Hearing your guinea pig crying is one of the weirdest experiences for a pet owner. It certainly was for me, which led me to wonder and research what could be causing it.
So why do guinea pigs cry? According to experts, the common causes of crying guinea pigs are hunger, pain, stress, loneliness, and health problems (1).
But knowing these causes behind your guinea pig’s crying is only half the battle.
If you read on, you’ll learn how to identify and stop this behavior altogether!
- Guinea pigs cry to alert their owners about them being hungry, lonely, stressed, having a health problem, or being in pain.
- Owners will need to monitor the circumstances around the crying. It’ll provide a more in-depth into what’s causing the issue.
- The crying sound will often be in a low-frequency (grunt/whimper) or high-frequency screech. In most cases, screeching is a much more severe issue than grunting/whimpering.
5 Common Reasons For Guinea Pig’s Crying
Generally, a crying noise from your guinea pig indicates a problem with them. So owners will need to figure out what’s causing the issue.
As a result, I decided to have detailed discussions about the five common reasons why they cry. So let’s see whether one of them is what’s causing your cavy’s crying:
Cavies who are hungry don’t take too well. Sometimes, it’ll even cause them to let out a squeaking sound.
If you’re a more visual person, here’s a video showing a squeaking cavy. Honestly, I can’t lie it’s quite adorable.
As you can imagine, it’s an effective way of getting an owner’s attention. It’s worked for my cavy on more than one occasion.
Most owners need to realize that guinea pigs are known for having a fast metabolism. If they don’t, this screeching sound will become a frequent presence in their household.
So it’s essential to provide them with a constant supply of hay and vegetables throughout the day. Otherwise, you could face some consequences.
Checking if hunger is the issue is simple, too. It only requires a quick look at your cavy’s tummy.
If everything is normal, it’ll be plump and face outward. But a hungry guinea pig’s belly will be caving inward.
Wild guinea pigs are known for being prey to many animals. So it makes complete sense that they may cry when seeing a predator, such as a hawk, owl, or dog.
Cage placement is an easy way to deal with this issue. For instance, I couldn’t figure out why my cavy was crying recently.
Finally, it became clear that locating him near a window was a bad idea. It allowed him to see these predators, which caused him stress and to cry.
So I placed him in a more comfortable and protected area. I haven’t heard a single cry since from him.
Of course, predators aren’t the only thing to cause cavy’s stress. Another common reason is staying in their cage for a prolonged period.
I’d recommend letting them out of the cage and roam freely. If too much cage time is the issue, it should stop their crying.
Cavies are not an animal known for enjoying their solitude. In fact, our furballs are considered herd animals.
So your cavy won’t love being left by themselves for extended periods. Wild cavies even stay in a “group of guinea pigs” for safety and protection from predators (2).
As a result, only having a single cavy can cause them to cry out, looking for companionship. It’s a way of telling their owners that they need a friend.
Sadly, I learned that even giving them all the attention in the world isn’t an acceptable substitute for another cavy. So the easiest way to solve this issue is to get a second (3).
4. Health Problems
Every species on this earth will have some health problems during their lifetime. Unfortunately, it’s no different for cavies.
If you notice they are crying, they may suffer from a health issue. For example, a common condition among cavies is watery eyes caused by a bedding allergy.
One typical response from cavies with watery eyes is unleashing a crying sound. If that’s the case, I’d suggest getting new bedding so they can be comfortable.
Another thing to look out for is tear stains under their eyes. It’s a classic indication of a sick or injured cavy.
If they are sick, cavies will usually stay still at the exact location for a long time. If you notice this, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian for further examination.
Cavies tend to get hurt when playing with each other. If the pain is severe enough, crying will quickly become an issue.
Owners who suspect an injury should check their cavy’s entire body for cuts and bruises. It should be easy to locate the issue during these checks.
You can apply marigold ointment to the wound if you see cuts in the skin. I use it every single time when one of my cavies hurts themselves or each other.
It’s a godsend because it helps heal the cut and prevent further infection.
