Two guinea pigs making noises to each other.

Guinea pigs are cheeky and persistent chatterboxes. They begin vocalizing just two weeks after birth, and as a new piggy parent, you may be slightly alarmed by the symphony of sounds emitted by your piggy at all waking hours. If you find yourself wondering ‘What is my guinea pig trying to tell me?’ then read on for the answers you’ve been searching for! 

From wheeks and squeaks to chortles and chuts, piggies are social and expressive little animals that know how to share their feelings with their furry and hooman companions. The more time you’ll spend with your floofer, the more you’ll be familiar with their unique style of communication. In no time, you’ll become an expert at understanding their needs simply by listening to them and studying their body language.

Is your furball hungry? Excited? Irritable? To speed up the process and take out some of the guesswork, we’ve produced this handy and comprehensive guide to get you fluent in guinea pig ASAP!

Little girl playing with a guinea pig on her lap.

Guinea Pig Noises: A Primary Means of Communication

Are guinea pigs talking to each other?

It’s important to give your new furry friend another little floofer to keep them company. Guinea pigs are die-hard socialites, which stems back to their wild cavy ancestors.

Before they became domesticated as pets, piggies roamed and foraged across the Andean region of South America. While life in the wilderness may have had its perks like unlimited freedom… it was also fraught with dangers. As prey animals at the bottom of the food chain, guinea pigs traveled in small groups or ‘herds’ for protection.

Yep, poor piggies had to learn the art of effective communication in order to warn each other of approaching danger. Ultimately, it was a survival mechanism!

Guinea pigs are truly masters at communication. From rumble-strutting males in search of a mate to teeth-chattering boars asserting their dominance in a group, their varied noises can also be a way to establish the pecking order of piggy social hierarchies. Not only that, mother pigs can even recognize their own pup’s call among that of other baby pigs.

Do Guinea Pigs Talk to Their Owners?

Guinea pigs have lived happily alongside hoomans for thousands of years, so they’ve had plenty of time to perfect their communication skills. When your little pig is making a racket, you can be sure that more often than not, they're being vocal to get your attention! So listen out and try to decipher what they’re trying to tell you.

Some noises may be easier to translate than others. Research shows that some guinea pigs have developed certain sounds specifically to communicate with their piggy parents. Excitable, high-pitched wheeking is, for instance, a noise that scientists have never heard in wild piggy herds. So, the next time you hear it, you’ll know that it’s meant for your ears only!

A brown guinea pig and a black guinea pig together on grass.

The 3 Most Common Guinea Pig Squeaking Sounds and Their Meaning

1. Wheeking

AKA: ‘Room service, please!’

Where better to start than with arguably the most iconic of all guinea pig noises? Wheeking is a cry for attention reserved especially for piggy parents. And, out of all the piggy noises on this list, it’s one of the easiest to identify. A wheek sounds exactly as you would think, normally starting low and increasing in pitch towards the end. Wheeking is sometimes called whistling, and it can vary in pitch, frequency, and repetition.

Your furball will likely wheek numerous times a day, so there’s plenty of time to get acquainted with these cheeky little squeaks. If you happen to catch an excitable and piercing ‘wheee-eek’ around breakfast or dinner time, then you can be sure that your greedy piggy has one thing only on their brain… So you better hop over with a tasty serving of fresh veggies, pronto! Other times, your guinea pig may just be pleased to see you, feeling playful, or wildly hopeful when you make even the smallest of rustling noises in the kitchen.

It’s adorable to see just how much genuine enthusiasm your cavy reserves for a tasty snack.

2. Chuttering

AKA: ‘I’m one happy piggy and I can’t help but let the world know.’

If wheeking denotes an excitable piggy, then a chutting pig is a content one. Guinea pigs chut when going about their daily business, curiously investigating their surroundings during floor time, rummaging happily in fresh hay, or cozying up with a particularly favored piggy roommate.

