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"Chirping" In Guinea Pigs

Updated on November 4, 2007
Some guinea pig females will sing like a bird...literally!
Some guinea pig females will sing like a bird...literally!

One day, I was in the living room watching television when I heard weird, piercing chirps from the guinea pig's room (my bedroom). I raced into hear ear-splitting cries that sounded exactly like a bird. I looked for the bird, but could not find one. It took a few minutes, but it finally sunk in that one of my female guinea pigs was making the incredible bird noises. It was Foot Foot sitting back and head raised, very still, chirping for all she was worth. The other guinea pigs were quiet and kept back from her. She kept this up for nearly an hour, and then went back to making more normal guinea pig noises.

What Was That?

One of the great things about living with animals is that you can never learn all there is to know about them. Each day brings up more questions to pursue answers to. One of these mysteries yet to be discovered is just why guinea pigs sometimes chirp or sing like a bird. It is not one of the usual guinea pig noises.

It literally sounds like CH-CH-CHIRP CHIRP! CH-CH-CHIRP CHIRP! Guinea pigs who do chirp seem to do it at different speeds, volume and length of "performance". This behavior only seems to happen to female guinea pigs (usually called sows), but only some of them. There have been a few males (called boars) reported to chirp. There is no predictable time when they chirp. It almost like a seizure of sound.

Not even the great guinea pig maestro Peter Gurney was ever able to figure this bit of guinea pig behavior out. Perhaps as guinea pigs live with more and more people and they share information more and more on the Internet, then maybe we can figure this out.

My Guinea Pig Chirps. What Can Be Done To Stop It?

So far, chirping does not seem to be any indication of poor health or even distress for a guinea pig. And when they start, there is no way of stopping them until they are done. When Foot Foot would chirp, it was as if she was in a kind of trance, very reminiscent to how people act when they are "speaking in tongues".

When Foot Foot would start chirping, sometimes she was so loud that I had to put her temporarily in another room just so I could get some sleep. She didn't complain about it. Although the sound can be annoying and unpredictable, it does eventually go away. All in all, chirping in guinea pigs is a minor inconvenient mystery at most.

Typical example of guinea pig chirping. Film by zoeperzazke.

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  • RenaSherwood profile image
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    RenaSherwood 9 years ago

    Thanks for the information, Sue! When FootFoot chirped, she faced anything and chirped in darkness or light. The mysteries of the gp mind!

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    Sue Harper 9 years ago

    One of my female guinea pigs is very verbal overall. She does chirp as well. However, If I enter the room and it is dark and I turn the light on she will stop. Also, if it is day and I come near her cage and pet her she will stop. One thing I have noticed is that when she is Chirping she faces another guinea pig, not the wall or a window.