What's That Sound? Why Do Guinea Pigs Purr?

why do guinea pigs purr


Guinea pigs make various sounds, from purring to chutting, and each sound has a particular meaning that they use to communicate their moods, emotions and needs. These little furry friends are so vocal that they can make many different sounds within a short period. So, how do you tell what each sound means?

Below, you’ll find a list of the various sounds that guinea pigs make and their meanings. We’ll also give you tips on keeping your guinea pigs happy and purring. 

What Are the Different Sounds That a Guinea Pig Makes?

Guinea pigs speak to each other and their owners, but they also make sounds to themselves, much like humans do, when immersed in activity. 

Why do guinea pigs purr? Purring and cooing are noises that guinea pigs make when they are content. However, sounds like moaning and complaining are all warning sounds that a piggy wants space. When a guinea pig is hissing and shrieking, things have gone too far, and they may feel threatened. There are also many other noises unique to guinea pigs that are kept indoors. 

What Is the Meaning of Their Particular Sounds?

Guinea pig sounds vary as much as their personalities. As you get to know your guinea pig, you’ll soon pick up on the meaning of each of their specific sounds. This will help you keep your piggy happy and healthy. Here’s a quick guide to the most common guinea pig sounds and what they mean:

  • Purring: Why do guinea pigs purr? Typically, a purring, “vibrating” guinea pig is happy, but in certain situations, it can also mean they are angry or scared. A low purr indicates a happy piggy, but a high-pitched purr means they are angry. If the piggy is motionless and producing short purrs, they may be scared.
  • Teeth chattering: Your guinea pig could be warning you and others that they need personal space and to back off. If your piggy is anxious, chattering may sound more like hissing.

  • Chirping: This noise is more rare among domesticated guinea pigs and does sound like a bird chirp. It’s thought to indicate fear, but experts are still unclear on this. 
  • Moaning and complaining: A guinea pig’s version of “moaning and complaining” sounds like a record being scratched in a low tone. It means that the piggy wants more personal space.
  • Shrieking: A guinea pig making this noise is very upset, perhaps scared or frightened. Your guinea pig may be physically injured if there’s nothing else in its surroundings that poses a threat.
  • Hissing: This is a warning sound for humans or other guinea pigs to back off. 
  • Cooing: This sound is a clear sign of affection and joy. Guinea pigs make this noise when caring for their young and around humans.
  • Sneezing: This sound is high-pitched and sounds like an ordinary sneeze but smaller. It’s just a normal sneeze, but if it occurs frequently, take your piggy to the vet.
  • Wheeking: The“wheek wheek” sound starts low and increases in pitch as the sounds get more drawn out. It’s one of the most common sounds guinea pigs make, and it’s often associated with reminding their owner that they are hungry. Check around their cage and playpen to see if they have any unmet needs.

What a Pet Owner Can Do to Keep Their Guinea Pig Happy?

It’s normal for your guinea pig to sometimes have “bad days,” but a depressed guinea pig is usually listless and not very active. Aggressive, upset guinea pigs may fidget, toss their heads, or make angry noises, such as hissing. 

Why do guinea pigs purr? A happy guinea pig will display more low purring and cooing noises. Extroverted guinea pigs may also make many “wheek wheek” noises.

If you’re keeping a guinea pig as a pet, of course you’re concerned about its happiness. Here are some tips for keeping them happy and healthy:

  • Guinea pigs are herd animals that thrive on companionship, so it’s good to have at least one companion. 
  • Fresh herbs and hay also make for tasty chewing snacks that keep their teeth healthy. Remember to provide a variety of fruit and vegetables. 
  • At least an hour outside of their cage for play time will keep guinea pigs happy.
  • Though they are small, guinea pigs need a lot of space to move around and play. So, provide them with a spacious cage.
  • Take your guinea pig to the vet at least once or twice annually.

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