Why is my guinea pig purring? (Causes & What you can do about it)

Why is my guinea pig purring

A guinea pig’s purr can be described as a noise similar to a cat. If you hear such sound for the first time, you might get amused or confused about where it is coming from. No one is certain exactly why guinea pigs purr & most people just keep wondering why is my guinea pig purring? Not anymore! I did brief research about it, and here is what I learned.

Guinea pigs may purr out of happiness, fear, or out of annoyance as well. While a profoundly relaxed purr means your guinea pig is content or happy, a higher-pitched purr(more like a growl) is a sign of annoyance. A short purr accompanied by a still(motionless) guinea pig does signify fear or anxiety.

If your guinea pig is purring out of happiness, you shouldn’t be much concerned about it.

While a higher-pitched purr should definitely raise your alarms, let us learn more about it in detail.

Before you read any further I would request you to read our guide on What noises do guinea pigs make and how loud are they. This guide will help you in better understanding your guinea pig’s behavior.

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What does it mean when my guinea pig purrs?

Your guinea pigs might not speak humans language, but they do communicate by making a variety of vocal noises.

Guinea Pig Noises & What They Mean

Purring is one of the sounds they make regularly. The purring noise can have a different purpose at different times.

If your guinea pig is purring and feeling relaxed and calm, then it means they are happy.

On the other hand, if your guinea pig is stressed out and purring, then it is a sign of annoyance.

Sometimes guinea pigs do purr when they are scared of something, so; you might need to keep an eye on them to find out the actual cause.

What else makes guinea pigs purr?

Apart from happiness and annoyance, there can be more to purring noises that guinea pigs make regularly.

Watching their body language and expression can help you understand the reason behind even better.

I have tried listing some of the common signs that many guinea pigs owners notice and often ask in the community. So, let’s have a closer look at them.

Guinea pig purr and walk slowly

The slow-moving followed with a purr is usually the beginning of dominance behavior in guinea pigs.

It is what we called rumble strutting, where guinea pigs generally vibrate like a phone, make some purring and rumbling noise, and then make some specific movement.

It is also a part of the mating call and dominance behavior as well. When one guinea pigs want to prove that he is the boss in the enclosure, they get into a faceoff and vocal confrontation where the guinea pigs usually make such noises.

You can learn in detail about guinea pig dominance behavior from our guide on it: Guinea pig dominance(Signs and behavior).

Guinea pig purr when I pet him

Some guinea pigs enjoy getting petted and cuddly while others don’t. If your guinea pig is the one that likes being petted, then they will stretch out, relax, and make a mild purring noise.

Guinea pigs purring happy

However, if your guinea pigs don’t enjoy being petted or are annoyed when you stroke them at the wrong spot, you might hear a loud and aggressive purr noise.

Such type of sound means its time to let them go back into their cage, and you must stop petting them unless you want them to bite you.

I have also written a complete guide on Are guinea pigs cuddly? How to make a close bond with them. I think you should definitely check this out.

Guinea pig purring while eating

Guinea pigs purring while eating can be because of two reasons. Either they are pleased that they got their favorite treat or they are annoyed and angry that some other guinea pig took their favorite spot of eating or their part of the food.

In either case, there is hardly you can do anything about it. You might want to throw another piece of food/treat for your angry guinea pigs just to calm them down if they get too aggressive.

Did you know there are over 60+ fruits that you can offer to your guinea pigs as a treat? You can learn more about fruits for guinea pigs along with serving size and hazards from our guide.

Guinea pigs purring at each other

Guinea pigs purring at each other is a part of their communication, usually at the beginning of dominance behavior or when one guinea pig is annoyed by some act of the others.

Some female guinea pigs also purr and get aggressive when they are at heat; there is no need for your interruption unless they are fighting.

Experts suggest watching them closely and stop them if they get too aggressive else let them do their thing, it is entirely natural for them.

Guinea pig purring and shaking

Shaking or vibrating is usually accompanied by purring either when your guinea pig is happy about something, or they are frightened by something.

Say, If your guinea pig enjoys being petted by you and you have them in your lap petting them, then they might make a mild purring noise along with vibrating, which signifies they are happy.

However, if something is stressing your guinea pig out like some predators around or a loud noise or something similar, then they might shake and purr out of fear.

Usually, they also become motionless or run to the hiding if they are frightened of something happening around.

Guinea pigs sometimes shake out of cold and other reasons as well. To learn more refer our article on: Why is my guinea pigs shaking?

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What to do when your guinea pig purrs

It totally depends upon why is your guinea pig purring. If your guinea pig is purring out of happiness, there is nothing to be concerned about.

However, a stressful purr should definitely raise your alarm bell. If your guinea is annoyed by something and you are aware of the reason, try to eliminate the same.

For example: If your guinea pig is annoyed because your neighbor is not handling them properly or petting them at the wrong spot, you might want to move them away from your guinea pig.

Sometimes, guinea pigs also purr when they are stressed out. Say you have a cat as well as a guinea pig, and your cat has sneaked into your guinea pig’s room without you noticing them. Then your guinea pigs might have got frightened with such unforeseen circumstances and may purr rather loudly to call for help.

In such a scenario getting your cat away and sitting beside your guinea pigs cage and talking to them can help in keeping them calm.

Now the situation might be different in your case, but I think you got the point.

  • Analyze the reason for purring
  • Eliminate the reason if possible or necessary
  • Calm down your guinea pig by talking to them or offering a treat.

Conclusion: Is guinea pig purring good or bad?

It is definitely a tough call to take whether the purring sound your guinea pig is making is good or bad.

You might need to look at the expression accompanied by the purr. If your guinea pig is relaxed and making the purring noise, then it means they are happy. However, if they are stressed and making a loud purring noise, then it means they are annoyed.

You might want to look out for further signs and behavior changes to determine whether your guinea pig is purring out of happiness or something is wrong about it.

You might want to take action if your guinea pig is purring out of fear or annoyance, else you can leave them without any concerns.


Sources: Guinea‐pig Vocalizations, Representation of the purring call in the guinea pig, Understanding Your Pet Guinea Pig, Guinea Pig Sounds

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Saurav

Hello, I am Saurav the founder of this blog that's all about guinea pigs. I am an Animal Nutritionist by education but a pet blogger by profession. My motto with this blog is to help guinea pig owners understand their pets better so they can provide them with the life they deserve.

Medical Disclaimer
Our site intends to provide you with the most accurate and updated information about guinea pigs.
However, our site doesn’t provide you with any medical advice for your guinea pigs. For any medical assistance and advice, it is recommended to consult a licensed veterinarian.
You can refer to our Medical Disclaimer page for more information.

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