Cavy/Human Communication

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It started with Louie...

Post   » Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:21 pm

I always know when Louie is sicker than he looks because he won't lick my finger when I go to pet him. He usually loves to give piggie kisses and when he denies to do so, I know something is wrong.

Louie tells me he has to pee when he gets very squirrely while sitting on my lap or sleeping with me. He let's me know when he needs to go back to his cage to do his thing.

I can't really explain it but I can tell if he is content or mad just by the look in his eyes and the way he holds his head.

Huey, I have no idea what he says because he is such a spaz and Chewie is always content with anything I do, even clipping his nails so he's hard to read, too.

But Louie just has that personality that you can read well. He is a smart pig and will let you know it.


Post   » Sun Jan 09, 2005 2:57 pm

Pigs can be very manipulative. Bliss(a skinny) knew full well she had had her critter berry ration for the day since I kept telling her "no, go home" and shoving her out of the way with my foot. Still she kept harassing me by begging and putting her paws on my feet to get my attention. Finally she went back to the condo in the kitchen but promptly returned with Gretchen(another skinny) in tow. They made a beeline for me and Bliss hung back so Gretchen could do the begging.

Bliss knows if one pig gets a treat, anyone at my feet gets one too. I am pretty sure her intent was to use Gretchen to get a treat. I am also sure the only reason she went to the condo was to get Gretchen so she could use her.

However, Gretchen had been out earlier in the day and received her treat ration, so they were both told to "no, go home" and shoved out of the way with my foot.

This is more manipulation than communication but she had to have had the "rules" communicated to her in order to plot to get around them.

I've noticed both of the young skinnies(one year old and 14 months old)are incredibly outgoing and intelligent. Heart the older skinny (who has seen bad times) is shy and prefers to stay in the safety of the condo so it's hard to get a measure of her intelligence or communication skills.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:56 pm

It seems to me communication can happen overnight. When I've gotten new pigs they are stand offish or distant for a very long time then in the blink of an eye they admit to knowing you and it all changes. It hasn't seemed very gradual.

The only exception to this was Mickey who was on his own in a park. He was apprecitive from the very beginning. He will actually sleep out in the open. Wooly too. She was sick from a petstore. Maybe the sick ones know they've received a second chance.


Post   » Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:33 pm

Thy're all so different... A female piggy (Beast) I had a long time ago was a very affectionate creature and liked everyone, as long as it was an animal. She lived with a very small kitten (almost half her size) and practically mothered it. The kitten and she were both pretty upset when we separated them, just in case.

Winnipeg is more of a "leave me alone, I've got food to eat" type, but she is very smart-- recognises me after a long absence, let me play with her babies (knowing that I won't hurt them) and can be very sweet if she senses that I need it.

Batman... He's the most physically affectionate little swine I've ever seen. Perhaps because he hasn't been touched much earlier in life (I've only met him recently, after he knocked up Winnipeg), he loves human company and actually asks for it.

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Post   » Wed Feb 02, 2005 12:58 pm

My little guys never cease to amaze me. I know pigs are generally thought to be simpleminded critters, but I have my doubts about that. I suspect they know far more than they let on.

Pipkin (my black and gray agouti abby) is by far my most interactive and vocal pig. He's a "blooper"--walks around saying "bloop bloop bloop" very softly when he's happy. He's my "inspector," who insists on checking out everything I do to the cage WHILE I'M DOING IT. Often have to brush a piggie nose aside while I'm sweeping up in the morning, to which he answers, "bloop bloop bloop." He also growls (r-rr-rrr-rr-rr) and purrs (cr-r-cr--rrrr)when he's being petted--they sound very similar and the difference is often just body language. Finally, Pipkin is low man on my three-boar totem pole, so he's got whining down pat. Squirrel walks up to him to remind Pip who's boss, and there it is...whine, whine, whine! It's a high-pitched squeaking but very low in volume, and quite sustained, as though he's saying, "I know I'm nothing! Don't hurt me!"

Squirrel is usually content to go away after a few whines, but occasionally, if he gives a tiny nip to remind everybody who's boss, Pip will give a louder, indignant squeak that ends on a decided down note (think, "Well, I NEVER!") and then popcorns away in what I've come to call the "Pi**y pop." It's not a happy popcorn--it's an annoyed popcorn. The boys do it only when they're arguing--I'm holding out on them, cleaning rather than giving them veggies, for instance. It looks different than a real popcorn, but it's definitely a hop up into the air and a wriggle.

