Guinea Pig Noises and Behaviours

Guinea pigs have wonderful personalities and the longer you spend with them the more you will notice which ones are confident or shy, who the diva is and which male is top-dog! Guinea pigs give lots of ‘feedback’ to their cage mates (and to humans too) through the behaviour they display, and the sounds they make. Here’s our little guide to help you understand what they might be saying (or squeaking) to you!

Guinea Pig Noises (and what they mean)

Wheek! Wheek!

The most well-known guinea pig sound. Reserved just to get the attention of their humans (piggy-slaves). Usually means ‘feed me!’

Purr (drrr)

Either: A sign of contentment if they are relaxed and having a cuddle with their human.

Or: A noise they make when startled, if it is a short sound followed by the complete stillness. Often a reaction to another sound they don’t like, for example, the phone ringing.

Chutt / Chortle

A repeated chutt sound (or, as we call it, a chortle) shows happiness and contentment in their surroundings. Most likely to happen when you put them into a freshly cleaned enclosure or when they’re exploring a great floor-time set up!

Rumble

A deep vibrating sound that can be accompanied by swaying of the hips (strutting). A dominance behaviour that is natural, males will especially display this towards their favourite lady-pig!

Chatter

Teeth chattering is a warning to back off and keep away. If it’s aimed at you, the human, best to respect it, stop whatever action might have caused it and give your piggy some safe space. A chatter can also be directed from guinea pig to guinea pig. It could just mean ‘go away’ or, it might be the prelude to a fight, so keep a watchful eye.

Whining

A sound of complaint. Perhaps they were disturbed from their beauty sleep or their favourite comfy corner was pinched by a fellow piggy. Well, wouldn’t you be annoyed too?!

Shriek

A shriek indicates fear or pain. Move the guinea pig to a safe and stress-free place, if fear has caused the shrieking sound. If pain seems to be the culprit, seek veterinary advice and expertise.

Chirp

High pitched sound, like bird-song. The most unusual of all the guinea pig sounds, so if you hear it you are a lucky human indeed! There are different schools of thought on what this sound means. Happiness or fear? Or something else?  It’s a bit of a mystery…

Guinea Pig Behaviours (and what they mean)

Popcorning

A fabulous little jump up into the air off all four feet, often with a twitch or twist too! A sign of joy and excitement. Yay!!

Zoomies

When a guinea pig runs around REALLY fast. Often combined with some popcorns too! They might race around their enclosure a few times,then stop still, then start zooming again. Happiness and joy (combined with a bit of calorie-burning) that is often displayed by young piggies, but don’t write the older ones off (they just might not do it quite so often!). 

Eating their Poop

Perfectly normal. Piggies produce two types of poo and the special soft poos (cecal feces) are eaten directly from their bottom, in order for vital nutrients to be properly absorbed.

Scenting

Scent marking may be seen when a guinea pig returns to a freshly cleaned out enclosure, or when they are out for some floor time. The piggy will drag their bottom along the floor to mark their territory.

Head Lifting

The higher you can lift your head, the more dominant you are. You may see two piggies playing this game of ‘who can lift their chin the highest’. The more dominant guinea pig will get their head higher.

Sleeping

Guinea pigs do of course need their beauty sleep, but they tend to catch it whenever they can. Being prey animals, they are always on some level of ‘alert’. Piggies are most active at dawn and dusk and will take their naps as and when. You will rarely see a guinea pig close their eyes when sleeping or lie with their feet spread out behind them…if you do, congratulations, it shows they are truly relaxed and comfortable!

Stretching and Yawning

You may well catch a stretch and a yawn from a nicely relaxed piggy as they re-settle back to their favourite snoozing position. Check out how big their teeth actually are when they yawn!

Licking

Also known as ‘piggy kisses’. Licking is usually an affectionate behaviour and could be shown to other piggies or indeed to you,their human! If you are on the receiving end, then lucky you. Guinea pigs may also lick each other as a form of friendly grooming.

Well-being

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