Why do guinea pigs chirp? (5 Key Reasons Why & What To Do)

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Guinea pigs are social animals who are known to communicate through different vocal expressions. 

To interpret your guinea pig’s behavior, it is best to understand the different noises they make and the reason behind them.

So, why exactly do guinea pigs chirp?

Guinea pigs usually make the chirping noise when they are in a dreamy state or are half asleep. 

In some situations, they make this noise when they are going through an emotional phase, like the recent loss of a partner. 

They often do so to express their loneliness.

However, you must remember that guinea pigs are actually quiet animals. So, if you hear a loud chirping sound, it is a clear indication that something is unusual with your cavy.

Clearly, you want to know the other reasons why guinea pigs chirp like this? 

Keep reading to find out!

5 Other Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Chirp

There are other reasons behind your cavy’s chirping than the death of a partner.

You need to observe your cavies body language to understand better.

Let’s take a look below.

1. When They are Suffering from A Trauma

Did your guinea pigs have a recent incident of stress? If yes, you are going to hear a lot of chirping.

If your guinea pigs get chased and narrowly escape from a cat, they are likely to get a trauma. They cope with such a tense situation by chirping.

In any moment of stress like that, you will hear chirping from them.

2. If They Try to Warn Others

A guinea pig caught by a barn owl (predator)

Guinea pigs often start chirping as a warning call when they sense a predator nearby. It is their way of alerting other guinea pigs in the area about any approaching danger.

Chirping for making others aware is more common when your cavies are in larger uncovered areas or outdoor spaces and they see any form of danger approaching.

It can be a cat at a distance or an owl flying towards them.

3. When Guinea Pigs Get Nervous

There can be different reasons behind your guinea pigs getting nervous. The more nervous and anxious they get, the more likely they are to chirp loudly.

They can be nervous because of several reasons:

  • When there is a predator near them
  • If you are not around them for long or walk away from them
  • When they get vulnerable after a loss of a long-time companion
  • After a close predator encounter

Quick Facts:

When your cavy is too nervous, it is likely to stand still or hold its position for long to avoid getting detected by the nearby predator. Hence, it appears to be a trance-like condition. 

If you are nearby, comfort your guinea pigs and make them feel safe. A little comfort from their owners often quietens the chirping noise cavies make.

4. When They Seek Your Attention

Yes, you cavies can seek your attention with their chirping noise. It is very similar to a baby crying for attention.

Sometimes they even alert their owners by chirping to ask for food. Though rarely, chirping can be an expression to request you to play with them.

5. To Express Their Happiness

Though it is a rare behavior in guinea pigs, sometimes, guinea pigs even chirp to express how happy they are.

In general, they whistle and jump around to show their happiness. But, sometimes, they can even end up chirping as well.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Chirp at Night?

Though guinea pigs can chirp any time of the day, they do it more frequently at night

Like we mentioned before, they chirp when they are nervous, scared, or are warning others of predators. Since such predator activities happen mostly at night, they are likely to chirp more at night.

It can happen if your cavy hears an unfamiliar sound or even sees a shadow. Though the chirping generally lasts about 10 minutes, sometimes, it continues for a longer time.

If the sound is too annoying for you, you can go to your cavy and they become quiet.

How Do I Get My Guinea Pigs to Stop Chirping?

a boy loving his scared pet guinea pig

You must understand that your cavies take a lot of effort to make the chirping noise. So, if they are chirping, it has to be something important.

Since there are many reasons behind a guinea pig’s chirp, you need to understand the exact emotion to find a solution.

1. When Your Cavy is Chirping at Night

If you hear your cavy chirping at night, there is a possibility that it is scared. The best way to stop the chirping at night is to calm down your cavies.

Your guinea pig might be experiencing nocturnal stress.

Hence the chirping. Talking to your cavies to calm them down is the best way to relieve them of their stress and stop the noise.

2. When Your Guinea Pig Seeks Attention or Wants Food

The reason behind chirping is not always fear or sadness for guinea pigs. They might be chirping loud at night, just to draw your attention.

First, try to talk to your guinea pig to calm it down. If your cavy is still chirping, check their supplies.

Is there enough food and water in your guinea pig’s cage? Your guinea pig is likely to get stressed out because of lack of water or might feel hungry.

