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Why Do Guinea Pigs Squeak? 9 Reasons for this Behavior

Ashley Bates

Guinea pigs have some of the cutest actions and vocalizations. These critters can tell you if they are happy, sad, angry, and excited. All guinea pig owners have heard those famous little squeaks. But what does the squeaking mean? Squeaking is a form of communication that guinea pigs have—just like cats meowing, dogs barking, and humans yammering.

Like most mammals, guinea pigs communicate through body language, pitch, and frequency. Noises mean different things depending on what else is going on. Below, we’ve covered seven reasons why your little piggy might be squeaking, along with a ton of other fun information about noises and quirks.divider-guineapig

Guinea Pig Language

Guinea pigs can be quite theatrical creatures. If you’re unfamiliar with these rodents, know that they can make all sorts of exciting vocalizations. Squeaks cover a broad range of guinea pig noises, so let’s talk about each one—along with other fun actions.

1. Eek! Something Scary is Happening

Guinea pigs are prey animals, so it can be a little easy to spook them. If you enter a room too fast, or they hear an unfamiliar noise, they might let out a little squeak in response. This kind of squeak sounds like a “drr” sound.

They can be quite jumpy, too. So, if they’re freaked out, they might be scurrying around their cage and then freezing to assess the scene. They usually act a little nervous until they know everything is fine.


2. Hey! I Love Floor Time

You may have caught your piggy off-guard, but they’re happy to see your face. They might “chut” while playing hide and seek with you during floor time. They often make this sound while exploring, too. It shows that they’re feeling excited, adventurous, and joyous.

When your piggy is up to play, offer them lots of interesting toys, mazes, and tunnels. They can spend all sorts of time burning off steam.


3. Mom! Can You Please Feed Me?

Have you fed your little pig lately? Don’t worry. They will remind you. Guinea pigs aren’t quiet about their food bowls being empty, making all kinds of commotion. Once their tummies start rumbling, the shrieks start happening until they get a full food dish.

Some piggies will have more generous appetites than others. So, you might have a chubby pig in the cage always wailing for food even if they shouldn’t be hungry. Don’t always give in to their pleas if you know they have had enough—but also make sure you’re portioning correctly.

Daily, your adult guinea pig should have:
  • ⅛  cup commercial pellets for overall nutritional health
  • Timothy hay supplements for smooth digestion and tooth maintenance
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • 80 to 100 mL of fresh water

Guinea pigs should always have a pellet-filled food bowl with plenty of fruits and veggies.


4. Wheek! Attention Please

Maybe they just want some good old fashioned love—have you ever thought of that? Maybe a few neck rubs or some floor time will do the trick. Your guinea pig doesn’t want to be cooped up in their cage all the time, after all. If you hear a “wheek” sound, it’s a cry for attention.

Your guinea pig needs to have time out of its enclosure every day. They should have play sessions that last at least an hour. Minimally, you should get your guinea pig out every other day— minimum 3 times a week.


5. Ouch! I’m Not Feeling Too Hot

It can be a little hard to detect health issues in guinea pigs. Since they are prey animals, they usually don’t show any signs of weakness until it’s very advanced. You might hear them let out a high pitched squeal.

Other than health issues, it also might indicate that your piggy is trying to get your attention.


6. Ooh! I See You

Most guinea pig owners can agree that these little piggies can be quite nosey sometimes. They might watch you go from room to room, and they want to know what you’re doing. They could make what is called a chirrup sound—which indicates they’re feeling rather left out.

If you see your piggy staring at you from across the way, go over and give them a few scratches. They’ll feel better right away.


7. Grr! That’s a Warning

If your piggy is angry, they won’t sugarcoat it for you. Maybe they have an issue with a cage mate or they don’t like the chaos around them. When they aren’t pleased, they might give everyone around a warning to back off.

This sound is known as chuttering. If you notice this noise, your guinea pig needs some space. So, whether this is toward you or a cage mate, it’s time to let them recuperate.


8. Yikes! I’m Frozen

If your guinea pig lets out a chirping noise and freezes, they sense potential danger. Or, they might not know what’s going on, and they aren’t sure if the coast is clear. But sometimes, they can make this chirping noise with no real meaning behind it.

There are some mixed opinions on what it means, but it often presents itself as a trancelike state.


9. Aw! I Like You

Nothing is better than seeing a happy guinea pig. Your piggy might let out a low purring sound, similar to a cat. It may or may not be accompanied by other quieter squeals. This is a way of showing affection and love to their furry or human friends.

You can hear this noise while they’re both out and inside the cage. It’s a surefire way to know that they are happy campers.divider-guineapig

Other Ways Guinea Pigs Communicate

guinea pig licking human hand
Image Credit: Lipatova Maryna, Shutterstock
There are other types of vocalizations and body language that can tell a lot about what kind of mood your piggy is in
  • Popcorning—popcorning can come in combination with vocalizations. Guinea pigs usually do this when they’re out running around during play. It’s an expression of total delight.
  • Teeth Chattering—if you hear this noise, you better lookout. It’s a warning that they’re ready for a fight. It can be a sign of territorial aggression or aggravation.
  • Cooing—mother s mostly make this sound with affection and reassurance toward their babies. But it can happen toward cage mates, too.
  • Scent Marking—they mark their scent by rubbing their cheeks, chins, and backsides onto other creatures or objects. This gesture is another sign of establishing territory.
  • Licking—this usually happens because they like the taste of the salt on your skin. But some owners might disagree and say it’s a form of affection, like a dog lick.
  • Hissing—this is a sound of total annoyance. It’s yet another way guinea pigs are telling whoever is bothering them to back off—or else!
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Final Thoughts

Any guinea pig owner knows that these rodents are anything but quiet. Some might be less vocal than others, but all they have their triggers. Whether your guinea pig is more territorial or quick to show affection, it might influence how often they make noise.

Most guinea pig sounds are terribly cute, warming the hearts of people everywhere.

Additional Guinea Pig Reads: 


Featured image credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.