Guinea Pigs are full of life and they display their happiness with a range of different sounds and actions. This guide will help you understand how to speak your piggies language and ensure they stay happy
When your guinea pig chaotically sprints up and down, it's known as Zoomies. An expression of happiness, joy, excitement or a way to burn off pent up energy, these sudden Frenetic Random Activity Periods (officially) is enough to make you coo in a frequency only audible to dolphins. Zoomies cannot be instigated in our little piggies by calling “Walkies” or by waving Pignip under their nose, like their dog and cat counterparts, but more space means more room for activities. Lots of space is essential for your guinea pigs home.
Without warning, your guinea pig may leap into the air like a bucking bronco, kicking, twisting and vibrating its body. You weren’t the first or last piggy owner to dive straight into panic mode scrambling for advice in googles search bar. Popcorning, in fact, is an expression of your piggy's pure joy and delight. Likened to the sudden unexpected and uncontrollable outburst of a heated corn kernel.
The wonderful thing about popcorning is its unpredictability. It may be the rustle of a salad bag or the scent of fresh hay, new toys, a new enclosure, a furniture re-arrangement, a fresh clean floor, some fun with their cage mate or just you! Popcorning is often seen amongst young piggies, although it's not unheard of for the aged and more often rotund piggy to be seen throwing their stubby little legs in the air, unsurprisingly much lower to the ground.
In the wild, guinea pigs are prey animals and it's thought the happy little popcorning dance may have evolved to show the herd they feel relaxed and safe. I have been around guinea pigs so long now I must admit sometimes I find myself popcorning at a bit of good news!
The car pulls up outside, the keys jingle in the door, the carrier bags rustle, the fridge opens, and every move is met with a chorus of squeaks from your piggies. Your guinea pigs have associated squeaking, known amongst the Guinea Pig community as 'Wheeking', with the sound of something they are eagerly anticipating.
They may be thinking, yum, a belly full of delicious salad, or looking forward to some love and attention from their favourite human. Perhaps they are hoping the return from your expedition will bring them new toys and hay to forage in their tray. The cutest thing about Wheeking is the Dumbo like flappy ears that accompany it. Sometimes I wonder if my piggies could take flight!
Deciphering guinea pig noises can be tricky, as many of them sound nearly identical to human ears. If your piggy is super relaxed and content, they may purr with happiness. The time and frequency of the happy purr are key. A happy purr is a long, constant, low-level sound. Consider your piggies' surroundings and body language at the time, a piggy nuzzled into their favourite fleece accessories with a relaxed and tension-free body is likely to be purring out of pleasure.
An alert and fidgety piggy making short, high-pitched purrs could be showing you discomfort. Sitting beside your piggies home whilst slowly stroking and scratching them, or petting them gently on your lap may lead to a blissful happy purr. Putting a pee pad or cuddle cup on your lap can help your piggy feel safe and comfortable!
Our little potatoes are social by nature and are happiest when living with other piggies. In the wild, they live in herds of ten or more. As pets, they are happy with at least one piggy companion. Guinea pigs are big conversationalists. Talk, talk, talk, all day long muttering to themselves or their piggy pals. A talky piggy is a happy piggy. Guinea pigs are also intelligent, inquisitive little creatures and are happy when kept busy and engaged with chews, balls, logs, tunnels, bridges and other interesting toys and playthings. Showing affection is another sign of happiness.
Toward you this may include eating food from your hand, letting you hold and pet them, nuzzling you, lightly nibbling and licking you. Toward their housemate, this may include sniffing, licking their ears, lying next to each other and talking. Don’t be concerned if your piggy takes time to warm up and develop a bond with you or their housemate. Slow and steady wins piggy partnership.