What Do Guinea Pigs Noises Mean? | Sounds Explained

Guinea pigs are not only incredibly cute and fluffy animals but they also are real chatterboxes! When people get guinea pigs for the first time most of them are surprised by the number of different sounds these tiny cavies can make. There is even a legend that once a guinea pig started twirling and chirping like a bird… But that’s a whole different story.

In this article, we are going to go in-depth and discuss what every guinea pig noise means. This will give you a better understanding of your guinea pig’s behavior and you are going to have a better relationship with it. So, let’s start!

What guinea pigs noises mean? Well, the majority of times the guinea pigs express their anticipation and gratitude with the help of different noises. This is especially true when food is involved but the truth is that the range of the noises that guinea pigs make is unbelievable. Some of the sounds they make are wheeking, whining, purring, rumbling, growling and more.

Unfortunately, our guinea pigs can’t speak our language and that is precisely why they try to express their needs and emotions through these interesting and sometimes strange sounds.

If you want to be a great owner (which you certainly are willing to become), you have to learn to differentiate these guinea pig sounds. Mainly because you will be able to know precisely when your beloved pet is happy or when something is bothering it.

What Do Guinea Pigs Noises Mean?

Obviously, it is difficult to describe a sound in words but don’t worry we have also prepared some videos for you! We will make sure to do our best to explain how these guinea pig noises sound and explain the various circumstances when you are going to hear your guinea pig make it.

The good news is that the meaning of the noises and their sound don’t depend on the breed of the guinea pig. They are pretty much universal.

Ready to begin your journey into the guinea pig language? Let’s start with the easiest ones.

  • Wheeking

This one is undoubtedly the most common noise that guinea pigs make. One interesting fact is that is guinea pig’s way of talking to…humans. Scientists found out that guinea pigs that are running around in the wild do not make such wheeking sounds! Only after becoming a domestic type of animals guinea pigs started sharing their emotions with humans with the help of this noise.

Have you already figured out what exactly does this sound mean?

Wheeking means “I am hungry!”, this is what your guinea pig is trying to tell you.

By the way, it is straightforward to distinguish this particular sound.

Firstly, it sounds exactly like you read it. For example, if a cat meows and a dog woofs, then a guinea pig wheeks. If it has always been hard for you to hear what kind of bird is singing outside and you can’t understand the difference between squealing and whining, don’t panic. It is easy to connect this common guinea pig noise to a specific situation.

You might have the meals for your guinea pig scheduled. For example, you like to treat the little one around 9 a.m. Guinea pigs genuinely are animals of habit. If you have forgotten to feed it at 9 a.m., it will make sure to remind you about that by wheeking. Moreover, if the guinea pig is hungry, it can start wheeking extremely loud and that is precisely how you can figure out what this noise sounds like.

By the way, guinea pigs can be wheeking from anticipation as well. If you are coming up to them with food in your hand, wheeking, in this case, will mean genuine excitement. This vocalization might sound like a whistle or a long squeal.

  • Whining

Make sure to pay extra attention to this sound, as this is the primary way guinea pigs express their frustration. Whining sounds like a high-pitched moan (not entirely pleasant to hear). This sound is vital for you as an owner as this is how your pet will be showing that it doesn’t like what you are doing right now.

For example, it might start whining if you pick it up. The best way out is to just leave the guinea pig alone if it doesn’t like getting picked up. Whining can also be addressed to other guinea pigs. If one animal was having a rest and the other one started bothering it, it’s guaranteed that the poor sleepy guinea pig will start whining.

  • Growling

Just like whining, growling is more of a ‘negative’ sound. When it comes to an understanding of what do guinea pigs noises mean, you have to consider growling. It sounds like a quiet ‘grrrrr.’ This growl means that your poor guinea pig is sensing a threat. If you have a few guinea pigs and you hear one of them growl, that means that there is not enough room in the cage for both of them and one of the guinea pigs feels like its territory is being threatened.

Your little friend may start growling as an answer to different changes. That involves both its surroundings and diet. Guinea pigs are incredibly gentle animals that can easily get stressed out. Any kind of changes can affect their emotional state, even merely moving the cage to another corner.

To calm your guinea pig down a little try petting it on the back for a few minutes. Eventually, the growling can turn into a purr.

  • Purring

Let’s get that straight out of the way: guinea pigs do not purr like cats. In fact, all the noises that cavies make are unique simply because the anatomy of a guinea pig’s throat is different to that of a cat (for example).

So, how can you understand what the purring noise sounds like? Well, it is a low, long sound. It can be compared to something between a dog’s quiet grumble and a cat’s low purr. Guinea pigs usually purr when they are content and happy. You can hear it when you are gently petting your little friend.

But here is the trick – there are different types of purring and not all of them are positive ones. Depending on the pitch of the purr and the body language of the animal this sound can also mean that the guinea pig is annoyed. If the poor guy is high pitch purring and you feel that the guinea pig is tense, the chances are high that something is disturbing it.

  • Rumbling

The rumbling is the sound of love for guinea pigs. It is similar to a purr but a bit deeper and with vibration. If you have only one guinea pig, you might never hear this noise. But if you are a proud owner of a boy and a girl, then you will surely hear it during this specific period.

The male guinea pig will use rumbling to attract the girl. The boy will also start to ‘dance’ around the sow, so if you have a chance to witness the whole process, it surely is a fun experience but the rumbling sound is not an exclusively male vocalization. Females can also rumble in such a way they are saying to the partner that they are ready to take their relationship to the next level.

  • Chutting

The truth is that only some owners get to hear this noise. Don’t worry if you ever do hear it because there is nothing wrong with your precious cavy. Chutting, just like wheeking sounds almost like it’s written.

