Saturday, July 14, 2012

I Have a Chirper

For the first time, since Athena, I have a chirper.

Eclair, my first chirper
For those of you unfamiliar with guinea pigs, they can make a sound that is sometimes described as a twittering bird.  I think it sounds more like a squeaky fan belt or an alarmed chipmunk.  In my experience, their favorite time to make this sound is at 3 am.  I mistook Eclair's chirping, when I first heard it, as the refrigerator dying.  I'd stumble out of bed in the middle of the night to see what was the matter, and by the time I got to the kitchen, it would stop.  It took several nights of this before I had the inkling it wasn't a mechanical sound.  I found it odd that it always stopped the minute I stepped on a creaky floor board.  The next time it happened, I tip-toed down the stairs towards the kitchen to find Eclair chirping away.  Rotten rodent.

I've heard similar stories from others, who were awakened in the middle of the night, envisioning various mechanical failures, only to discover a smug guinea pig serenading their cagemates.

And some of you wonder why I keep a stew pot on hand.

Anyway - chirping is uncommon. Out of the fourteen pigs I've had, I've had only three confirmed chirpers.  In the guinea pig community, having a chirper is something to brag about.  I mean, there has to be some upside to being awakened to strange sounds.  And no one really knows why they do it.  There are tons of theories; my favorite is that they're contacting the Mother Ship.  It makes as much sense as anything else.

Pinni, my new chirper?
On Wednesday night, I was hanging out with a friend in the living room when I thought I heard chirping.  She must have thought I had lost it when I suddenly sat upright, and then very carefully slid off the couch and tip-toed out of the room.  I managed to peek into the pig room before the chirping stopped.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a clear view of the pigs in the cage.  Bertie was entirely out of sight, up against the coroplast, and Pinni was under the hammock.  However, the hammock was twitching in time with the chirping, so I'm fairly confident she's my culprit.

Why has she started now?  Who knows.  Bertie has been acting strangely the last day or two.  Pinni hasn't been as bratty.  Maybe it's just time to report in to the Mother Ship?


  1. I LOVE THIS POST!!!!!!!! Our Bartley has never chirped, he is only 2 so maybe , maybe not!

  2. My girl, Twyla, the mother of us all, once chirped. For one spell only. Serenading her kids who surrounded her? It's a piggie mystery. Thanks for sharing.
    Patricia, Houdini, Twyla, Muttonchops, Crazybaby and Frito

  3. Cloud was my chirper. She's been dead almost three years now. I've had over a dozen guinea pigs and that's my only one. She tended to do it during the household "naptime" while everything was going calm around the place.

  4. My piggie-Chess, chirped one time, the night before she had her babies. It scared to half to death. She woke me carrying on like a squeaky fan belt and I had no idea what was going on. It was never a noise I had heard before. I got her out and checked her everywhere, cuddled her a bit and then put her up. She started up again and did it for about two minutes, yawned and went to bed. The next morning there were three babies under her. Was it pain from early labor? Was it letting me know the babies were coming? I have no idea. It's been six months and she has never done it again. I don't miss it, I much prefer purring. That chirping scared me! Jaxx

  5. I also have a chirper but can't figure out who it is, they stop as soon as they hear me nearby. And always in the middle of the night!

  6. I have had several chirpers over the years. To me it sounds like a bird.

  7. My Fuzzbur chirped once. It took me several minutes to realize that it wasn't just some noise from a cartoon that was on TV. He chirped for about five minutes while I watched from the door. It sounded a bit like a loud bird to me. It was in the middle of the afternoon, when I am usually at work, so I don't know if he has done it other times.


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