GUINEA PIG SOUNDS
It’s important to understand guinea pigs through the sounds and noises they make because it helps you determine whether your pet is in distress, hungry, content or just excited to see you and/or your food.
Wheeking is the sound a guinea pig makes when it is hungry so don’t be surprised if the wheek around the time you usually feed them or if they see you bringing some food. Wheeking is something that’s exclusively directed towards humans. Scientists have concluded that guinea pigs never made these noise in the wild, probably because they never had humans hand feeding them pellets and treats.
This occurs when the guinea pig is vocalizing a low, constant sound. It is not like a cat as it sounds like a mix between a grumble of a dog and a low purr of a cat. Purring is usually associated with being content or happy. You will most likely hear it when you are gently petting your pig. However, sometimes when they hear a startling noise or suddenly feel threatened, they will vocalize this same noise but in short spurts. Depending on the situation and/or environment of your guinea pig, you can probably figure what kind of purring is happening.
The rumble is similar to the purr, except with a vibrating effect and lower pitch. The male uses this sound when he is wooing the female to mate. In a way, it’s his mating call. He will start to wiggle his hips and walk around the female in a seemingly arbitrary pattern. This is often called the “rumble strut.” When the male isn’t trying to romance the female, the female may use the rumble to signal to the male that she’s in season and ready to mate.
The growl sounds like “drrr, drrr.” Like with most animals, growling is the sound of distress, usually from being threatened by something nearby. This can also happen when there is suddenly a drastic change in their environment. If you hear the growl from your guinea pig, just start petting them very gently to calm him or her down. In no time, the growl may turn into a delighted purr.
This is when your guinea pig releases a rapid streak of squeaks. And, it usually means that they are angry, unhappy or agitated at a certain situation.
It’s common for chattering to occur when you first introduce a guinea pig to another, especially in a cage. They are simply warning each other not to interfere with each other’s territory or personal space. If chattering happens, separate the two before they start fighting and slowly reintroduce them after they’ve calmed down. Keep doing this until the chattering eventually goes away. But if you plan to raise two males, chattering will without a doubt happen as they try to figure out some sort of cage dominance. Just try your best to keep them from fighting, since they have to eventually learn to co-exist with one another.
Hearing a loud shriek may be distressing to you, but more importantly to your pet. It usually means your guinea pig is sensing immediate danger or is feeling pain and discomfort. For example, if one of your guinea pigs bites another, you will likely hear a shriek. It’s important to immediately attend to the situation and figure out what caused such a sound.
A guinea pig’s whining sounds like a high-pitched moan. This noise is vocalized when the piggy is being disturbed or bothered. If you or a fellow cage mate interrupts his or her nap, you may hear this noise. Just step away, and let them be.
If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Society Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.