If you've been around guinea pigs for a while, you will notice that they make a variety of noises. Well, cavies are social creatures and they create what we call 'guinea pig sounds' to express some of the things they may be feeling. Emotions like contentment, pleasure, fear or aggression can be expressed using these guinea pig sounds.
Knowing what these sounds mean can help you understand your guinea pig better. Here is a description of the common sounds that guinea pigs produce.
1. "Wheeking" - This is the sound that is most associated with guinea pigs. It's a cross between a high pitched whistle and squeaking. Guinea pigs produce this sound when they are asking for attention, or it can be a sign of anticipation, such as when they know you are about to feed them. In some cases, it is also a way for guinea pigs to signal each other of approaching danger.
2. Chattering teeth. This sound is created by a guinea pig to warn someone to back off. It is usually done in combination with sideways swaying and a huge "yawn" where the guinea pig is actually showing its fine set of "weapons", i.e. its teeth.
3. Purring. Now, this is the sound of contentment. You may hear this sound while you are stroking your guinea pig's chin or gently scratching behind the ears.
4. Rumbling. A rumble is like a purr, but the tone is deeper. This sound is heard when a male guinea pig is courting a female guinea pig, or when a guinea pig is feeling particularly romantic.
5. Cooing. This noise we usually hear with mom guinea pigs. It's a sign of reassurance and comfort, such as when a mother comforts her babies.
6. Shrieking. This sound is characterized by a high pitch squeal or wheeking. It is a sign of alarm, of danger. Your guinea pig may also make this sound when he has been hurt or is fearful. Your guinea pig may shriek at other guinea pigs as a sign of hostility, such as if they want the other animal to back off or to stay away.
7. Chirping. Sometimes referred to as singing, it is a sound that you may not hear often from your guinea pig. In fact, it is rarely heard, and nothing seems to trigger this type of sound. The sound is like the sound of a bird chirping. When this happens, there is usually a lone guinea pig that is making the sound. The singer stands with head held up high, while the other guinea pigs appear to be spectators, simply listening quietly to the singer complete her song.