Why Do Guinea Pigs Chatter Their Teeth?

Your guinea pig relies on body language and various sounds to communicate with you and other guinea pigs. 

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 of things that could be the explanation for this behavior.

So it makes sense that owners need to be aware of what every behavior means, and chattering teeth in guinea pigs is no different. 

What does a guinea pig’s teeth chattering mean?

You may have heard your guinea pigs chatter their teeth together. They may also make a whining noise together with the rapid clicking of their teeth.

Your first instinct might be to wonder if your pet is cold. When humans are very cold, we shiver and our teeth chatter involuntarily.

That’s not the case with guinea pigs, however. The sound of their teeth chattering is meant as a warning to others around them.

Agitation signals. When guinea pig starts chattering their teeth, it usually means that they are angry or annoyed. They’ll often do it when meeting a new guinea pig. The chattering notifies other guinea pigs to respect their territory and stay at a distance. Chattering can be a precursor to two guinea pigs fighting. If you hear that noise, it’s a good idea to separate your pets.

Upset or intimidated. Guinea pigs might also chatter their teeth if they’re upset at or intimidated by something that their human is doing. Your pet might chatter with their teeth if you’re doing something they don’t like, such as trimming their nails. They might start chattering while you’re holding them to tell you that they are ready to go back into their cage. A mother guinea pig might do it defensively if you get too close to her babies.

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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.