If a guinea pig chuts it means that the animal is happy and content. Sometimes when you stroke your guinea pig you might hear it not only purring but also making other noises. That noise can sometimes be chutting.

We can’t explain why, but only a small number of guinea pigs choose to chut. However, it does not depend on the breed.

  • Teeth Chattering

If your guinea pig rapidly squeaks and shows you its teeth in the process (as if it is yawning), that means that it is teeth chattering. If the guinea pigs could speak this kind of noise would undoubtedly say “back off.” It shows that the guinea pig is unhappy and angry.

Chattering might occur if you have more than one guinea pig, especially during the introductory part between them. If you have bought a new guinea pig, the ‘old’ ones might want to defend their territory and that is precisely what teeth chattering would mean in such a situation.

Eventually, the guinea pigs will get used to each other and will stop making this noise. If you happen to have two males, then the sound might occur from time to time as the little guinea pigs would surely want to show each other who is the boss.

Make sure to separate the two guinea pigs that start teeth chattering as they might get involved in a fight and hurt one another.

Related: Why Are My Guinea Pigs Fighting?

  • Shrieking

Shrieking is like a sharp cry. An alarming and frightening sound. The chances are close to 100% that something awful is happening to your beloved guinea pig. So you have to drop whatever you are doing and run to him.

It is difficult to mistake this high-pitched, loud squeak with anything else. It is a signal of danger, fear or pain. If you are a good owner and take great care of your guinea pig, you might never hear it. In case you ever hear this sound, it is vitally important to check on your guinea pig to figure out what’s the cause of the noise.

If you have a few animals, for example, they might sometimes get into a fight. When one cavy bites another, it may start shrieking.

By the way, bear in mind that your guinea pig might start making this noise if you decide to attend the vet. Especially, for the first time. There is only one thing you can do, try calming the poor guinea pig down and be there for it. The more visits you pay to the vet, the less stress it will cause to your guinea pig as it will just get used to the whole process.

Other Uncommon Guinea Pig Noises

There surely are many different sounds that guinea pigs can make but they aren’t as common as purring for example. If you are familiar with all the noises mentioned above – congratulations! You already are a guinea pig owner with impressive knowledge about your beloved pet.

But if you want to go the extra mile when it comes to finding out what guinea pigs noises mean, then keep on reading.

Now we are going to discuss the sounds that are not very common (you might never even hear them) and the ones that are not as important as something like shrieking.

  • Cooing

Cooing is a sound that a sow (female guinea pig) can make towards her babies. It sounds a bit like the murmuring a soft vocalization that doves make. Mothers can use cooing to reassure their babies and to convince them that everything is alright. However, you have to bear in mind that not only mothers can make such a sound.

  • Hissing

This noise pretty much sounds like it is written. It is similar to the one that cats sometimes make. Hissing in guinea pigs is a sign that the animal is upset about something.

  • Chirping

Yes, it has been proven that guinea pigs can chirp like birds (extremely rarely). Sometimes a guinea pig can fall into a state that looks like trance. That is precisely when these chirping sounds can be heard. But no one will be able to tell you for sure what does this ‘song’ mean and why do guinea pigs ‘sing’ it.

The Body Language of Guinea Pigs

You will be able to understand your little friend better if you also learn to decipher the guinea pigs’ body language. Different actions on their own can mean a lot but body language can also be beneficial when it comes to an understanding of what guinea pigs sounds mean.

Purring, for example, can be a sign of entirely different psychological states. Hearing the sound alone won’t help you figure out what your guinea pig is genuinely experiencing but when you understand the body language of your beloved pet you will be able to tell with nearly a 100% guarantee what kind of emotion your guinea pig is experiencing at the moment. So let’s start with the body language of guinea pigs.

  • Touching Noses

Let’s start with one of the cutest guinea pig ‘gestures’. When these animals touch noses it means that they are greeting each other. Cuteness overload, right?

  • Tossing Its Head in the Air

This will usually happen while you are petting the guinea pig or at least trying to. Because by throwing its head in the air your fluffy friend is trying to tell you that it has had enough and you better let it mind its own business. This action inevitably can be accompanied by different noises that show frustration and anger.

  • Popcorning

An incredibly funny and cute thing that guinea pigs tend to do. If you have been an owner of this furry ball for at least a few weeks, the chances are high that you have already seen your pet rapidly hop up in the air. Such an action reminds of a popcorn flying around in a microwave. If you have an older guinea pig, it might still popcorn from time to time but without jumping up in the air of course.

This sweet action means that your beloved guinea pig is excited and happy. It might also be in the mood to play around a little. Such a form of body language can be accompanied by wheeking or/and chutting.

Related: What Is Guinea Pigs Popcorning?

  • Sniffing

This is where guinea pigs are just like the majority of other animals. Sniffing is a way of finding out what’s going on. The little lads sniff the air, each other, you, their food, bed and other different things. Such an action proves to us yet again that guinea pigs are extremely curious animals.

  • Strutting

Strutting means walking around stiffly and in an arrogant manner and guinea pigs can be doing that for two reasons. It is either the mating season when one cavy is trying to ‘dance’ in front of the other or it can be a sign of aggression (especially, if there is a new neighbor in the cage). Sometimes simultaneously with strutting guinea pigs can be teeth chattering and that certainly can turn into a dangerous situation so make sure to stay alert.

  • Freezing

You can sometimes find guinea pigs standing motionless. That doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. If the animal is merely uncertain about something, it prefers not to move for a while until it figures out what its further actions should be. Needless to say that guinea pigs remain silent while being frozen.


Now you are ready to come up to your beloved guinea pig and actually understand what is on its mind. You have learned what guinea pigs noises mean and that surely will help you on your road to becoming the best guinea pig owner in the world.

Are there any specific sounds that only your precious guinea pig makes? Don’t forget to share all the funny and interesting stories in the comments!