet it continues to wheek loudly it probably wants to play, walk out for a bit or is very happy to see you if you're on their sight. An interesting fact is that this "Wheeking" is a sound guinea pig only emit with humans. Wild guinea pigs don’t emit this sound, therefore this is a sound they learned while interacting with humans.

Purring

Have you ever heard something different than a cat purr?...No?...Well guinea pigs do purr, the sound they make tough is somewhat different of the cat’s purr. A guinea pig purr is deeper than a cat’s and more consistent.

Guinea pigs purr when they feel content and comfortable, they usually purr when you are petting them. A strong difference between a cat and a guinea pig purr is that it can mean completely different things, while in a cat a purr can only mean content, in the guinea pig that isn’t always the case. When the purr is high pitched towards the end and the guinea pig is tense your small friend is probably annoyed or scared.

Rumble

guinea pig sounds

A rumble is very similar to a purr, but, it comes with a lower pitch than the content purr. The rumbling sound is something you will only hear if you have a pair of guinea pigs since this is the mating call of the male to the female.

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A good way of telling them apart is watching their behavior; the male will start moving his hips and move around the female is like a dance only they understand. The female will sometime rumble too, this happens when she is in season and ready to mate making the male aware that she is available for romance.

Growling

Yes those tiny things growl! It may not sound scary as it would if it came from a rabid dog, but they do growl. Fear them.

The sound is similar to most animals, and like most animals, this is a sound of distress. Guinea pigs growl when they feel threatened for something, someone, or when their environment changes too much.

If you hear your guinea pig growling go check them immediately if there is no actual danger around make sure to pet them to make them feel at ease. If the growling is directed at another guinea pig make sure to put them in a larger cage so they won’t feel uncomfortable.

Teeth chattering

The name says it all. You will hear this noise when your guinea pig feels angry, unhappy or agitated. Teeth chattering happen often when introducing a guinea pig to another since they are not used to each other yet. To avoid this, introduce both guinea pigs gradually till they no longer chatter.

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Shrieking

guinea pig sounds and meanings

This is a sound you want to avoid your pet from making, is high pitched noise that signals discontent, pain or fear. If you hear this sound from your guinea pig you must go check what happens, if you own more than one guinea pig is likely that one bite another.

When going to the vet for the first time to get shots, the shrieking sound is to be expected, but if we take proper care of our pets a shrieking sound should be extremely rare.

Whining

Like a high pitched moan, guinea pigs whine when feeling disturbed or bothered. If you do something that makes them feel uncomfortable, perhaps petting them too hard, they will make this sound so that you know they don’t like it (and you are annoying).

Coughing

Like other animals guinea pigs can sneeze or cough and it can happen for many reasons. If the coughing is accompanied with respiratory problems, lack of appetite, and other symptoms of illness is a good idea to take your pet to a vet.

About the reason for the coughing, it could be because of dust irritating his or her lungs, so remember to keep their space clean and their hay fresh. Bacterial infections could also affect your guinea pig too, these should be ruled out from the beginning as it could seriously threaten your pet’s health.

When observing your guinea pig, don’t only listen to their sounds, also watch over their physical behavior, this one usually complements the noises so that you have a better understanding of what your pet needs. This is a way of communication for them. For this reason, if you just got a new guinea pig, be patient. Understand your pet, that way you'll have a happy guinea pig that will charm your day every day

References and further readings:

  1. Hartz, Understanding Your Pet Guinea Pig: A Guide to Behavioral Patterns
  2. Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue, Guinea Pig Sounds

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