Has anybody else noticed the Pi**y Pop?

Squirrel, my blonde American, is my designated wheeker--an ear-splitter. He's also the dominant pig, although that took several months to sort out (also a separation from the other two for a few months). He's not terribly vocal other than begging, but he's expressive with body language and eyes. He's the most comfortable laptime snuggler--will settle in, hunker down, and yawn in my lap. Neither Pipkin nor Scootch do that.

Finally, Scootch has never liked me. :-( He's a gorgeous tricolor satin, and I got him at age 4 weeks, which one would think is plenty early enough to bond. But no. He initially bonded with the male in my household at the time, and that pattern continues to this day. In fact, despite the fact that I am Veggie Woman, Scootch runs every time he sees me. And if my fiance is holding him (something he tolerates) and I come anywhere near, he starts up with whining! As though he's afraid I'm going to eviscerate him right there on the futon. Silly pig. If I back off, the whining stops.

You'd think I abused him! Harrumph.

I love my boys to death and learning to communicate with them has been immensely rewarding.

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Power to the Pigs

Post   » Mon Feb 07, 2005 8:09 pm

I have only ever had 2 pigs but they are so different from each other.

Orvis is a big talker, he talks to himself all the time as he walks around the cage, 'whenk-whenk-whenk-whenk-whenk' all day long. When you pick him up, he wants to tell you everything Nibbles did recently. So he says 'whenk-whenk-whenk-whenk' while you are holding him and you say "Is that what Nibbles did? Then what did he do?" so he knows you are paying attention. He purrs when you scratch behind his ears and the top of his nose.

Nibbles 'WHEEEEKS' as loud as he can every time he hears plastic, and then he chatters his teeth when you do something he doesn't like. That's pretty much it. He's kind of a scaredy pig. He freezes if scared, where Orvis is bossy and pushy and just head butts his way around.


Post   » Tue Feb 08, 2005 11:19 am

Theres Bob - who is the noisiest and who has the keenest hearing , if anything is remotely on offer hes up at the bars grabbing hold with his front paws and wheeking. Even if its just putting the bin bags out

Mr scruffy is altogether I different piggy he is the strong silent type and only makes one noise which is similar to a moped , a put put noise while doing a slow raindance with his back paws. This behavior baffles me but is really funny to watch. He has never wheek in his life but does stare at you intently

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I gave AGAIN, dammit!

Post   » Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:59 am

A few days ago, I was cage cleaning. I cleaned the top level of the cage first, and tried to tempt the pigs up to it with some fresh veggies, to get them away from the lower level. They could smell the veggies, and I kept tapping the bowls and saying 'Veggies!', but because veggies are always usually given to them 'downstairs', they wouldn't go up. They didn't understand where the veggies could be. I picked them up and put them on the top level.

Blackberry picked up some lettuce and started munching, but Pepper just looked at the veggies, nosed at them but didn't pick any up, looked at me, ran down the ramp and started wheeking her head off, looking at me all the while. Blackberry stopped eating, followed Pepper down, and joined in, loudly.

I kept telling them 'Veggies! Go upstairs!', but they wouldn't budge or quieten down until the bowls had been moved to the lower level, in the proper place. I'm pretty sure I was interpreting what they meant, and I felt like it was the first time I'd really understood them trying to tell me something more complex than just 'Food, please!'. Fussy pigs.

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Post   » Wed Feb 09, 2005 11:12 am

That is quite amusing. You are nicer than me - I would have just locked them up there with the veggies so I could finish cleaning. ;~)

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I gave AGAIN, dammit!

Post   » Thu Feb 10, 2005 4:49 am

It was an excuse for me to take a break!

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skooters mommy

Post   » Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:37 am

My Skooter (RIP 2/4/05) always purred when he was showing me affection. He also purred to thank me for whatever I just did for him, whether it was feeding him or taking him out of his cage to give him floor time. This was his way to show his appreciation.

He also wheeked very loud when he wanted food! Sometimes in the morning he would actually wake me up because he knew it was time to eat. He was definitely on a schedule and knew exactly when it was time for different things--morning feeding, hay, afternoon feeding, lettuce. His stomach had an alarm!

I miss you Skooter.


Post   » Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:26 pm

One day I was sitting in my recliner and I saw a small shadow come down the hall, slowely. Its scared me, but it was Reece, he somehow pushed the door open. But he came right to me and stood up on his hind legs. They love to hear my voice and then start begging. Once I let him and Tusk out and they follwed me to the kitchen wheeking. I opened the fridge and they waited paitently for a treat.

