Unfortunately, speaking guinea pig is a skill that very few of us possess, and so unless you’re Doctor Dolittle, understanding the meanings behind all your pet’s squeaks and grunts can be mighty difficult.
Guinea pigs appear very cute and quiet, but they are in fact very vocal creatures and will more often than not use a variety of noises to express their feelings and desires, from hunger to fear.
Although it may seem like a foreign language now, understanding your little piggy is actually incredibly easy if you’re willing to get clued up on guinea-based jargon. A lot of the noises are based on their behaviour and feelings.
So if you’ve got a particularly chatty little chap, be sure to consult the handy translator below and finally figure out just what all that squeaking is about!
Guinea pig noises and their meanings
A sound that is very much unique to guinea pigs, wheeking is a long, high-pitched squeal that can often resemble a whistle. Think middle-aged women at a Take That concert – except at a much less stressful decibel.
It’s one of the most common noises you’ll hear a guinea make, and it’s how they communicate sheer excitement and anticipation, so you’ll often hear it around feeding or playtime.
Think purring is just for cats? Well, think again, because it’s also one of the favoured forms of communication for guinea pigs too. Just like their feline friends, cavies will emit a deep, low-level purring when relaxed and content, letting you know they are satisfied with their care.
However, there is a spectrum to the guinea pig purr, and sometimes your furry pal may be trying to communicate the very opposite of contentedness.
Be sure to listen to the pitch, as your pet will sometimes emit purrs that are slightly higher in tone, which often signals they are very annoyed. Short, quick purrs can also be an indication of fear or feelings of anxiety.
Although guinea pigs are mammals, they sometimes enjoy throwing out the occasional amphibian-like croak, just to keep owners on their toes. Much softer than a frog’s ribbit, this unusual sound is known as chutting and it’s just another weird way for your guinea pig to express happiness.
A much deeper purring noise, the rumbling is sometimes referred to as motor boarding and is a noise made as part of guinea pig’s mating ritual. It is used by males attempting to seduce a female and occasionally females who are in mating season.
If this information has revealed you own a constantly seductive guinea pig, we can only apologise.
Some things are just better off not knowing.
“Chirping!?” We hear you ask, “What… like a bird!?”
Correct. Add it to your growing list of animal noises that are also made by guinea pigs.
This one can be particularly alarming, and if it ever happens you’ll be forgiven for thinking a small sparrow is caught in your home. Thankfully though, it’s a very rare noise, so rare that the true nature of this yelp remains a mystery, with theories ranging from a cry of grief to an exhibition of fear.
But the real mystery here is surely why guinea pigs are still yet to tap into the impressions market.
While owning a guinea pig is pretty far removed from looking after a moody, hormonal teenager, fluffy pigs can whinge and moan with the best of them!
An unusual noise, it can sometimes sound like a low-level scratched record and obviously communicates irritation and wanting to be left alone.
It’s the guinea pig equivalent of “Mom, get out of my room.”
This high-pitched noise is as distressing as it sounds and is a definite cause for alarm. Never ignore a shriek, as it is nearly always an indicator of fear or pain in your piggy, so make sure to check for injuries as well as their surroundings, to see if anything may be distressing them.
Stop worrying if your piggy is cold and start worrying about yourself, as that strange teeth chattering noise is actually a signal to back off!
This aggressive behaviour may be accompanied by a hissing noise and you may notice your guinea is actually bearing their teeth in anger.
Much like a human mother may coo over their newborn baby, mother guinea pigs will reassure their young with this low, gentle noise, although it is not exclusive to this situation.