Talking – and listening – to Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs make adorable pets but, being in cages, their humans are responsible for every aspects of their care and welfare. Understanding their sounds can help you take care of their needs. Their distinctive vocal signals are explained by Mary Alusin…

Positive Sounds
When you’re doing it right, expect to hear the following adorable sounds from your pet:

Wheeking

This is one of the most adorable sounds your guinea pig can produce. The high-pitched, squeaky signal is a sign of excitement. Your pet would “wheek” if:

  • You’re nearing a cupboard where their food is being kept
  • They see you approaching
  • It’s already mealtime

Fun fact: Guinea pigs don’t produce this sound in the wild, probably developing the vocal signal when humans began to feed them.

Purring

A low, constant sound, a guinea pig purr is unique to its species. It means that your pet is enjoying the moment. You can usually hear this satisfying vocal signal when you’re petting or holding your furry friend.

Note, however, that not all purring is a good sign. For instance, your pet might be annoyed if the sound rises to a higher pitch in the end. Further signs include vibrating and tensing.

Chirping

This sound is a real head-turner. It is rare for a guinea pig to chirp, but when it does, it sounds exactly like a bird. Unfortunately, this guinea pig vocalization is not yet fully understood by pet owners and experts alike. Some may speculate that it’s a sign of excitement. Others, on the other hand, relate the signal to stress.

 

Negative Sounds
Be on alert once you hear these alarming sounds from your guinea pig.

Shrieking

This sound is similar to wheeking but in a higher pitch. It can mean that your guinea pig is hurt. Some of the things that may induce pain are the following:

  • Improper handling
  • A bite from its cage mate
  • Other accidents

The sound could also mean your pet is frightened. For instance, it might shriek when the vet takes its temperature. Once you hear this disturbing sound, try to find out the cause and take action.

Whining

This sound is similar to a high-pitched moan. Your guinea pig whining may mean it is disturbed or bothered. For instance, your pet may produce the vocal signal if a cage mate interrupts its nap.

Growling

The word “growl” may connote a fierce animal. However, a guinea pig growl might still sound cute if you’re not aware of its meaning. When your pet is growling, it means it’s threatened or frightened. The most evident cause is a change in the environment.
Your guinea pig might also growl to its fellow pet. One of the probable causes is that they have too little space. In this case, you might want to check the standard size of a cage for two from this source.

Teeth Chattering

The series of rapid squeaks that your guinea pig produces is a sign of anger or agitation. The vocalization is usually directed to its cage mate. The causes of aggression may include:

  • Testing of dominance
  • They’re simply not on good terms

Before the chattering escalates to biting each other, separate your guinea pigs. Try to reunite them little by little until there is no aggression left.
As a guinea pig caretaker, you should familiarize yourself with your pet’s vocal messages first. Only then can you fully satisfy your furry friend’s needs and wants. Just like in any relationship, paying attention to your lovable animal is essential for a lasting bond.

Happy Guinea Pig petting!


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Thanks for reading my blog. I look forward to reading your comments, Jo