Why Do Guinea Pig Teeth Chatter?

No matter what type of animal you encounter, there are going to be certain noises produced, whether obvious or discrete, that indicate a very particular message to humans and other animals. When it comes to the noises your guinea pig makes, why do their teeth chatter?

Guinea pigs chatter their teeth as an indication of irritation which serves as a message to animals and humans around it to give them space. If you notice that your guinea pig is chattering its teeth, back away and give them time to allow the emotion to subside before trying to get close again. 

© Illustration: Elnora Turner. © The Spruce

Guinea pigs are not the type of animal that is as obviously vocal as those like dogs or birds. They are relatively passive creatures when it comes to persistent and regular noises made by them, however, there are ways to listen to those small noises your guinea pig makes to gauge what message they are trying to relay. Take a look below to find out what teeth chattering means as well as other noises that your guinea pig makes. 

Guinea Pig Noises That Indicate Aggression 

© Hutch and Cage

In comparison to many other pets, guinea pigs are relatively passive animals that are not inclined to persistent aggression. However, just as with any other animal, guinea pigs can experience moments of aggression and irritation, which can be indicated by a specific set of noises. If you hear any of the noises listed below, know that your guinea pig needs a bit of space and time to settle down, but that this emotional state will pass. 

Teeth Chattering 

Teeth chattering is a noise, but also a behavioral position which indicates aggression. If you notice that your guinea pig is chattering its teeth, they are attempting to tell you (or other animals) that they are irritated. You will notice that the guinea pig’s teeth are revealed in this moment, with their mouth open and teeth clearly shown. When you see and hear this, be sure to give your pet plenty of space to calm down. 

As your guinea pig’s owner, you may be included to try to settle your guinea pig in this moment, however, avoid this inclination. When guinea pigs are in a state of agitation, they can be more inclined to bite. Therefore, if you reach for your guinea pig when they are making this noise, you should leave with a bit finger, hand, or arm. Allow them to settle themselves and remove anything within their direct vicinity that may be causing them stress. 

Hissing 

Following suit with teeth chattering, you may hear your guinea pig hissing in moments of irritation. This is a sound that many guinea pig owners never expect to hear, as it almost seems unnatural for these particular animals, however, when you hear this sound coming from your guinea pig, they are telling you to give them space. Hissing indicates that your guinea pig is in an aggressive state and they should be given plenty of space to settle themselves. 

Shrieking 

There is one last sound which indicates irritation and aggression in your guinea pig when heard which is shrieking. This particular sound is very high pitched and can be quite loud when they are at the apex of this emotion. Shrieking can occur when they are unhappily around another animal, when they are being handled without the desire to be touched, or simply when they are trying to express themselves in a seemingly random moment. 

Shrieking most often occurs when a guinea pig is being handled by a human. Guinea pigs are typically very apt to being held and played with, however, there are moments, just as with any other creature, where they prefer to be left alone. If you are reaching for your guinea pig and hear them begin to shriek or are holding them as they shriek, gently put them back down in their cage and allow them space to move about without any physical contact from you or others. 

Guinea Pig Noises That Indicate Content 

© Pet Comments

Now that you know what noises your guinea pig makes to relay that they are irritated, let’s discuss those sounds that relay they are content. This is a much more common state for guinea pigs, therefore, these noises are more often heard and of course, welcomed by owners. Take a look below to find the specific noise your guinea pig is making and what that exact sound means when they are in a state of happiness. 

Deep Purring 

There are a few different types of purrs that guinea pigs make, but when you hear your guinea pig making a deep purr followed by a very relaxed body, you can know that they are in a state of complete content. If you are holding your guinea pig while this is happening, you will not only be able to hear the deepness of the purr, but you will  also be able to feel the vibration in your hands. Relaxed and peaceful, your guinea pig is happy to where it is when making this sound.

Cooing 

Cooing is a very distinctive noise which is really quite pleasant to hear. This is a noise that is made very quietly, but it is soft and sweet. If you have a female guinea pig with a new littler of pups, this sound is often made when they are around her. Cooing is a type of noise that relays content and peace. If you hear your guinea pig cooing, know that they are in a state of happiness and relaxation when it comes to their environment. 

Guinea Pig Noises that Indicate Excitement 

© 2 Paws Up Inc.

Although guinea pigs may seem relatively passive, if you have had a guinea pig for a while and it has acclimated to you and its surroundings, you will notice that there are certainly moments where they are active and excited. When this happens, not only will their body indicate excitement, but they will produce a few noises to help vocalize their excited state. Take a look below to find the noises your guinea pig makes when it is excited. 

Wheeking 

Wheeking, not wheezing, is a very distinct and common noise produced by guinea pigs when they are in a state of excitement. This sound is similar to a long squeal or a whistle. When this noise is made, it is usually when your guinea pig is being fed or given a treat. This particular noise will tell you exactly what type of food, treat, or activity your guinea pig loves the most, so be sure to pay close attention when the noise is made to know exactly what they like! 

Once you see a pattern with your guinea pigs wheeking noises, you will be able to gauge the preferences of your guinea pig. This may seem unnecessary to some, but if you are looking to bond with your guinea pig or find successful ways of motivating training, identifying exactly what your guinea pig loves by paying attention to when it makes a wheeking noise may be the perfect method to achieve both.

Other Noises that Guinea Pigs Make 

At this point, you may be a bit surprised to see such a long list of noises that can come from a guinea pig. With them being so small, cooperative, and generally laid back, it can be a bit shocking to see such a long list of separate noise indicators for this pet, however, the list does not end here. There are a few other sounds that guinea pigs make, which fall into more of a random category, but mean something nonetheless. 

Sneezing 

Sneezing is both a noise, but also a bodily function depending on how this sound is brought on. If sneezing occurs only sporadically, this can mean that your guinea pig is just a tad roused or slightly excited. However, if you notice that your guinea pig is constantly sneezing and also has watery eyes accompanied by either coughing or labored breathing, it could be that your pet has allergies and should be seen by a veterinarian. 

Rumbling 

We previously discussed what it means when you hear your guinea pig purring, which will usually make a relatively deep sound. Even deeper than this sound though is the sound which comes when your guinea pig is rumbling. This is incredibly low and will come at a relatively slow pace, but this noise is made when a male is looking to mate. It can also be made by a female when she is in heat.

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