Unlike rabbits, guinea pigs are not quiet animals. Guinea pigs make a lot of noise – especially in groups – and are in constant communication with each other and with their owners. As a guinea pig owner, you may be interested in the meaning of some of these sounds.

 

Loud Squeaking

Loud, piercing squeaking (often referred to as “wheeking”) is generally a cry for food. Your pigs are informing you that they are hungry and asking (actually insisting) that you feed them – NOW. This sound is most often heard around your pigs’ regular feeding time and often starts when your pigs first see you or when they hear the sound of plastic bags “crinkling” or any other clue that sounds like you might be preparing food for them.

 

Purring

Just like a cat, purring is a soft low-level rumbling sound that generally indicates contentment and comfort. Your pig will often purr when being petted. Listen to the purring for feedback as you scratch your piggy behind the ears or between the eyes. She will tell you when you hit the “sweet spots”.

 

Rumbling

Rumbling sounds similar to purring but is a deeper, stronger, more intense sound. While purring represents relaxation and contentment, rumbling is more associated with excitement – sexual excitement. You most often hear this sound from male pigs when they are around females who are in season. The rumbling sound is often part of a mating dance commonly called the “rumble-strut” in which the male struts and parades around the female – all the while emitting the rumble sound.

 

Chattering, Burbling, Muttering

This is a hard sound to describe, but a common one to hear if you own guinea pigs. This is the sound of guinea pig activity. It is kind of like the background din of chatter and conversation you may hear in an office or workplace. You will hear it when your pigs are engaged, active and content. You might hear it when you let your pigs out of their cage to exercise. After they relax and get used to their environment, they often start their low-level muttering as they wander and explore. It often sounds as if they are just muttering to themselves as they focus on different activities.

 

Teeth Chattering

When your guinea pig is chattering their teeth, it is not a good sound. It is the sound of an angry, frightened or otherwise upset pig. This is the sound of a pig who is annoyed and grumpy. Teeth chattering is a warning. He is saying, “Stay away! Leave me alone!”  Two males may chatter at each other as they try to establish dominance over each other. Or your cavy may chatter at you as you try to pick them up – or “annoy” them in other ways.

 

Guinea pigs are not a silent pet. In fact, their rich, varied and frequent communication is one of the properties that makes them so endearing. The longer you own your pets, the more attuned you will become to the nature and meaning of their auditory messages.

Want to read more? …

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