Guinea pigs can make a wide assortment of noises. The noises your guinea pig makes will change depending on his mood and the message he is trying to convey to you or to other animals within his living area. Learn the intentions behind the noises your guinea pig makes to help improve your interactions with him.
Guinea Pigs and Barking
Guinea pigs do not actually bark, or rather, guinea pigs do not bark in the same way that your dog will bark. If your guinea pig is making noises that sound to you like barks, he is probably chirping, chutting or even wheeking. Guinea pigs have a wide range of vocalizations. Your guinea pig is an individual with his own voice, and it is quite possible that his unique voice or manner of vocalization just happens to sound like barking.
Guinea Pig Wheeking
Wheeking is one of the most common sounds a guinea pig can make. While wheeking is most often described as a loud squeal, its repetitive nature might make it seem like your guinea pig is barking. It's normal for your guinea pig to make wheeking noises when he is happy or trying to express his excitement about something. Wheeking is common when your guinea pig is hungry or thinks treats might be a possibility in the near future. Rewarding this behavior with food almost guarantees that your guinea pig will continue to make the noise at feeding time, as well as whenever he thinks it should be feeding time.
Chirping and Chutting
Guinea pigs make a noise known as "chut." A chut is essentially a short, low-pitched wheek and may sound a bit like the guinea pig is muttering to himself. Continuous chutting may be mistaken for barking in some situations. Guinea pigs who are chutting are typically going happily about their own business and fairly content. Chirping is another noise that might be mistaken for a barking sound, though it is much more common for guinea pig chirping to be compared to the sound a bird makes when it is chirping or singing. It is unclear why guinea pigs chirp, but the general consensus is that it is not a bad noise and does not have any negative connotations. A guinea pig who chirps is likely happy enough with his environment.
Other Miscellaneous Noises
Guinea pigs are very vocal animals. If you encourage and respond to your guinea pig's vocalizations, he is likely to continue expressing himself with his voice. Purring is a sign of happiness and contentment. Growling and teeth chattering are signs of fear, anger or general unhappiness Guinea pigs will let out loud, high-pitched shrieks when they are afraid, surprised or in pain. The more time you spend with your guinea pig, the more accustomed you will become to the noises he makes and the easier it will be for you to tell what each individual noise is trying to tell you.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.