This contented chirruping should be especially treasured during lap time. If your cute cavy is feeling particularly relaxed with cuddles and gentle strokes, you may be lucky enough to hear some low-medium-pitched chuttering. A sure sign that your sweet piggy feels relaxed and at ease in your loving arms!

3. Shrieking, squealing, or screaming

AKA: ‘Mayday! Mayday!’

This isn’t a good sign. A guinea pig shriek or squeal is an unmistakably piercing sound that immediately conveys fear or pain. It will give you shivers, and for a good reason! A loud, high-pitched shriek is a cry for help, and you should drop whatever you’re doing to investigate your poor piggy’s situation straight away. 

Your cavy will likely emit lots of squeals in quick succession when they’re feeling distressed. If you hear a sudden shriek from your piggy, check their environment for signs of danger and remove the source of their concern if you’re able to.

If you can’t spot anything immediately obvious, stay calm and give your piggy a spot-check for any injuries, blood, or discomfort. Try soothing them with a calming voice alongside gentle strokes. Once you’ve reassured your fretful friend, make sure they have some safe hidey holes to recover from their ordeal in peace.

If you do notice that something is wrong, or you can’t figure out the problem but your poor piggy is still making a fuss, then visit your local cavy-savvy vet immediately to highlight any hidden problems that need attention.

Guinea pig looking up from a leaf they are eating.

Guinea Pig Noises: What Does It Mean When They Purr?

Purring probably makes you think of our feline friends. But just to confuse you, a guinea pig does the same but in a completely different way - a piggy purr is more of a repetitive, low grumbling.

And, depending on the body language of your floofer, purring can mean a multitude of different things. So let’s find out what!

Low-pitched purr

AKA: ‘Don’t stop what you’re doing, I’m in piggy heaven.’

This sound is sometimes referred to as ‘bubbling’, which is probably a better way of describing it than ‘purring’ since that’s exactly what it sounds like! A content and safe guinea pig will bubble away to their heart’s content and sometimes combine that with pancaking, a way for your piggy to relax by stretching out all four legs. And if they close their eyes too, you can feel special in the knowledge of how rare this behavior can be for an alert piggy due to their prey instincts. 

Make the most of these bonding moments with your sweet piggy, and they’ll be happy to let you know how trusting and loved they’re feeling in your presence!

High-pitched purr

AKA: ‘I’m not the happiest of cavies right now.’

With just the slightest change of tempo, a purr can mean the opposite of happy bubbling. Your guinea pig may emit a high-pitched purr when they’re feeling particularly annoyed or stressed about something.

Sometimes, living in a dreamy piggy palace and having your every need attended to is a real hardship that no one could possibly understand.

All joking aside, piggies can be grouchy just like us hoomans! This purring sound is stiff and short, and their body language will likely be tense too. It might be worth just giving them some space for a bit…

Rumbling

AKA: ‘I’m the man.’

Rumbling is a way to establish the piggy social hierarchy and assert dominance, common between male pigs or ‘boars’. It’s not quite to the level of teeth chattering (more on this later), but nevertheless, it can be a tense sight to behold. You’ll want to keep an eye on any rumbling pigs to ensure that no trouble breaks out.

You can tell if your piggy is rumbling as it has a similar pattern and sound to purring but at a much lower, sterner pitch.

Oh, and if your male piggy is trying to woo a lady friend, he’s likely to accompany this rumbling noise with a swaying strut. This is commonly referred to as ‘rumble strutting’ (one of our absolute favorite terms in the cavy dictionary). Imagine a confident guy, approaching a woman at the bar with some well-rehearsed chat-up lines, and you’ve got a good idea of rumble strutting in action!

White guinea pig and gray guinea pig fighting over some parsley.

Other Guinea Pig Noises

Hissing

AKA: ‘Stay away from me!’

