Guinea pigs have a large vocabulary and it can really help you, and your guinea pig if you have a better understanding of what your guinea pig is saying. Here are a few descriptions and sound recordings of noises a guinea pig can make. Many people come up with all kinds of
different names to describe a guinea pig sound, chut, chubble, wheeeek, rumble are just a few, but I'm sure
once you hear the noise and read the description of why piggy is making the noise, you will soon get to recognise what your guinea pig is saying. Remember some sounds can have more than one meaning or sound similar but you can usually tell the differences as their body language plays a large part in how guinea pigs communicate with us or with each other.
Please turn your speakers up: With the exception of the last two recordings, you will need to turn your speakers up to hear my piggies.
Wheeking Wheeking is aimed at us humans, 'feed me now please'. I have regular times when I feed my piggies fresh veggies, early morning and evening, so they tend to be at their loudest at those times. If its veggie time, I only have to pass their cage and they tell me 'where are you going?, its feeding time mum'. If they hear anything that sounds suspiciously like food might be coming, they will also start a chorus of wheeks. Even closing the back door signals some lovely fresh grass might be on its way or opening the fridge door.
Here is a recording of Sweetpea begging for food.
Click on Sweetpea to hear her wheeking
Rumble A rumble, which sounds like a purring sound, happens usually when a male piggy is romancing another guinea pig. A female can also make this sound if she is in season. A rumble sounds deeper than a purr with a vibrating effect. While making this sound a guinea pig will sway their hips and walk around another guinea pig. This is known as the mating dance, other terms used are motorboating or rumble strutting.
Here is a recording of Jake in mid rumble, you'll also hear Sweetpea moaning at him :)
Click on Jake to hear him rumble
Purring A purring guinea pig is experiencing enjoyment/pleasure. You may hear this sound if you are petting your guinea pig. Purring does sound like a rumble (mating noise). A purr can actually have more than one meaning. If it happens very suddenly, and you aren't petting your piggy, then this purr will sound much shorter and they will suddenly stand still like a statue (freeze). This shorter purr is often described as a 'durr' sound. Its because they have heard a sound like the telephone ringing or a knock on the door and they are afraid of this sudden strange noise. They may just make this noise once or repeat the noise, depending on if the 'threat' has gone away. Some guinea pigs will also make this short sound when they are given a veggie treat. In her excitement my Sweetpea does this nearly every time I offer her vegetables.
Hear Squeekie purring while having a cuddle with me. Even stroking him on his head can produce lots of lovely purrs.
Click on Squeekie to hear him purr.
Shrieking Shrieking sounds like a very sharp, high pitched wheek and it means your guinea pig has suffered pain or they may be very afraid. You may hear this sound if a guinea pig has nipped a cage mate or you may hear several shrieks if your vet has given an injection. I remember one visit to the vets, when all my piggies needed mite treatment via injections. Poor Squeekie seemed to always be affected more by an injection as he screamed out so much. I could hear other pet owners in the waiting room going awww. Poor little Squeekie, after a few cuddles from his mum, he was fine. Thankfully, if my piggies ever need mite treatment, they have oral ivomectin, so they'll be having no more mite injections.
Guinea pigs can also shriek as a warning to another guinea pig, telling them to 'keep away' if they are showing aggression. As far as I know, a defensive shriek is not made out of aggression, its because the shrieking guinea pig is afraid, panicking and just wants to be left alone and certainly doesn't want to have a confrontation with the other guinea pig. My Peachy normally hates any kind of hostility from another guinea pig, especially from a guinea pig who isn't part of her herd. Peachy normally just runs off to the furthest corner, hoping nobody will notice her. If she's pursued, she will constantly cry out in the hope that the other guinea pig will back off. If its just Jake romancing her, then she will just have a moan at him :)
Shrieking can also mean an alarm call. Young guinea pigs calling to their mother or a piggy calling to a cage mate. This can happen if a guinea pigs cage mate is out of the cage or they have been seperated for whatever reason.
Here is a recording of my Clover calling for her cage mate Molly who was being weighed at the time. Clover was around 12 weeks old.
Click on Clover to hear her alarm call.
Chut/Chubble/Mutter This is a hard noise to describe, but hopefully by explaining what my guinea pigs do while making this noise, it will hopefully help you identify this sound. When your guinea pigs are out and about, you'll notice they will be happily walking around on the floor, going about their business and this is when they may make a repeated chut sound. It really sounds as though they are muttering to themselves. It means they are relaxed and contented. My Peachy also makes this noise while I'm petting her, accompanied by little purrs in-between, which means she is very happy. As soon as I lift her up and start petting her, she will make this sound, quickly followed by looking at me and giving me a guinea pig kiss :)
Here is a recording of Sweetpea happily walking around at free range time.
