Guinea Pigs are great little pets and certainly have brilliant characters. You may have noticed that they live up to the ‘pig’ reputation by letting out multiple squeaks, chirps and “wheeks” throughout the day. But, have you ever wondered why they squeak? What are they trying to tell you? Let’s look at the different reasons why your Guinea Pig might be being so vocal.
Understand what’s normal for your Guinea Pig
It may be difficult to know what’s normal for your Guinea Pig if they’re a new addition to the family, but over time, you will soon get to know the different sounds that your Guinea Pig makes. That way, when you hear a different type of sound to normal, you will know that something may be amiss.
Wheeking – you may often hear what can only be described as a “wheeking” sound coming from your Guinea pig, and this is a sound that they will often make daily. This is usually a characteristic of excitement. If you have a small herd of Guinea pigs, you will hear quite the choir ensemble performance when it’s time for dinner!
Rumbling – You may sometimes hear a rumbling sound which is often deep, continuous and comes in waves. This is characteristic of mating behaviour. Males will make this rumbling sound to attract the ladies, and the females may repeat this noise to let the males know that she is in season.
They are social animals
Guinea pigs are social animals and should always be kept in pairs or in herds. You may sometimes hear a short “chut” type sound coming from the herd. Guinea pigs will often make this noise whilst they are by themselves, exploring their run, or when they’re with other Guinea Pigs.
Think of it as the Guinea Pig language, they are happy, content and enjoying time with their friends.
Sometimes, Guinea Pigs may also let out a grinding or teeth chattering type sound. This may be a signal to another Guinea Pig to leave them alone or back off. You may also find that they can make this noise to people, indicating that they should be left alone.
Is your Guinea pig in pain?
It can be difficult to become fluent in the language of a Guinea Pig, so it may be useful to assess a range of factors when deciding what your Guinea Pig is trying to tell you.
What are they doing? – How is your Guinea Pig acting? Look for signs of distress, circling or pacing.
Observe your Guinea pig – Is your Guinea Pig only making squeaks because of something specific? Sit and watch your Guinea Pig for a while and check to see if they are acting out of character. Make sure they are not irritated by their skin and scratching a specific area. Ensure that they are not limping and are using all 4 limbs correctly.
Examine your Guinea Pig – If it is showing no signs of obvious pain or irritation, gently pick up your Guinea Pig and feel each limb. Stroke down their back and over the head and ears. Keep a close eye out for any sounds or signs of reaction.
Are they squealing? – If your Guinea pig is letting out a high-pitched, continuous squeal, they may be experiencing pain or discomfort. Check on your Guinea Pig’s situation and assess all options.
If you are worried about your Guinea Pig in any way, contact your veterinary practice for advice.
Is your Guinea Pig digesting?
Guinea pigs must constantly be eating and their guts should have continuous movement. Due to the high volume of food passing through the digestive system, their guts can make a substantial amount of noise. Sometimes, this may only be audible through the use of a stethoscope, however, these noises may also be louder than you expect and may be heard out loud.
Loud stomach sounds, however, may be an indication of other digestive health issues, which may risk gut stasis. Gut stasis is a life-threatening condition where the gastrointestinal tract stops moving. If your Guinea pig has abnormal stomach noises and is showing signs of lethargy, a bigger abdomen than usual and depression, contact your veterinary surgery immediately.
Listen, observe and act if needed
It can be difficult to completely understand why your Guinea Pig is squeaking, “wheeking” or “chutting”. Often, your Guinea Pig will be squeaking because he or she is happy, healthy and going about their little Guinea Pig way of life. If they make an uncommon noise to you, stop, observe and act if required.
It may be useful to record your Guinea Pig whilst they are making different sounds so you can compare the videos. This may also be useful to your veterinary surgeon if you’re worried about your Guinea Pig’s health. Most of all, enjoy the Guinea Pig lingo! Their happy little squeaks are rather satisfying and pleasing to listen to. Always seek advice if you’re worried.
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