You may have noticed this behavior in your guinea pig, and you might be wondering to yourself: What does a guinea pig’s teeth chattering mean? There are a couple things that could be the explanation for this behavior!
We also have a blog post on guinea pig sounds and their meanings in general if you’d like to check it out here.
What does a guinea pig's teeth chattering mean?
In general, guinea pigs are constantly maintaining their teeth by eating and chewing on their toys and hideys, and chewing basically anything that is in their living environment that they can get their hands (paws) on. To learn more about guinea pig teeth and the kind of care they require, you can read this blog post here for more information.
However, they also use their little chompers for some communication to not only their fellow guinea pig friends, but to their human friends! What does teeth chattering sound like? It can sound like a series of rapid and short squeaks, or little “tick-tick-tick” sounds.
Teeth chattering can occur when your guinea pig is angry, unhappy, or agitated at a situation that is occurring. These sounds can also be made as a form of displaying a guinea pig’s dominance.
This vocalization generally happens right before a fight between guinea pigs who don’t get along, or when they’re generally unhappy. If this occurs, you should separate the guinea pigs to prevent any kind of fighting from occurring and give them time to calm down until they stop.
Guinea pig teeth chattering can also serve as a warning sign to other guinea pigs that they’re not wanting to have their space or territory invaded.
Teeth chattering can most commonly occur when you’re introducing guinea pigs to each other. This is why it’s important to go about this process very carefully, as these guinea pigs will need to live together, and it’s important for them to get along in order to thrive! For a more detailed reading on how to introduce guinea pigs to each other, check out this blog post.
Sometimes, if there’s no new guinea pig getting introduced, and there are no territorial issues between the existing guinea pigs in the cage, there might be a chance that you are the problem.
The chattering might be occurring during your piggy grooming routine, whether it’s during nail clipping or hair brushing. If this is the case, you should return your guinea pig to the cage and let them take a break from the grooming activities and calm down!
Chattering might also occur if a mama guinea pig has just had some babies! If the guinea pig is chattering their teeth at you, they might just be on the defense since they have baby guinea pigs around. We wouldn’t take it too personally, and recommend giving her and her babies some space!
For more information on how to care for newborn guinea pigs and their mothers, check out this blog for more information.
So what should you ultimately do if your guinea pig is chattering their teeth?
Your best bet is to try and determine the cause of the irritation and discomfort that is making your guinea pig feel the need to display this behavior!
Whether it’s another guinea pig that is annoying them or there are some territorial issues going on between some new guinea pigs, or if they simply don’t want to continue their nail cutting session, it’s best to give them a break and give them the space they need to calm down and be comfortable again.