Consider yourself extremely lucky if you’ve ever heard a guinea pig sing. Like the mermaid songs of mythology, a guinea pig’s singing may seem more like the stuff of legend than a commonplace reality.
Sure, they are very vocal creatures, but the specific singing, chirping vocalizations in their repertoire aren’t often made use of.
If your guinea pig is singing or sounds like a bird, the sound it is most likely making is chirping. There is widespread debate over what chirping means, with some saying it is a sign of happiness, while others are certain it is a signal of distress.
This article dives into the reasoning behind each of the claims regarding guinea pig singing. It helps you figure out why your furry rodent has suddenly assimilated a parrot or cockatoo.
Importance of Guinea Pig Vocalizations
Guinea pigs are highly sociable animals that love to interact and communicate with other cavies.
Naturally, your pet guinea pig may want to communicate with you, although this is often easier said than done. To achieve communication between humans and guinea pigs, cavies have developed various sounds that each carry their own meanings.
Chirping is one of more than ten other sounds your guinea pig may be using to communicate with you or its fellows, and understanding what each means can help you become more in tune with your pet’s needs and personality.
What is Chirping?
Chirping is a rare option in a guinea pig’s vocabulary.
It oftentimes sounds precisely like the chirping of a bird and has sent many guinea pig owners rushing to their cavy’s cage in fear a wild bird had gotten into the room.
Guinea pig chirping is often accompanied by one or more other sounds, offering clues to what the chirping sounds mean.
What Other Sounds Do Guinea Pigs Make and What Do They Mean?
Understanding the more common guinea pig sounds could help you figure out why your piggy is singing.
The most well-known cavy vocalizations include: [Source]
- Wheeking or squealing: These sound like high-pitched whistles or squeals. Wheeking is often used to communicate excitement over food or being let out of the cage. If your guinea pig is mixing chirping and wheeking, there’s a good chance it is extremely happy or worked up.
- Chutting: Chutting sounds a lot like a softer version of a frog’s croaking. Guinea pigs will chut at pretty much anything, and the combination of this sound with chirping could mean anything from contentedness to your cavy simply enjoying the sound of its voice.
- Rumbling: Rumbling sounds like the cute, piggy version of a motorboat. It doesn’t typically accompany chirping but is more often used by males to attract females for mating.
- Purring: Purring can be a very confusing sound. Similar to that of a cat, purring could indicate happiness or anger, depending on the situation. However, if chirping accompanies purring and there’s nothing wrong in your cavy’s cage, it is most likely a sign of joy.
- Chattering: True to the name, this often sounds like your piggy’s teeth are chattering, bordering on a hiss. In most cases, chattering isn’t a sign your guinea pig is cold but instead serves as a warning for humans or other animals to stay away. Chattering doesn’t often accompany chirping.
- Complaining or moaning: Probably the most annoying of guinea pig sounds, it is a low version of something being scratched or cut. Like chattering, guinea pigs will use this sound when they want some space, whether from humans or other cavies.
- Shrieking: Shrieking sounds exactly as you’d expect from the name. This usually means your piggy is upset or scared and sometimes accompanies chirping, which is why many believe chirping is a sign of discomfort or fear.
- Hissing: If you thought your guinea pig liked its space before, hissing is sure to get the message across as a firm “go away.”
- Cooing: Cooing is usually used as a sign of affection toward humans or their cavy babies. Chirping alongside this vocalization indicates complete happiness.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Sing?
As explained above, guinea pigs rarely sing, and when they do, it’s difficult to know why.
The two most common reasons people believe guinea pigs sing are because they’re happy or because they’re scared. Let’s discuss both.
Because They’re Happy
One of the most likely reasons your guinea pig sings is because it is happy.
Whether it just had a particularly delicious meal, enjoyed playing, or a happy thought came to its little piggy mind, chirping accompanied by popcorning, you can know for sure that your cavy is ecstatic.
Popcorning involves your piggy running, jumping, and hopping, not too different from a dog’s zoomies.
A whistling sound accompanying chirping is another indicator your guinea pig is pleased, and there is no need for alarm on your part. Often, chirping will continue for several minutes, and if possible, you should enjoy the occasion as there’s a good chance you may not hear it again.
Because They’re Scared
On the opposite spectrum of guinea pig vocalizations, chirping may mean your guinea pig is scared or uncomfortable. [Source]
Chirping may often be accompanied by your cavy being frozen in its position and may likely serve as a warning to others that it’s spotted something dangerous.
The sound is also associated with losing a companion or friend and situations that make your piggy nervous.
If your guinea pig shows signs of distress while chirping, ensure it has enough food, water, and bedding to be comfortable. If the singing continues, you may need to take it to a vet to be examined.
Guinea pigs can’t talk, so they rely on being as loud and attention-grabbing as possible when they need something.
When Do Guinea Pigs Sing?
Guinea pigs can sing at pretty much any time of day. They may even start singing if they want some attention or are feeling particularly happy.
Is My Guinea Pig Singing a Good Sign?
This depends on the circumstances.
In many cases, a guinea pig singing may be a good sign if your piggy appears calm or is popcorning.
If your guinea pig seems to be in distress, chirping may be a sign it needs help or wants attention.
How To Get Your Guinea Pig to Sing?
Guinea pigs sing when they feel like it, and there’s very little we can do to make them do it.
However, keeping your guinea pig as happy and comfortable as possible could give you the best chance at experiencing your piggy’s singing.
Tips To Make Your Guinea Pig Happy Enough to Sing
Some of the best ways you can try to get your piggy to sing include:
- Making sure they feel safe in their cage and play area
- Introducing them to new toys and playing with them often
- Handling them regularly
- Providing them with their favorite food
- Ensuring your piggy has lots of space to burrow, hide, and sleep
- Paying loads of attention to your guinea pig
Guinea pig chirping is a rare, mystery-surrounded song that you would be lucky to hear even once in your piggy’s lifetime.
Whether it’s because your pet is happy, nervous, or needs attention, chirping is an enthralling sound that can put both you and your guinea pig in a trance-like state, especially if they’re singing for joy.