My son and Reece are like brothers. My son plays video games and takes the boys out and puts them on his bed. He sits on the floor and leans on the bed, Reece comes to him and sits on his shoulder. Sometimes slides down my sons stomach, and seems to want to do it again, like a slide.

My Ella is lonely,she needs a friend. I let her call the boys names, but shes not allowed near them because their not fixed. Its funny though, if they talk to her she screams loudley, its funny, like there picking on her. Its a different wheek then her normal, when the boys are harrassing her.


Post   » Mon Feb 14, 2005 9:54 pm

i just need to tell anyone such a funny thing that just happened. I decided to put my daughters little squirrel beanie baby in with my piggies, and my big strong boy seen it wheecked so loud and ran so fast down the ramp, it so soooooooooocute!

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Post   » Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:23 pm

My little (actually big - 3 pounds) Peanut is the designated wheeker when it is time for veggies. Once she hears the bag, she is the loudest and most persistent with the wheeking. The other two just chime in as background singers.

Sparkle really really truly honestly does communicate with me 100%. I don't care what anyone says or thinks, I KNOW what she is trying to tell me. There is such a strong connection between myself and Sparkle even my daughter is baffled by it. Sparkle will stand at the side of the cage and wheek non-stop to let me know something is wrong. When Pinky was ill (and has now since passed away) Sparkle was the one that stood at the side of the cage to let me know Pinky was sick. When I went to the cage to see what Sparkle was making the fuss about, she ran to Pinky's side (who was lying down and not moving) and stood there and looked at me as if to tell me to save her. Sparkle also stands at the side of the cage and wheeks when a pellet bowl is almost empty or the hay is almost empty. She does the same thing - runs to the bowl or hay and just stands there staring at me. A water bottle was stopped up one day and she did the same thing. She truly knows how to tell me what is wrong. When she just wants to be held, she just stays at the side of the cage wheeking until I pick her up. And while I am holding her, usually lying down in my recliner with her on my chest sleeping, if she has to pee or poop, she stands up and gets an inch from my nose and just stares at me and lightly whimpers. She is a really amazing little pig.

Zippity doesn't really communicate with me very much. She communicates with my daughter more. She loves to be held and will lick your chin when you hold her - probably for the salt, but don't tell my daughter that. She thinks she is giving her little piggy kisses...maybe she is.


Post   » Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:24 pm

Guinea pig language - Patch does recongise on what I say to him, in a tonal sort of way, I can't explain on what each tone of squeak, chirr, durring, wheek, honestly means as he is only 5 months old, and just starting to communicate, but he does recongise the sound of the fridge door opening, oh boy the "whoop eeep eeep eeek whoop" etal is pretty good. my mum's guinea pigs are more better talkers than Patch, regarding bite/nips again that one is "I need a pee/poop" and Patch does chuckle after he does a toilet on my back! or for no apparent reason does "hawhaw", I also think the ears are another indicator. So I'm still learning about guinea language, boy, don't guinea's swear like troopers! My mum's greusome twosome do swear enough to make a sailor blush! and I think Patch sometimes picks up the odd bad habits too!
Patch's mummy

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Post   » Mon Apr 18, 2005 1:56 am

Well you guys might not believe everything I say, but I will tell you about my "conversations" with my pig Punker (may his memory live on forever).

Punker would talk back when I would come into the room and call him, usually flying out of his pig house.

He would make happy purrs when fed his favourite food and when scratched in certain areas. He would also show his appreciation by scratching me back with his teeth. Not biting, scratching.

He would whistle when he got lonely or when you rustled a bag really loudly and he was hungry, and would also do it to get your attention if he got lost.

He would sing when I'd hold him and pet him to sleep, at times it was sort of an exasperated kind of singing, which ended with a brief sigh before lying down on my stomach and going to sleep. Sometimes when I picked him up when he wasn't done with whatever he was doing, the singing would be more anxious in tone as if he was annoyed at the interuption.

Sometimes he'd literally be complaining about something, like one time I accidentally kneeled down on his long hair, and when he moved he pulled some of it out, and he was so scared he was actually stretching out his jaw to show his teeth, but then I just scooped him up and hugged him and he just complained and complained and complained about what had happened :P.

He'd also rattle his cage by chewing on it if he was bored or lonely or hungry.

He basically could not walk two steps without oinking, and he'd always answer when we called him by name, and would come over too.

Basically, we understood each other EXTREMELY well. I really loved that pig.

