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Why Do Guinea Pigs Squeak? 8 Possible Reasons

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

cute red guinea pig looking upwards

Guinea Pigs are intriguing little animals. They only sleep around 4 hours a day, so they make active pets that owners can spend time watching and interacting with. Their body shape means they are inclined to hide when in danger, rather than running or fighting. And, in the wild, they live in packs of between five and ten, which means that it can be beneficial to keep multiple Guinea Pigs rather than one. They can also be sociable little creatures that not only tolerate but seemingly enjoy being handled.

Another reason for their popularity with some owners is the vast array of noises and vocalizations they can make. Guinea Pigs seem to have a noise for every occasion, and by listening to the type of noise they are making, it is possible to at least get some idea of the message they are trying to convey.

As with any animal, context is key, so you should have a look at your Cavie’s surroundings and determine whether anything unusual or extraordinary has happened and then take action to answer your Guinea Pig’s call. Below are 8 possible reasons why your Guinea Pig might be squeaking or making other noises that can easily be mistaken for squeaking.

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The 8 Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Squeak

1. Dinner Time

Guinea Pigs are eating machines. They need to eat regularly, especially hay or grass, as the fiber in the hay helps with digestion while the grinding motion of the chewing also helps maintain healthy teeth and prevent the teeth—which keep growing throughout a Guinea Pig’s life—from becoming overgrown. They also learn routine and are especially keen that you should follow a feeding schedule.

If your Guinea Pig believes it is time for food and that food hasn’t been forthcoming, it will squeak loudly to get your attention and let you know of your feeding failings. This is probably the most common cause of Guinea Pig squeaks and one that owners will need to get used to, and it is easy to identify if this is the problem. Check the food bowl and hay bowl, and check whether it is feeding time.

two guinea pigs eating shredded carrots
Image Credit: Bonnie Kittle, Unsplash

2. Attention Seeking

Wanting food is one reason that a Guinea Pig might want to catch your attention. If you have an especially friendly Guinea Pig, one that has been well-socialized and is used to regular handling, your Cavie could be letting you know that it is time to be picked up or time for you to play. If your Guinea Pig wants to be picked up, it will likely approach the edge of its enclosure, near where you are while making sounds because it knows this is likely to get your attention.


3. Excitement

Guinea Pigs also make noise when they’re excited. The excitement could be because it is dinner time or because you’ve put a favorite treat in the hutch. It could be that your Guinea Pigs are having a really good time playing, or it could genuinely be that your Cavie is excited to see you walk into the room.


4. Comfortable in Your Presence

Because they are prey animals, Guinea Pigs tend to be quite quiet in the wild. The more they squeak, the more likely they are to attract the attention of predators. They will reserve squeaking for occasions when they believe they are safe. This means that, for your Guinea Pig to squeak while in your company, it must feel very comfortable around you and doesn’t view you as any kind of a threat. If your Guinea Pig squeaks when you pick it up, and there is no other obvious cause of the noise, it may be in anticipation of spending time with its favorite human.

guinea pig licking human hand
Image Credit: Lipatova Maryna, Shutterstock

5. Learned Behavior

As sociable animals, Guinea Pigs do learn from one another as well as from their parents. There may even be some level of inherited learning. As such, your Guinea Pig may not even know why it is squeaking but still does so at certain times or to mark certain events. If you can’t find any other reason for the squeaking, your Cavie might be making noises simply because it feels like the right thing to do.


6. Fear and Anxiety

A squeal can be a sign of impending danger, although you may not perceive something to be dangerous in the same way as your Cavie does. The danger could be close and imminent, such as an approaching pet, or it could be further away. If your Cavie can hear unusual noises, perhaps through an open window or even on the TV, these noises might make your Pig anxious and cause it to squeal.

Look for any unusual activity around your Guinea Pig or listen for noises that are out of the ordinary and that might be causing the panic.


7. Pain

Cavies are prey animals and even if they are in pain or ill, they won’t usually make noise. In the wild, a sick or injured Cavie is under even greater threat from predators, and making noise would only alert animals to their whereabouts. A sick Guinea Pig may even be attacked by other Guinea Pigs.

However, your pet Guinea Pig may be more inclined to squeak or squeal if it is in pain, and if this is the cause of the noise the pain is likely quite intense. Look for signs of injury or other signs and symptoms of illness, and if you believe something is wrong, contact your vet for advice.

veterinarian examining a guinea pig
Image Credit: Garna Zarina, Shutterstock

8. Warning

Although Guinea Pigs will usually choose to hide or run, rather than fight, there are occasions when they might bite or nip. They may also fight with one another if cage conditions are incorrect or if one Guinea Pig feels threatened by another. A loud squeak may be sounded as a warning from one Guinea Pig to another and it could mean that a fight is about to ensue. If your Cavie squeaks at you, as a warning, it is best to back away and give it some room.

If the alarm is being sounded at another Guinea Pig, you should separate them and look for ways to better introduce them or improve their conditions.

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How Do I Stop My Guinea Pigs from Fighting?

Make sure the cage you have is big enough for the both of them and that they have plenty of things to do as well as tunnels and holes to hide in. One of the most common reasons for warring Guinea Pigs is that they don’t have enough room in their enclosure. However, it may also be a sign that one of your Guinea Pigs is ill so monitor your Cavies for signs and symptoms of illness.

Two lovely guinea pig babies together in summer
Image By: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

Does Squeaking Mean a Guinea Pig Is Happy?

There are various reasons why Guinea Pigs make noise, and some Guinea Pigs can chatter and mumble seemingly all day long. Squeaking might indicate that your Guinea Pig is waiting for its dinner, is anticipating you getting it out for some playtime or handling, or that it is excited and having fun.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Chirping Like a Bird?

Guinea Pigs really do have a lot of different vocalizations and noises. One such noise sounds similar to the noise of a bird chirping, and this can signify any of a variety of occurrences or feelings, but one of the most common reasons for chirruping is that your Guinea Pig is sounding an alert. Look for possible causes of concern or anxiety and try to remedy the situation and set your Cavie’s mind at ease.

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Conclusion

Guinea Pigs make fascinating pets. With regular handling and interaction, they can become quite noisy as they learn to trust you and understand that it is safe for them to make noises. While they do have a variety of different noises in their vocabulary, squeaking is one of the more common noises.

A squeak can convey an array of emotions and alerts and your Cavie might be letting you know it is dinner time or sounding an alert to warn of impending danger. It may also signify that they are in pain or genuinely afraid.


Featured Image Credit: Dev_Maryna, Shutterstock

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