Click on Sweetpea to hear her chut chut chut.
Whining I like to say whining to describe this sound, or you could say moaning/complaining. Its usually heard when a guinea pig is resting and if disturbed by another piggy in the cage, they let their feelings known by moaning at them. It starts off fairly quiet, but will increase in volume if the intruding guinea pig doesn't get the message. My Jasmine likes to complain sometimes. Sweetpea or Jake don't even have to touch her, they could just be tugging at some hay that happens to be close by, Jasmine will then start having a moan. If she's feeling a bit too stroppy she will chin them out of the way or give a little back kick. Its never serious and no fights ever break out, she's just telling them to leave her alone. Peachy and Squeekie also like to moan a bit, especially Squeekie when he wants to be under his mountain of hay by himself.
Guinea pigs will also have a moan at us humans if they don't like what we are doing. Clover dislikes being petted anywhere passed her waist. She will also grumble when she's wanting a wee, its just Clover's way of telling me "I need the bathroom mum".
Here is a recording of Sweetpea whining at Jake because he wanted some pellets from the food bowl she was using but Sweetpea was determined that he should treat her like a lady and wait his turn as even guinea pigs know its ladies before gentlemen :)
Click on Sweetpea to hear her whining.
Well as Jake isn't getting the message, Sweetpea becomes very annoyed at Jake as you will hear. Sweetpea's smaller size certainly doesn't stop her from getting what she wants. Sweetpea finally received the result she was hoping for and Jake gave up and ran off to eat some hay, poor Jake :)
Click on Sweetpea to hear her being very annoyed at Jake.
Teeth Chattering A guinea pig that starts teeth chattering is an upset/angry guinea pig. If a piggy is heard doing this to another piggy, it means they are agitated and are warning the other guinea pig to keep away. Often guinea pigs that are first introduced to each other will start teeth chattering. When two boars meet for the first time, they may chatter at each other, trying to sort out their position in the hierarchy. It can also happen with sows when they first meet. If teeth chattering increases, the fur around their necks may become raised to make them seem larger. They may also stamp their feet from side to side making themselves rock, looking very stiff with their movements. This isn't the same as a guinea pig rumble strutting, this type of behaviour is aggressive behaviour. If you see your guinea pigs doing this to each other, its best to separate them before they fly at each other, just remember to watch your hands. Place a towel over them to confuse them, then you can separate them.
If a guinea pig chatters at you, they are also telling you to keep your distance. Because my Jasmine doesn't like to be picked up, on a rare occasion she will even chatter at me. She's never bitten me though, she just hates being lifted up, once in my arms she's a very happy piggy.
So far I've been unable to record one of my guinea pigs chatters as its not something they do very often, so I'd like to say a big thank you to Treen and her guinea pig Fred for allowing me to use a recording of Freds Chatter.
Click on Treen's Fred to hear her chatter
Chirping A rare sound made by some guinea pigs. I have only ever had the good fortune to hear and see my Sweetpea making this sound. I was in another room and suddenly heard what sounded like a bird singing. I even thought a bird may have flown through an open window by accident. When I came to investigate, there was Sweetpea, with her head held high, chirping like a bird. Her little lips were going in and out as though she was whistling a tune. All my other piggies were very still and quiet, as though they were listening to Sweetpea singing. I was so chuffed to witness one of my guinea pigs making this sound, it lasted about 30 seconds. Nothing unusual was happening, so I don't know why she was making this lovely sound. Sweetpea seemed to be in a world of her own at the time. Even when I approched her she continued to chirp for a few more seconds. When she stopped, she went straight to her food bowl, as though nothing had happened. Read this very interesting information about guinea pigs chirping Guinea Lynx: Chirping
Although I've heard my Sweetpea chirp on a couple of occasions, I never managed to record her chirping. So I'd like to say a big thank you to Merry and her guinea pig Rosie for allowing me to use a recording of Rosie chirping.
Because this recording is a different type of file, you may need the latest version of Quicktime to hear Rosie chirping.
Click on Merry's Rosie to hear her chirping
See and hear Bella chirping
With many thanks to Emily Ho from Kazzys-Cavies Community Forum we can now see and hear Emily's gorgeous guinea pig Bella chirping on video. Well done Emily for capturing Bella making this rare sound and of course, many thanks to dear Bella.
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