Cavies chirp to draw attention when they are stressed from hunger and thirst.

The best way to stop the chirping in this scenario is to provide your cavies with food and water instantly.

3. When Your Guinea is Chirping After Losing a Mate

If your guinea pig has suffered a recent loss of a mate, it is likely to mourn by chirping. 

Like we feel heartbroken after the loss of our family members, guinea pigs feel the same. You need to understand their feelings and handle them with love.

To stop the chirping, you need to think of ways to comfort your cavies, the way you would treat members of your family.

Give your guinea pigs more affection and love and help ease their pain. Support them emotionally and mentally and give them more attention.

4. When Your Cavy Feels Threatened

It is quite possible that your cavy felt threatened by the presence of some predator or even a house cat. If your cavy has encountered any threat, it is likely to warn others by chirping.

To avoid this chirping alarm, you need to be patient with your guinea pig and deal with the threat. 

Did your guinea pig see a real threat or is it just a shadow? No matter what the issue is, solve the problem and talk to your guinea pigs to calm them down.

A little affection and cuddle usually help in calming guinea pigs and stopping the chirping noise.

Other Noises Guinea Pigs Make Besides Chirping

Guinea pigs make 12 different noises besides chirping and each of them has a different meaning. Let’s find out what these noises are and what each of them means.

1. Rumbling

Rumbling is the noise guinea pigs make as a mating call.

During mating season, the male cavies make a deep rumbling noise and get involved in a weird mating dance.

2. Wheeking

Wheeking is a loud and long squealing noise that our cavies make when they are excited, especially during their mealtime. The sound is usually followed by a whistle.

3. Hissing

Guinea pigs hiss when they are annoyed or angry for some reason.

4. Purring

Guinea pigs’ purring can have both negative and positive meanings. You need to observe your cavy and understand their tones to determine what it means.

A gentle purring in a low tone is your cavy’s way of expressing that they feel secure. But when your cavy becomes stiff and purrs in a high pitch, it indicated that they are stressed or annoyed.

5. Screaming or Shrieking

Screaming or shrieking in a high pitch tone is a way for guinea pigs to seek your attention. They often scream when they are hurt or injured.

6. Teeth Chattering

Teeth Chattering is the sound cavies make when they are super angry. The angry noise is always followed by the baring of teeth.

Pro Tips:

If your cavy is baring its teeth towards its cage mate as a warning for a long time, you need to separate the too immediately to avoid fighting. Try reintroducing the new guinea pig in the cage after a short while.

You might need to separate them several times before the new guinea pig finally gets to settle in the cage. Leave them together only when the teeth chattering stops completely.

Your cavies will stop teeth chattering after a few interactions when they have successfully established a hierarchy or superiority among themselves.

7. Chutting

Chutting is a clucking sound made by guinea pigs to indicate their happiness or that they are having fun.

8. Whining

Guinea pigs whine when they are annoyed or when they require urgent medical care from their owners

9. Cooing

The cooing is a soft murmuring sound that mother guinea pigs make to calm their babies. Adult female or male cavies coo to show affection towards each other.

10. Growling

Guinea pigs growl when they feel threatened or distressed. They growl when they see a predator or when there is a change in the environment.

11. Squeaking or Yelping

Squeaking is the most common sound that guinea pigs make when they are highly startled. 

Pro Tip: To avoid startling your cavy, it is better to talk to them first before holding them. It helps in avoiding the element of surprise for cavies.

Squeaking is also a form of communication between two guinea pigs.

12. Moaning

Moaning is a low-pitched noise guinea pigs make when they get injured or are very sick. The sound is very similar to the cry of a human baby.

When you hear your cavies moaning, provide them with instant medical assistance.

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs chirp when they are in a dreamy state of mind or when they have recently lost a companion. 

Though there are a handful of reasons behind a guinea pig’s chirp, it is now clear that guinea pigs chirp when they are emotionally suffering.

Guinea pigs can chirp when they have lost a companion or undergone a trauma, to warn others about predators nearby, when they are nervous, or simply to get your attention.

Sometimes, they even chirp to show that they are happy.

Chirping is very common at night as guinea pigs tend to get scared by the dark. If you hear them chirping, you need to talk to them and feed them to make them calm and content.

To know more about the different noises, read our full guide on Guinea Pig Noises and What They Mean.

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