Why Do Guinea Pigs Squeak?

Guinea Pigs Squeak
© Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

Written by Lex Basu

Updated: October 13, 2022

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You definitely won’t find a guinea pig on a list of quiet pets. These furry, cuddly rodents like to express themselves with their voice. This is true whether someone owns one guinea pig or ten. If you sit and observe a guinea pig, you’ll find these little animals have a variety of vocalizations. Over time, guinea pig enthusiasts have figured out the meaning behind these sounds. If you own a guinea pig, it’s helpful to know what their squeals, chatters, coos, and other sounds mean. It can answer the question: How is my guinea pig feeling?

The following uncover the meaning behind a guinea pig’s squeals, chatters, coos, chirps, and other sounds. Learning about a guinea pig’s sounds can help you to be an excellent pet owner.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Squeak?

Your cavy may squeak because it feels excited or surprised, wants to get your attention, or is hurt.

For instance, a guinea pig may squeak in response to being startled. If you stick your hand in a guinea pig’s cage while this pet is eating or otherwise occupied, it’s likely to let out a squeak. So, it’s always a good idea to talk to it before opening the cage to put your hand inside. Let your pet know you’re there.

Guinea pigs sometimes use squeaking as a way to call each other. As an example, if you own two guinea pigs you may take one out to let it exercise on the floor while leaving the other one in its cage. One guinea pig may begin squeaking to ensure the other one is safe. This is especially common in male and female pairs. These are social animals so they do better when they can exercise, eat, and sleep together.

A second type of squeak is known as a wheek. It earned its name because it sounds similar to the word wheek. A guinea pig may wheek out of excitement. A lot of wheeking can go on at feeding time or when a treat is put into the cage. There are some guinea pigs that wheek when they hear their owner opening a bag or container of food. Over time, these little pets connect certain noises with feeding time. Once one guinea pig lets out a wheek, it’s likely to cause a chain reaction with others in the cage.

A prolonged squeaking sound can also mean a guinea pig has been hurt. When one guinea pig nips another one, the injured guinea pig is going to squeak out of pain. This is why it’s so important for an owner to factor in the circumstances when looking at the reasons behind a guinea pig’s squeak.

Guinea Pigs Squeak
A very relaxed little black and white guinea pig in his cage.


Why Do Guinea Pigs Chatter Their Teeth?

Listen to a guinea pig chatter its teeth and you may think it’s cold. But that’s not the reason they chatter. This sound is a way for a guinea pig to let you know it’s agitated or upset. Once again, looking at the circumstances can help you determine the cause behind the sound.

A dog or cat getting too close to the cage of a guinea pig is likely to bring on a chattering sound. The guinea pig is frightened and nervous at having a large animal near its home. Or, a guinea pig may chatter when its cage is being cleaned. Even though you are cleaning up the mess for your pet, the guinea pig may feel agitated at the changes in its environment. Luckily, most guinea pigs become accustomed to weekly cage cleanings over time.

Adding a new guinea pig to a cage may cause other guinea pigs in the cage to chatter. They are unsure of the new addition and are expressing their nervousness. The chattering sounds are going to lessen as all of the guinea pigs get used to interacting.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Coo?

Maybe you thought only birds make cooing sounds. Nope. Guinea pigs can coo, too! These small pets coo as a way of soothing themselves or even another guinea pig in the cage. A mother guinea pig may coo to her babies at feeding time or when trying to get them to go to sleep. When you stroke the soft fur of a guinea pig, you may even find yourself cooing to your pet.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Chirp?

You may think that a guinea pig’s chirp is the same as a squeak, but there’s a difference. A guinea pig’s chirp is a quick, short sound whereas a squeak is drawn out and high-pitched.

A guinea pig chirps for a few reasons. One is the pet is sending a warning to other guinea pigs in the cage. The family cat walking through the room may prompt chirping sounds from a guinea pig. An unfamiliar, loud noise may cause a guinea pig to chirp.

In order to understand why they chirp; you have to think about the lives of wild guinea pigs. Wild guinea pigs needed some way to quickly signal danger to the others living in their colony. Chirping is a quick and easy way to get the attention of others in the group whenever a predator entered the area.

Remember, guinea pigs living in the wild have many predators including hawks, snakes, owls, and coyotes. Understandably, they are always on alert to the presence of predators. Just because a guinea pig is raised and kept as a pet doesn’t mean it has lost all of its natural instincts.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Make Hissing Sounds?

Do Guinea pigs hiss? Yes, they do! A guinea pig hisses because it’s angry and feels threatened. This is something a guinea pig has in common with a cat.

A guinea pig may hiss if a dog or cat puts its nose up to the pet’s cage. Alternatively, a guinea pig may hiss at a strange object in its cage. For instance, if an owner puts a new toy in the cage, the guinea pig may think it’s a threat and hiss at it. It may take some time for the guinea pig to investigate the toy to determine whether it’s truly a threat.

If a guinea pig has suffered an injury, it may hiss at an owner who is trying to pick it up. The guinea pig is feeling pain and is afraid of being moved. If an owner suspects a guinea pig has been badly injured, it should be left in the cage and taken to a veterinarian. An injured or sick guinea pig doesn’t bite because it’s mean. It bites because it’s not feeling well and is frightened. So, it’s best for a trained veterinarian to give the pet the help it needs. A veterinarian has the equipment and training necessary to pick up an injured guinea pig to examine it without being bitten or hurting the animal.

Guinea Pigs Squeak-guinea pigs talking
Two lovely guinea pigs nose to nose in summer. Guinea pigs have a variety of sounds to communicate with each other.


What Does It Mean When a Guinea Pig Chuts?

Chutting is another type of vocalization that gets its name from the way it sounds coming out of a guinea pig’s mouth. Chutting has been compared to the purring of a cat. In addition to a similar sound, it has a similar meaning. Guinea pigs make a chutting sound when they are content.

A guinea pig settling down to sleep near its best friend in the cage may start chutting. Or, a guinea pig that’s being held and petted by its owner may start to chut. If you have a guinea pig that chuts a lot, you’re doing a good job as a pet owner!

What Does It Mean When a Guinea Pig is Popcorning?

Popcorning? Yes, popcorning is both a sound and behavior observed in guinea pigs. As a guinea pig owner, you’ll recognize it when you see it. When a guinea pig exhibits popcorning behavior, it lets out a long squeak or a series of quick squeaks while jumping and twisting its body. Some guinea pigs can jump really high. It’s called popcorning because the guinea pig resembles a kernel of popcorn heating up and popping.

Popcorning happens when a guinea pig is excited and happy. Young guinea pigs are especially prone to popcorning. One may popcorn while it’s playing with a ball or other fun toy. Another may popcorn when it’s running around with a friend or friends in its cage. Think about popcorning as a way for a guinea pig to release excitement and joy it just can’t contain anymore.

If you’ve never seen your guinea pig popcorn, try giving it a delicious treat or figuring out a game it likes to play. A guinea pig that feels at ease and safe with its owner is likely to begin popcorning on a regular basis.

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About the Author

Lex is a green-living, tree-hugging, animal-lover, who at one time was the mother to twenty one felines and one doggo. Now she helps pet owners around the globe be the best caretakers for their most trusting companions by sharing her experience and spreading love.

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