When we purchased our first guinea pigs and brought them home, we remember being really surprised about all the different sounds they made. We tried for many months to try to learn their sounds and try to figure out what they were trying to tell me.
There isn’t a lot of information around the different sounds that guinea pigs make and even what they mean.
Similarly to cats and dogs, the sounds that guinea pigs make provide an indication of how they are feeling and if there is an issue. Guinea pigs can communicate in many different and unique ways and it’s important to discover what they mean.
This will help you react quickly if your guinea pig is hurt or feeling threatened.
Understanding the different sounds your guinea pig makes will also help you build a closer relationship with them. This ensures a closer bond and helps you both get the most out of your time together.
When you have a Happy Guinea pig, they will often spend all their day making a variety of sounds such as purring, wheeking and chortling.
This is probably the most common of the guinea pig sounds! Every guinea pig owner has heard this when opening the fridge or opening their hay. Guinea pigs also use it when they are asking for attention so its important to get familiar with this sound.
We keep our guinea pigs in their own room upstairs and anytime someone goes upstairs, our little piggies wheek loudly asking for us to come and play with them. They also wheek when they wish to be let out of their cage or hutch and to enjoy some floor time.
The best way to describe wheeking is it is a high pitched sound that is often repeated and comes in short, sharp, fast bursts. This sound is used to express excitement and anticipation.
A fun fact about wheeking – Wild cavies do not wheek! Wheeking is directed exclusively to humans and never happens in the wild. Guinea pigs developed this new sound as a way to express to humans that they wish to be fed – clever piggies!
Click here to listen to what wheeking sounds like.
Purring isn’t just for cats! Guinea pigs have a few different types of purr depending upon the situation they are in. A deep purring sound usually comes during lap time and means they are relaxed, calm and comfortable.
A guinea pigs happy purr is a low and deep grumble type of purr. It will be easy to tell it’s the happy purr as your piggie will appear content and relaxed.
If your guinea pig makes a high pitched purr, similar to a cat then this is not a happy purr. In fact, it’s their way of telling you they are annoyed. We have found our guinea pigs tend to make this sound if they are happy and relaxed and something (or someone!) startles them.
This annoyed purr will be shorter than the happy purr and will be presented in short bursts opposed to the happy continuous rumble.
Rumbling is best described as a low and more active purr. A rumbling guinea pig will often walk slowly towards other guinea pigs and appear to be swinging their hips from side to side.
Rumbling is a sign of dominance used typically towards other guinea pigs. It can also be used by male guinea pigs when courting females.
A rumbling guinea pig appears to almost vibrate whilst making this sounds. A low rumble whilst the guinea pig making the sounds is walking away, indicates that the piggie is showing passive resistance to the more dominant guinea pig.
Click here to listen to what rumbling sounds like.
This noise is fairly rare among guinea pigs so do not feel offended if your guinea pig never chuts. Chutting sound a lot like purring although your piggie will make a distinctive “chut” sounds repeatedly.
Chutting occurs during stroking mainly, however our guinea pigs chut happily whilst they explore their room.
My least favourite guinea pig sound as this one means they are sensing imminent danger or are in pain. We are lucky that we have never heard this sound from any of our guinea pigs however it’s definitely one to be aware of.
If you have to take your guinea pig to the vet for the first time, its common to hear this sounds from them, unfortunately. If you keep a large number of guinea pigs you also may hear this sound which is signalling that there is trouble between them.
This sounds exactly how you would think – a loud high pitch shriek similar to a shout for help.
This sound often sounds like the quick succession of teeth grinding and is a fairly common sound. Your guinea pig will make this sound when they are feeling unhappy or agitated.
Our guinea pigs make this sound if we are too playful after their nap or if they have finished their lap time before you have.
Another noise that isn’t very common. This sound is pretty self-explanatory and your guinea pig will make it when they feel distressed or threatened.
This sound is particularly important when you introduce a new piggie into the mix.
This sound is an indication that your pet is distressed or in trouble. If your guinea pig makes this sounds constantly then its best to seek medical attention from a vet.
It’s important to remember that all guinea pigs are individuals and yours won’t make all these noises. Enjoy and celebrate the sounds they make when they are happy.
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” AA Milne
Once you start listening out for your guinea piggies sounds and understanding them, it opens up a whole new part of your relationship. What kind of sounds do you guinea pigs make? Have you learned any new ones? I’d love to hear from you so comment below!