Your guinea pig may not be saying what you think. Guinea pigs are intelligent and perceptive creatures. These social animals can learn to recognize faces and voices, placement of objects, the specific treat in your hand, and even the sound of the refrigerator door opening.
They are also communicative creatures and have developed a wide repertoire of sounds to portray their feelings and opinions, and understanding their vocalizations can help us to better understand guinea pig behavior. It is up to owners to decipher the meaning behind these sounds — an easy task for experienced guinea pig owners, but one that is much harder for newbies.
While there are many more noises in the guinea pig's vocal range, these sounds are the most common.
High-pitched wheeking means your pet is excited. Guinea pigs may wheek in anticipation of something, such as a treat, dinner or feeding time, or even attention.
Cats aren't the only pets that purr. While a guinea pig's purring sound is a deeper and more consistent sound, the meaning is the same: a purring guinea pig is content and comfortable.
You want your guinea pig to purr.
A chut is also a positive sound. Guinea pigs only make this series of short, staccato noises when they are happily exploring their environment.
If you hear your pet chutting, he is comfortable, happy, and inquisitive.
A rumble is similar to a purr, and the two guinea pig noises are often confused.
The best way to tell them apart is by looking at the behaviors that go along with them, as the male guinea pigs rumble during the courting of females. It is a slightly lower sound than a purr and sometimes there's a mating dance that goes along with it.
If your guinea pig is performing a rapid series of squeaks and gnashing its teeth, he is unhappy or annoyed.
Angry guinea pigs will often make this teeth chattering sound when a new guinea pig is introduced to the cage.
It may not be common knowledge (or very frightening), but guinea pigs do growl when they are scared or threatened.
The growl is best described as a "drrr drrr" sound. You may be able to calm your pet by speaking softly and petting it calmly.
The self-explanatory shriek is indicative of physical pain. If your guinea pig makes this sound it is important to decipher the cause, so that you can avoid it in the future.
These are just a few of the most common guinea pig sounds. Each piggy communicates in a slightly different way, so the best way to understand your pet will always be the simplest: paying attention to their body language and listening to these social creatures.
Do you talk to your guinea pig? What kind of sounds do they make? Tell us in the comments below!
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