Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

8 Guinea Pig Sounds & What They Mean (With Audio)

Krystal Facey

By Krystal Facey

male smooth-haired guinea pig

It may not be very well known that guinea pigs communicate verbally with different types of sounds based on their mood. Like a dog that will growl, bark, or whine in different situations, the guinea pig makes different noises too! These noises or sounds will make it easy to understand what your guinea pig is thinking or feeling in different situations, which means you can make sure they are happy and in positive situations.

Continue reading to learn about different guinea pig sounds and what they mean.

Divider Guinea Pig

The 8 Guinea Pig Noises & What They Mean

The 2 Happy Sounds

1. Cooing

This is a rather positive sound that guinea pigs make when they are happy, nurturing their young or showing affection and trust. It is a soft noise that shows that they are trying to calm another pig, or to show affection to another adult in their environment. Two guinea pigs might be noticed cooing at each other in their enclosures to show their care for one another.


2. Purr

A relatively controversial sound in relation to its naming convention and what it means for other animals, the guinea pig has been said to purr. Although positive in a cat, the type of purr a guinea pig makes sounds more like a low, grumbling noise. It is not always a sign of positivity, so it should be interpreted based on your guinea pig, their surroundings, and the situation.

Divider Guinea Pig

The 6 Unhappy Sounds

3. Whining or Whistling

The Guinea Pig will make a noise that sounds very similar to whistling (sometimes called “wheeking”) that means they are asking for something from their owner. In most cases, as with many animals, they are usually asking for food or treats. It is one of the most common sounds that they make. The frequency of these will depend on the personality of your guinea pig (and how often they get what they want!).


4. Chirps

This sound usually signals that a guinea pig is apprehensive or nervous about a new situation. The name is due to its similarity to the sounds birds make (i.e., a chirp), although different in its meaning. The reason for chirping is not entirely understood, but usually, it’s an alert to something. Again, this can be different in any situation, so it’s important to understand your pet and why, when, and where they make different sounds.


5. Hissing

Similar to its animal counterpart, a hissing noise is not a positive one. When a guinea pig is hissing, it is most likely in an unsafe situation or is not happy. This can be anything from being introduced to a new human or pet or perceiving them as a threat. Guinea pigs who hiss at something should be recognized and not put in that situation again to avoid unwanted behaviors and an unhappy pet.


6. Chattering Teeth

This sound for a guinea pig usually signifies an unhappy moment for them. It is a low-ticking noise that they make to either assert their dominance while facing another male pig (letting them know they are ready to fight for their status) or to show that they are not a fan of someone or something. It can also signify that something else is making them unhappy, so check their surroundings to note what it is that could be causing the problem.


7. Hooting

This noise will be obvious when you hear it from your guinea pig, as it doesn’t sound too positive or happy. It can also be similar to a wheezing noise while they breathe in and should be attended to immediately. It could be a sign that your guinea pig cannot breathe due to something stuck in their throat or another issue with their airways. This is a telltale sign of an issue with your pig, and it’s important to keep an ear out for these signs daily.


8. Squealing

This sound can also be called “shrieking”, as the noise is very similar to one another. When your guinea pig is making this noise, it is another negative response to something in their environment. It is very loud and will alert you to the pain or fear that your pig is experiencing. It’s very important to check on your guinea pig right away when you hear them make this sound. Take a look at their cage, food, or body language for signs of illness or injury.

Divider Guinea Pig

In Summary

Guinea pigs make several different noises and sounds to communicate with each other and their owners. It’s their way of vocalizing how they feel, if they want or need something, and whether they are happy. It’s a great thing for guinea pig owners to understand and monitor so that they raise a happy and healthy pig. Be sure to learn about the behaviors of guinea pigs, their needs, and their responses to different stimuli.


Featured Photo Credit: Svetlana Vinokurova, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database