Guinea pigs are very chatty animals with multiple behavioral expressions. If you own a guinea pig as a pet, chances are you’ll always hear them talk (purr).
Being a herd animal, guinea pigs are social creatures who have plenty to say all the time. Understanding their purring isn’t difficult for the guardians.
Your furry companion will purr to get your attention and express their feelings by producing various sounds. They make sounds like ‘‘purr’’, ‘‘drr’’, ‘‘squeal’’ or ‘‘squeak’’ to express their mood, feelings, and arousal level.
In this brief guide, we’ll explain everything about Guinea pigs’ purr calls:
- What their purr means
- What they’re trying to communicate with their other fellow guinea pigs
- Guinea pig body language
What Guinea Pigs Purr Means
Guinea pigs typically produce a variety of mechanical and vocal sounds such as “wheeking”, “chutts’’ or ‘‘clucks’’, ‘‘chutter’’ or ‘‘tutt-tutt-tutt’’, ‘‘tweet’’ or ‘‘wheet-wheet’’, ‘‘whistle’’ or high-intensity ‘‘wheet’’, ‘‘purr’’, ‘‘drr’’, ‘‘squeal’’ (strong) or ‘‘squeak’ to express their moods, feelings, and level of arousal.
Each of which has a different behavioral meaning. Guinea pigs are one of the most expressive furry pets. The “purr” sounds produced by the Guinea pigs are a burst of noise.
- They usually purr when mating or expressing filial behavior.
- Guinea pig’s purr calls express their contentments and acceptance. For instance, they’ll purr when you feed them their favorite food.
- Guinea pigs also purr when their guardians let them sit on their laps and give them their attention and love. You’ll often hear purring sounds while you’re holding or petting them, and this is usually a sound of contentment.
- Guinea pigs show their happiness by producing low purring sounds accompanied by exciting shakes or relaxed posture.
- Guinea pigs also produce purring sounds when they allow or seek physical contact.
- In male guinea pigs, purring sounds depict sexual capacity or arousal. They purr to attract female guinea pigs and show their sexual ability. In contrast, female guinea pigs produce burbling purring sounds near males.
- Purring sounds aren’t only associated with happiness and contentment; they also show dominance. Being a herd animal, guinea pigs also produce purr calls to maintain social rank and show dominance.
- The purring sounds of guinea pigs are also associated with fear and annoyance. Your furry companion will produce short sudden purring sounds when he senses something is amiss.
- High-pitched purring sounds are associated with irritation and annoyance.
Guinea pigs not only communicate with purr calls but they also communicate via non-verbal (body language) expressions. Guinea pigs’ purrs can have different behavioral meanings depending on the pitch of the purring sounds and the accompanying gestures (shaking, jumping, sniffing, rubbing, freezing, running behind each other, purring at each other, etc.).
Purring At Each Other
As mentioned earlier, the guinea pig is a herd animal that lives with his other peers for survival. They live in groups that have social ranking systems. Guinea pigs purr at each other for maintaining their social rank and showing dominance.
Social ranks are standard among guinea pig herds. A noisy quarrel (purring at each other) among guinea pigs is typical behavior as this is how they discuss and show dominance over other piggies. The pecking order is necessary for guinea pig herds, and they set social ranks by communicating with each other.
It might sound a little fascinating, but in a single guinea pig herd, one matured male rule over a harem of females. A mature, dominant, high-ranked guinea pig is the only one who is allowed to sexually engage with other female guinea pigs.
In a wild guinea pig’s herd, it is sinful for young piggies to approach females with sexual interests in mind. Guinea pigs purr at each other to show their dominance. When young male guinea pigs get sexually matured, they’ll challenge other male piggies by purring at them. This is their way of threatening their competitors and showing their dominance.
To not let your male piggies fight for dominance and hurt each other, it is advisable to separate them when they get sexually matured. It’s not that two males piggies could never live with each other. It’s just they can’t live together peacefully in the presence of a female guinea pig.
Similar to male guinea pigs, female piggies also fight for dominance. They purr at each other to threaten and challenge. Females don’t get as aggressive as male piggies, but sometimes female guinea pigs could also get in serious fights. In such cases, male guinea pigs get involved and solve the issues.
Purr And Shake
As said earlier in the article, guinea pigs not only communicate with purr calls but also communicate via body language. Guinea pigs’ purrs can have different behavioral meanings depending on the purring sounds’ pitch and the accompanying gestures.
Guinea pigs’ purr calls accompanied by a shake or shiver can have multiple meanings. The purr calls can be associated with happiness, anxiety, fear, panic, or cold.
- If your guinea pig is shaking in winter or extreme cold, it simply means he needs warmth and comfort.
- They also shake and purr when they want to dominate other guinea pigs.
- They can also shake because of fear if exposed to sudden thunderstorms or fireworks.
- Guinea pigs shake and purr when they want to express their joy. This shake can be associated with rubbing the nose, cooing softly, and popcorning (happily jumping).
- Too much shaking with purring sounds can also be an indication of infection. In such a case, visit a vet as soon as possible.
If you see your piggies happily shaking, then don’t worry about it. But if you find your furry little pet shaking out of fear, immediately comfort him with petting and kissing.
Purr And Squeak
You might have often observed your guinea pigs walking together, making squeak or purr sounds while moving on the floor. This is the sound showing their happiness and contentment. Guinea pigs are social animals and are used to live in herds.
If you leave your guinea pig alone, he or she might squeak or grunt for seeking your affection or attention. Especially baby piggies can get lonely and squeak a lot to ask for reassurance and love.
If you own a single guinea pig, chances are he/she will also squeak when left alone in the house. Piggies are talkative and produce these sounds to signal that they want your attention.
Guinea pigs also produce sounds such as ‘‘strong squeal’’ or ‘‘mild squeak’’ in response to injustice when handled by a dominant male guinea pig. Your piggies might squeal when they suffer from pain and want your reassurance and care. Guinea pigs also squeal or squeak when other piggies try to steal their favorite treats or toys.
Guinea pigs also squeal when they sense something is amiss around them. If you hear high-pitched squeak sounds from your piggies, pay attention to them. Squeak or Squeal sounds can be a help call. Therefore, run to them as soon as you hear them squeaking.
Guinea pig also produces this particular sound to inform his other fellows about the danger. He squeaks or squeals to alert other peer piggies. Squeak is either a show of warning for other peers or seeking attention/help from owners. Both squeal or squeak sounds are associated with threat, pain, panic, or irritation.
Guinea pigs will also produce purring sounds and squeak when food is near. This sound is generally associated with excitement and begging. Guinea pigs only beg for food from humans and squeak to show it.
Purring When Petting
There are high chances you will hear guinea pigs make purring sounds or coo softly when you pet them. These soft, low purring sounds accompanied by relaxed posture is the sign of their pleasure and contentment.
Guinea pigs look incredibly adorable when you pet them. These little piggies are happiest when their owners pet them, especially, under the chin area. They make purring sounds when they are bonding with their owners.
But, if, by chance, you pet areas they don’t like, they produce rumbling sounds to warn you. They don’t like their owners petting their butt area or tummy when they (females) are pregnant.
To strengthen your owner-pet relationship with guinea pigs, it is highly significant for you to understand their chatting (purr calls). Guinea pigs are incredible companions of humans, and if raised and cared for by their owners, they can be all you want. They’re expressive and chatty.
Guinea pigs will let you know what they like and what they don’t by their purr calls. All you need to do is pay a little attention to their behavior and purr calls. They’ll produce a variety of sounds to express their moods, feelings, and arousal level. Know what each purr calls means and pay attention to it.