Why Do Guinea Pigs Chatter Their Teeth?

Guinea pigs chatter their teeth when they want to communicate something to those around them.

Since humans ordinarily make the teeth-chattering sound when cold, they assume their piggy pals do it for the same reason. But that’s not the case.

Cavies use their teeth to give a message.

Guinea Pigs Chattering Their Teeth

If you are a new piggy parent, the chances are you must still be in the phase of discovering your pet’s quirks.

These would include licking, nipping (in come case biting) and squeaking among many other hard-to-decipher behaviors for a first-time guinea pig owner.

If you haven’t had much time with your bun-bun yet, you might not have come across them chattering their teeth yet.

But rest assured, you will encounter it at some point in time. Therefore, it’s advisable to learn what the seemingly-peculiar act means so that you don’t panic when you actually witness it.

While there could be a bunch of reasons behind the sounds a guinea pig makes, chattering of teeth can mean one of two things

An Irritated Cavy

Since guinea pigs do not have a language, they use multiple sounds to interact with one another and their humans.

If you come across your little fur ball clacking their teeth together repetitively, know that they are irked.

Normally, they would do so to tell fellow guinea pigs (if they have any) to stay away and give them space.

That’s right! As surprising as it may seem, the oh-so-friendly and social cavies can get annoyed, so much so that they would tell their cage mates to back off!

It must also be noted that guinea pigs have a hierarchal system within groups. They have had it since their origin.

This means they tend to have a leader, whom everyone else has to respect.

So, if you have a bunch of guinea pigs, the one with established supremacy may chatter its teeth to notify others that they need to behave.

That said, sometimes, the clickety-clackety of teeth may not be coming from the leader, particularly if your pets haven’t established a hierarchy.

If that happens to be the case, then chattering teeth can mean that a cavy is clearly disgruntled and may be getting riled up because of someone less.

Let’s say you only have 2 cavies, then they are unlikely to establish dominance over each other.

You hear one of them smacking its teeth together, now you cannot understand what the matter is. There could be two possibilities.

  1. Your fur family member is simply upset, may be because they are hungry or hurt. This means the other one has nothing to do with the first one’s irritable mood.
  2. If the first scenario doesn’t fit, then the chattering sound would mean that your two fur babies are about to get in a fight so it’s best for you to intervene.

It may come as a shock to you, guinea pigs know how to throw a punch or two and once they get aggressive they will not shy away from getting violent.

Of course, since guinea pigs are naturally small, they may not cause significant damage but for a fellow guinea pig they can become dangerous.

Simply put, if you hear your otherwise adorable little fellow snapping their teeth together, know that they are irritated and you must separate your pets for a while.

How To Know Why Your Guinea Pig Is Irritated?

If you find your fur baby worked up through the chattering of their teeth, try giving them some food and water. If they are hangry they should stop making the sound.

However, if that doesn’t work, console your furry pal and perhaps hug them. Sometimes affection can go a long way in pacifying a vexed cavy.

When none of your efforts work, you should leave your guinea pig alone and take away the other one someplace else.

A few minutes alone will most likely cool down your irritated pet.

An Angry Guinea Pig

If you only have one cavy companion and you hear them chattering their teeth, the odds are that you are the reason.

Although that may not always be the case and sometimes your fur ball friend may simply not feeling well, owners can rile up their piggy pets.

There are many ways you can do that, even if unknowingly.

One of the most common human actions that piggy pals don’t appreciate is nail trimming.

Sure, it’s an integral part of your bud’s grooming routine and you can’t skip it.

But know that when doing it, you may hear the sound of cavy teeth smacking together.

Since nail trimming is essential, here is how you can do it without upsetting your bud

  • Get another family member to wrap your little bum-bum in a comfy blanket and hold them such that they don’t face you while you cut their nails.
  • Try to trim your pet’s nails after shower as the water will have softened your little one’s talons.
  • Give a chew toy or ball to your pet to chomp on so that they can stay distracted while their grooming is in session.
  • Put up something on the TV or play calming music

The most important of all guinea nail trimming tips is to start your pet’s grooming session when it’s a few months old.

Doing so will familiarize your fur ball with the process and they will not get upset when you do it every month or so.

With all that said, even after trying everything your piggy pal remains uncooperative and chatters their chompers, let them be mad for a bit because grooming comes first.

Another common reason behind a piggy pal’s teeth chattering is getting handled. Most cavy companions hate nothing more than being picked up against their will even to be petted.

If your fuzzy bud is new to the family, they are most likely to get angry when held and start snapping their teeth.

They may not always be mad at you for holding them, sometimes they may feel scared and start chattering their teeth.

So, until you have won your bud’s trust, it’s best not to pick them up. And even after they have become well acquainted with you, try not to hold them unless they ask for it, which they will.

Just like anger and irritation, guinea pigs know how to notify humans when they need love.

If your bun-bun wants to be showered in love, they will lick you and stay close to you to tell you that you should pick them up.

If you have a mother piggy with kids, she may chatter her teeth if you get too close to her little ones. Like all mothers, piggy mamas are possessive about their offspring.

You cannot come close to a mama guinea’s children on her watch. Even if she doesn’t attack you, she will convey her disapproval through chattering her teeth.

As mentioned earlier, guinea pigs have many sounds to communicate. Besides, the chattering of teeth, here are some common cavy noises.


Mostly only associated with cats, purring can also be seen among guinea pigs. However, the reason behind a guinea purring may be different than that of a cat.

Guinea pigs’ purr normally tells that they are content and comfortable. But sometimes they might do it to show that they are upset.


Wheeking can be defined as a series of high-pitched noises that cavies make to ask for food.

Wheeking is done as a show of excitement. You will typically hear it when taking food or treats to your pet. But sometimes you may hear it when your buddy is hungry and wants food.

Either way, know that wheeking means it’s time to give your little bun-bun something to gobble down.


Rumbling sounds don’t have anything to do with humans. They are an announcement of sorts that two guineas are about to get busy.

Simply put, the rumbling is a precursor to mating.

It is more often than not accompanied by a peculiar style of strutting. Strutting is used by guinea pigs to attract partners to mate.

If you don’t have two guinea pigs, you shouldn’t hear any rumbling sounds.


Squeaking may at times resemble wheeking but the two have different causes.

While wheeking mostly indicates happiness and excitement, squeaking indicates pain or alarm. If your cavy companion is in pain, they will squeak, make high-pitched sound.

But these noises may also sometimes come across a little raspy, which should be a clear indication of suffering.

Ending Note

If you still cannot understand any of your cavy companion’s sounds, you should consult your vet immediately.

If not, you might miss out on an essential clue about your little one’s well-being and put their health at risk.

Therefore, reach out to your veterinarian whenever you cannot understand your piggy pal’s shrieks, squeals, and cries.  

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