What Does a Guinea Pig’s Cry Sound Like?
Guinea pigs are capable of making different crying sounds. Therefore, it can be difficult to determine each sound’s meaning.
It also doesn’t help that guinea pigs can produce both low and high-frequency crying sounds. So it’s easy to see where the difficulty stems from for owners.
But in most cases, the low-frequency sounds are grunt and whimper. The high-frequency sound will be a sharp pitch screech.
In any case, you should monitor each sound when they happen because each guinea pig is different. For instance, one cavy may use a grunt to prove dominance.
But another may use this grunt to indicate they’re lonely or hungry. Therefore, it’s best to keep an eye out for the guinea pig sounds every time they cry and see.
Do Guinea Pigs Have Tears When Crying?
Guinea pigs don’t have any physical tears when they cry. So even though they are tear ducts, tears won’t come out when crying. Instead, guinea pigs cry by making loud noises.
But it doesn’t mean guinea pigs don’t have tear ducts. Instead, their tear ducts help them drain excess tears from their eyes.
It also keeps their eyes moist since guinea pigs don’t blink too often. It’s vital to helping a guinea pig’s vision function correctly.
Furthermore, their tear duct serves another purpose. It’ll ooze white discharge or fluids when it’s time for grooming. Your cavy will use it to groom their furs throughout their body.
Do Guinea Pigs Cry For Attention?
Guinea pigs are intelligent and cry for attention when they need something. But, most of the time, it will be food.
If they see you walking around their cage, they may start crying to tell you that they want food.
So if you hear them making some wheeking sounds, give them a fresh cup of vegetables or a treat for them to eat. After you give them some food, they will stop crying.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Cry At Night?
If you notice they are crying, it’ll often be something in the house that’s frightening them. For example, it could be a pet cat or dog near them.
Cats and dogs are curious and like to check things out. At night, they may sleep near the guinea pig’s cage, which causes them to be scared.
The easiest solution would be to remove the other pets. Then, if they stop crying, you’ve found your answer.
Another reason could be that they are hungry. If the guinea pigs don’t have enough to eat during the day, they will get hungry at night.
Proceed to check their belly to see if it’s caved in. If so, place some food into their cage for them to eat.
Aside from these reasons, it’s not typical behavior. It shouldn’t be happening because cavies are diurnal, meaning they’re active “during the day rather than at night” (4).
So your cavy should be sleeping at night without making a sound.
Don’t forget to check or guide on other facts about guinea pigs.
What are happy guinea pig noises?
Purring can be a sign of a guinea pig expressing happiness. But it’s not always a happy sound, as it can demonstrate anger. The difference lies in the sound’s highness (angry) or lowness (satisfied).
How can you tell if a guinea pig is unhappy?
An unhappy guinea pig will express themselves in several unusual ways. For instance, if he’s stressed, it could be an aggressive behavior like head-tossing. Meanwhile, a depressed cavy will lack energy and have terrible body language.
So why do guinea pigs cry? It’s usually about getting their owner’s attention about them being hungry, stressed, lonely, suffering from a health problem, or experiencing pain.
In most cases, owners can figure it out from the circumstances around their cavy’s crying. But if they can’t, it’s time to schedule a vet visit.
So, did you find the guide helpful? Let me know in the comments section!
- 1. Jones L. Sounds of Guinea Pigs [Internet]. www.petmd.com. 2022. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/exotic/sounds-guinea-pigs
- 2. Guinea pig [Internet]. Smithsonian’s National Zoo. 2019. Available from: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/guinea-pig
- 3. Are Guinea Pigs Good “Starter Pets” for Kids? No. | PETA [Internet]. PETA. 2018. Available from: https://www.peta.org/features/guinea-pigs-starter-pets-kids/
- 4. Cambridge Dictionary. diurnal [Internet]. @CambridgeWords. 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 22]. Available from: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/diurnal
My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! As far as my animals, I have a Pit-bull, a Beagle-lab mix, a Chihuahua, and one old cat. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed.
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