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Post   » Tue Apr 19, 2005 12:04 am

I'll start by saying I love this thread.

I've had some very talkative pigs. Probably the most amazing was Truffle II, who got used to our routine of getting up at about seven am on weekdays, and expected we would maintain that during weekends - he got fed before we did.

Come Saturday or Sunday, the clock would go past seven thirty and I would be woken by "WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK" for several minutes, non-stop.

If I ignored it, he would shut up but - like the snooze function on an alarm clock - start again twenty minutes later until I got up and fed him. We called him the Alarm Hog because of this.

Bandit is the designated wheeker - he was when Truffle II was alive, and he still is with tiny pig Chomsky (whose voice hasn't broken yet, and so he still has a tiny wheek). He wheeks when we come home. He oinks (as we call it - the insistent noise not as loud as a full-on squeak) when he hears my mother's footsteps at the other end of the house (he knows she'll get him grass) and if we talk to him in high-pitched voices, he'll come running out and put his paws up at the bars.

We can also communicate with eye-contact, viz. that if I'm going towards the fridge, he will look at me, paws on the foodbowl. If I dare look back at him and make eye-contact he starts either talking to me (Food food food food) or will chew the bars.

He also lets me know in no uncertain terms when he wants to go back to his cage - he'll start biting me after about twenty minutes, in increasing degrees of force. He also knows exactly which are the most sensitive areas to bite, and will pull down the collar of my top if it means he can't bite me on the collarbone and the side of my neck. Then, of course, he looks shocked when I wheek in pain. Snot. The upside is, I think he's only peed on me once, because a bite on the neck is very effective at getting me to put him back in time.


Post   » Mon May 23, 2005 6:39 pm

We had three piggies before the two we have now, and they had different ways of communicating..we had three boars and now we have 2 sows. The 3 boars learned to recognize the sound of the lettuce spinner and got sooo loud when they heard it!
These piggies dont hear the lettuce spinner as often, since I wash everything for the week in advance, but they know it means a meal is imminent.
Princess is by far the loudest pig I have ever heard...she wheeks so loud you could hear her down the block, and I have heard it myself!
Squirmy is quieter, I think she learned long ago Princess will drown anyone else out so while she does wheek it is not nearly as loud ;)
Princess wheeks if you move anything at all that makes a crinkly noise like a bag, and our kittens favorite toy is, what else, a crinkly ball! lol
And she gets louder if you talk to her, she will get into a shouting match with you. They both like to wheek whenever anyone goes near the cage, and they 'talk' to the cats although I am not sure what they are trying to tell them, probably 'Get your tail out of my cage before I bite it off!'
Oddly they are not one bit afraid of the cats, they let the kitten in their exercise pen (with us directly next to it in case anything happens) and THEY are the aggressors, they tag team the poor cat until he leaves or lays down ;)
Also Princess loves the phone, I have never had her talk to anyone but if it rings she goes nuts and gets louder and louder until you cant hear anything but her ;) I would say she is aptly named :D

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Post   » Thu Jun 09, 2005 9:04 pm

Mudge the First was a great one for wheeking whenever I walked into his room, heard a plastic bag rattle, or when he wanted attention (which he got a ton of). In fact, I guess you could say he was the "wheeker king". I live in a high rise and when he'd hear me talking in the hallway on the way to my front door, he'd start wheeking. He was a real lovie-boy too and purred almost every time I picked him up or walked by his cage (I realize now he was a very lonely boy).

Mudge the Second and Chihiro (current piggies), are a lot different in communication skills. They both wheek for food of course. These guys don't purr as much and tend to communicate more through body language: head butts to say stop, pulling on my clothes or jumping off my lap when they have to pee and biting when they're pissed off. Mudge, the abby, has an especially disgusted look she gets on her face like when I'm checking her belly, clipping toenails or when the vet was doing her examination. (It's kind of like an old lady's exclamation of "Well, I never!) Chihiro just sulks and shoots me dirty looks. (Did she bite the vet when she was getting her check-up? No - she bit *mommy*.)

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Post   » Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:23 pm

Skunk (RIP Skunky 11/06/2005) has always been very loud & chatty; right from when we got him as a baby, he'd used to sit with Joe for hours, being stroked and he'd always be making little noises. He also did the "wheek" thing, especially when he heard us pulling grass for him! That was really loud! We'd hear him from inside the house, shouting for attention.

My other guinea pig Fudge isn't much of a talker, but they used to chat to each other through the bars of their hutchs.

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