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Ok, so this appears to be quite a mystery. Me and my girlfriend have 2 Guinea Pigs, 1 male and 1 female.

My girlfriend once picked up the female one and took her outside into our garden. The Guinea got scared for some unknown reason and jumped out of my girlfriend's arms and fell down hard.. That night, the female Guinea woke us up with some very strange sounds. She sounded like a chirping bird.

Since then, she sometimes repeats these sounds (most often at night, but not always). Mostly, we are puzzled as to why as there is often no apparent reason for her sounds. Also, when she makes the sounds, she appears to be in a trance-like state, making no movements at all.

Looking for the answer online I found many discussions on the subject like this one or this one. Mostly, the sounds (and the often mentioned trance like behavior) appear to be interpreted as either (1) alarm sounds, (2) loneliness sounds or (3) happiness sounds.

There are also recordings of it one Youtube, like this one.

What I was wondering:

Does anybody know about some actual research that has been committed on this subject? If so, what were the results?

I'm just so very curious to find out!

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  • $\begingroup$ Today's night my guinea pig did the same chirping sound, as you explained early. I got really scared, i did not know what to do. I almost felt like his going to die. Then when i stept out of my bed, those chirping noises magicaly stoped. So i got to him, turned on the light, and i tried to make him calm. I got to bed, and after 2 minutes or so, i heared the same exact sound, repeating over and over again. It really sounds like a bird or fire alarm. Now i decided to move my guinea pig in my room, so if he does it, i could easely calm him down. Now i'll get some good sleep. By the way, as soon a $\endgroup$ – Xymanek Apr 23 '17 at 0:55
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I found this question very interesting so I did some research. Here's a brief summary of what I've found:

Researchers have found that there are 11 different call types. Some of these include a "sharp alarm cry", "sociable clucking", chutter, whining, purring etc. Using body position and behaviour, researchers attempted to associate these vocalizations with behaviour. Some vocalizations had no apparent associated action including what researchers designated the "chirrup" ( I think this is similar to what your guinea pig might have emitted.)

For more information you can read the results section of this paper by Berryman. You can find a full description of each of the 11 calls and their assumed cause or purpose. Some involve social interaction, reproduction, and distress. Much of the research regarding Guinea pig vocalization involves communication and response between mothers and pups.

In short, it seems as though this chirping behaviour your Guinea pig is exhibiting is normal, but not of any known cause.

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    $\begingroup$ Plus one and labeled as solved for the extensive reply and link to comitted research. Sadly though that they have not yet figured out it's cause, as I am almost sure the sound does indeed have a function.. almost all the sounds they make have a quite clear purpose, as you'll notice if you ever have them as pets. But with this sound, the entire behaviour changes (the trance thing). I even read somewhere that someone who had a chirping pig noticed how all her other pigs would group up and get into the trance state all together to become hyperactive afterwards.. mysterious sounds they remain... $\endgroup$ – Montmons Apr 20 '17 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, a lot of vocalization seems to involve communication with offspring. With your Guinea pig, it could be a misdirected maternal instinct. The paper I cited was from 1975, so it is possible that other researchers have suggested a reason or cause for the vocalization though I did quite an extensive search on scholar.google.com and couldn't find anything else! $\endgroup$ – hamilthj Apr 20 '17 at 15:41
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm, maybe there is also confusion on what sound should/could be labeled as a chirp with Guinea Pigs. In this more recent article (2013) the chirp is described as: Chirp is an isolated brief acoustic impulse with a harmonic structure accompanying the calming of an animal in comfortable conditions. But this does not at all seem similar to the singing bird like sounds that our own Guinea makes at night (and some others as well as I read on Internet forums) that sometimes can go on for up to 20 minutes or more.. $\endgroup$ – Montmons Apr 20 '17 at 17:52

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