If we mentioned hissing, the first animal that would come to your mind is more likely to be a snake than an adorable guinea pig. And yet, your piggy may hiss too if they’re feeling particularly peeved! Hissing shouldn’t be confused with teeth chattering, although they may be easy to mistake for each other as they're both signs of annoyance.

If you’re struggling to align this with your even-tempered, sociable piggy, then we completely understand! This probably won’t be a regular fixture in your cavy’s vocabulary, but it’s useful to be aware of what it means if you ever happen to hear it.

A hissing cavy is to be approached with caution. This sound is a way for them to ward off unwelcome attention or a perceived threat, so they’ll be feeling defensive and may puff up their fur to make themselves look bigger and meaner. Best to leave them alone for a little while!

Teeth chattering

AKA: ‘Let’s take this outside.’

Nope, your guinea pig isn’t cold. 

Teeth chattering is a sign that they’re deeply annoyed or anxious, and they want to let everyone know about it! This can sound like a series of rapid, short squeaks, and you can tell it doesn’t mean anything good - it’s one of the lowest noises a guinea pig can make.

If you notice your piggy's teeth chattering, then have a quick scan for things in their environment that may be upsetting them. Try removing anything suspicious to see if that can bring a stop to the chattering, and keep going until you can determine the source of their aggravation.

The most common situation where you’ll witness this behavior is between two hostile guinea pigs. Beware: this is the precursor to a fight, so you should be prepared to intervene to break up this ruckus immediately. However, you should be careful getting in the middle of a piggy brawl, or you may just get a nipped finger for your efforts.

Grunting

AKA: ‘Feel my wrath.’

Uh-oh! If you hear a battle grunt from your clashing guinea pigs, then prepare for a fight to break out. Grunting is an aggressive vocalization that generally signals the beginning of a brawl between two pigs that aren’t seeing eye to eye.

Whining

AKA: ‘Help, I’m slightly unhappy or a little bit uncomfortable.’

Like a needy child, whining is an example of unhappy guinea pig noises. Your piggy may be protesting about something that makes them feel uncomfortable, like being picked up when they’re sleepy or being brushed when they just want to nibble on some fresh hay.

A softer variation of whining, however, may mean that your guinea pig is experiencing pain. If you notice persistent whining from your furball, or it doesn’t appear that anything else could be bothering them, then make sure to visit your cavy-savvy vet.

Growling

AKA: ‘Something’s not right.’

A growl shouldn’t take too much guessing - it’s a pretty self-explanatory noise across species! When a piggy growls, it’s a sign of distress, and it can be prompted by a sudden or drastic change in their environment.

If you hear your piggy growling, then you can usually calm them down by petting and talking to them in a soothing voice.

Chirping

AKA: ‘Don’t mind me, I’m just having a moment!’

Sometimes, the chirping you can hear might come from your own little furball, not the local birds! Is your poor piggy having an identity crisis?! This weird guinea pig noise sounds uncannily like birdsong, and it’s one of the few mysterious sounds they make.

It’s not a common sound, and you may well never hear your guinea pig chirp during their lifetime. However, we’ve never been able to put our finger on exactly what it means. This curious behavior could be an alert signal, and some have even suggested it's a sound your grieving piggy makes when they have lost their partner.

Guinea pig held in hands.

Guinea Pig Noises FAKs - Frequently Asked Kavees

If my guinea pig develops a new sound, do I need to consult a vet?

Be prepared for your guinea pig to make a variety of noises but watch out for any new sounds. For example, if your piggy’s noise is more like coughing, labored breathing, wheezing, clicking, or hooting, then it could be a sign that something’s not right. Best to get it checked out as quickly as possible by your cavy-savvy vet.

What should I do if my guinea pig is quiet?

All guinea pigs have their own unique personalities, and some are going to be more expressive than others. A shy piggy shouldn’t necessarily be cause for concern! You should only consider a trip to the vet if there are any changes to your guinea pig’s normal behavior. For example, a piggy who’s normally a huge chatterbox but suddenly goes really quiet.

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