Guinea Pig Sounds
Guinea pigs make many different sounds, from the contented grunts that gave them their name to high pitched squeaks that can indicate illness or fear.
Guinea pigs make wonderful house pets because of their docile nature and relative ability to handle rough treatment by children. They are much less fragile than hamsters or gerbils, and more independent than most cats and dogs. Guinea pigs are vegetarians by nature, and generally only bite when severely provoked or seriously ill. Owning a guinea pig is very close to owning a rabbit or a ferret in terms of overall maintenance level. Cages must be kept clean, and food/water levels must be checked daily. Guinea pigs are social animals, and respond well to daily exercise and human contact. One endearing quality of guinea pigs would have to be the noises they make throughout the day. Owners should get to know these grunts, squeaks and chirps by heart, because they may be the first clues to a serious problem with the guinea pig's health or a good gauge for checking their overall mood.
One of the most common noises emitted by a guinea pig is the grunt. This noise is not exactly the same as a real pig's guttural grunting, but it is just as constant. Guinea pigs spend most of their time making a series of little squeaks that increase in volume and pitch whenever a human makes contact with them. At first, these sounds may appear troubling to the new owner, because they seem so insistent and intense. This is not the case, however. Guinea pigs maintain these squeaks during times of contentment and excitement. Don't worry if they seem to become more strained as you handle the pig. As long as the grunts are continuous and are stimulated by gentle handling, everything is fine. Think of it as a guinea pig's giggle. This is the standard noise of any guinea pig breed.
Guinea pigs also have their own brand of human owner conditioning which their 'slaves' usually refer to as the 'WEEEEK' noise. Guinea pigs are intelligent creatures, and will soon learn the significance of many household sounds. If you feed your guinea pig fresh parsley or carrots from the refrigerator, they will soon associate this sound with a treat. The sound of a bag rustling may remind them of a fresh bowl of pellet food being prepared, or some timothy hay about to be dropped. Whatever the trigger may be, the owner should expect to hear a very loud, shrill 'WEEEEEK' noise coming from the cage. Studies have shown that this noise is not found in nature, but is reserved for the human whose main responsibility in life should be the care and maintenance of their guinea pig master. All guinea pigs develop this high-pitched squeak eventually, which is generally reserved for the proper occasion. If your pig suddenly lets out such a squeak, you probably triggered it with a familiar sound. Contrary to guinea pig belief, however, you CAN choose to ignore it. Good luck.
Perhaps the ultimate in happy guinea pig noises is the purr of contentment. To hear it for the first time is pure owner bliss. While gently stroking your pet, listen and feel for a very quiet shuddering, followed by a low-pitched purr. This is the sound of a perfectly content pig who is totally at ease with his or her surroundings. Not a very common noise, but one you will want to hear at least once a day.
Guinea pigs are defenseless in nature, except for the ability to run fast and dodge. They rarely let out any noises to indicate illness or fear in the wild, because enemies will target the weakest animals in a pack. But within the relatively safe confines of the human world, guineas will make some noises that indicate real pain or fear. If you notice a sudden outburst of squeaking that is not triggered by common sounds, then you may have an injured pig to deal with. Check your pet's feet for cuts or splinters, and look for signs of broken teeth. Also, ask any child that may have handled the pig recently if they had any problems- a sudden fall or an awkward position can cause painful dislocations. Guinea pigs may also let out distressed squeaks in the presence of strangers or aggressive pets like cats or large dogs. Such squeaks may be followed by defensive bites, so use caution when attempting to examine a squeaking guinea pig. Punishing a guinea pig for biting is never a good idea- they bite so rarely that there was probably a good reason behind it.
Overall, a guinea pig's noises should suggest a happy, contented animal who is more than willing to allow you the privilege of feeding it daily. Some may find the noises distracting and opt for a quieter pet, but guinea enthusiasts generally enjoy the little squeaks and WEEEEEKS of their friends with fur on their faces.