Guinea Pig

A Brief Study on Guinea Pigs Popcorning

Guinea pigs usually live in the wild and known to be prey animals. They consist of big personalities and they are interesting social animals to have as pets. Guinea pigs have unique behaviors and guinea pigs popcorning is one them. It’s really hard to interpret that behavior and many guinea pig owners tend to watch regularly as the message can’t be understood.

What is Guinea Pigs Popcorning ? 

Popcorning occurs when your piggy is very excited or happy. Your rodent will be jumping into the air and repeat the jumping around the cage and your pet would look fantastic. There could be many reasons for this joy and whenever you see popcorning that clearly indicates that your cavy is in very good mood.

Many pet owners call popcorning the guinea pig dance as it can be considered the signature dance of guinea pigs.

Some may call it “stotting” or “pronking” as this popcorning is very similar to what springboks do. Guinea pigs bound in the air with arched back and firm legs. Many guinea pig owners use the term popcorning as it sounds much better.

In many young mammals, popcorning behavior can be seen and young lambs are a good example for it. It’s a combination of running and jumping and guinea pig enthusiastic call these actions as zoomies.

Just like guinea pigs, horses’ frolic, bunnies’ binky and chinchillas are known for this kind of outbursts.

The Popcorning Show

Guinea pigs would be similar to a bucking bronco, kicking out its legs in the air and twisting or can be described as leaping straight up into the air. It also looks like your pet guinea pig is riding a pogo stick and not very good at it while shaking its head and squeaking. Sometimes piggy may romp about and popcorn direct into the wall.

These jumps can be sudden jumps, sometimes from a standing position and in mid-stride and changes the direction more often with a charming squeak.

Also Read: Guinea Pig Sounds: What Do Guinea Pigs Say?

Why Guinea Pigs Perform Popcorn?

Three main reasons can be pointed out for guinea pigs to jump around as a kernel of popcorn and they are

  • Excitement
  • Sick
  • Fear


A happy guinea pig is known to show its happiness or joy through popcorning. Usually younger guinea pigs show this behavior and can be seen in pigs of any age.

You may notice sometimes your pet is running around and jump repeatedly, jerk and twist and making a purring noise. This is sign of showing guinea pig happiness and if you see it in a healthy guinea pig which is playing and exploring in its surroundings, as a pet owner you should enjoy the moment as your pet guinea pig is happy.

What Could Cause The Popcorning?

You would notice this when your piggy is ready for meal and it could be any of breakfast, lunch or dinner. Fresh grass hay, rare healthy treats or gourmet guinea pig hay are known winners and enough good food and fresh water can make guinea pigs popcorn.

  • Provide them some treats

Offering a treat such as their favorite veggie or fruit can make guinea pigs popcorn. You can also train them to popcorn to your command. When you offer a treat just say jump, pop or popcorn and after few times they will learn to react to your command. Simply this is encouraging your pet to jump for joy and it will be a wonderful experience for you.

  • New toy

You might already know that toys play a vital part in keeping guinea pigs physically and mentally fit, pleased and boredom free. If you provide them a new toy such as hiding, ladder or hammock they will start popcorning like crazy as they love toys. Even rotation or replacement can cause such joy in guinea pigs.

  • Freshly clean cage or an upgrade to the cage

Providing new bedding and cleaning the cage can trigger popcorning in your guinea pig as they like new linen. Everybody loves to have a fresh new bed and just changing the bedding will do the trick.

  • Offer some floor time

Taking your guinea pig out for some floor time from the cage can trigger popcorning in your guinea pig. They are always curious and they love explore their surroundings. You can offer some floor time to your little pet once a week.

  • Daily playtime and knowing your presence

You can provide pleasure to your piggy as you offer regular play times. If guinea pigs feel safe with your presence when they run, they might popcorn throughout its way into double figures. After you pick them and cuddle, they will do their thing when you keep them back on the ground.

  • Healthy and enhanced environment

If you have plenty space that guinea pigs can run safely, that can offer great encouragement for curious guinea pigs. Observe your furry pet’s behavior and count the number of popcorns they perform. You can allow this freedom only if you have a safe and secure space for guinea pigs. Make sure there is no gap in the fence and any other harmful pets and plants. Check the temperature outside to make sure it’s warm (minimum of 18C).

  • New friend could be the reason.

  • You can rearrange the existing furniture and add few new ones.

You can positively use this information to make your guinea pigs do popcorns. You might already try few of this and arrange everything perfect for your lovely pet to keep them happy.

Stress, Fear Over Encouragement

In some occasions you can notice this behavior as a sign of fear. So it is very important to understand the situation that your guinea pig is in.

If fear causes popcorning your pet would run for cover after landing and it will make few alarm calls. Most of the time, you may notice that your piggy is freezing when it feels danger rather than popcorning. This is a very common behavior among rabbits and all other rodents.

Always try to provide a calm and safe environment to your pet and remove any fearful things or other pets from its environment.

In such situations popcorning can be sign of overstimulation, fear or stress.

  • There could be another pet dog or cat nearby to cage or moving towards its environment.

  • Something may have changed suddenly in its environment.

  • Unexpected motions or loud sounds from outside. Example : the noise of a vacuum cleaner

  • New or strange surroundings.

  • When you take your pet to your vet for a checkup, it might do popcorns.

  • When your guinea pig is afraid of a storm outside.

  • When one hamster bumps into another mate injuring himself or the other one.

If any of these situations doesn’t take place and your pet is still doing popcorns, it means that you have a happy guinea pig.


If your guinea pig shows any signs of discomfort or itching and behaves abnormally as it runs in the cage, do not think it is popcorning and that can be due to mites or fur fleas.

Important: observe closely your guinea pig’s behavior and try to read its body language. If your pig tries to hide or makes terrified shrieks and wide-eyed, that particular popcorning isn’t due a positive occurrence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Often Do Guinea Pigs Popcorn?

There is no proper number or specified time for your guinea pig to perform popcorning. It is just an ordinary behavior and can depend on such situations.

Young guinea pig would perform a lot more popcorning than an adult guinea pig. Older guinea pigs will also do popcorns but not much as a young healthy guinea pig.

Even the frequency of doing popcorns may go down but they will still do popcorns occasionally when they get their treats.

What Is The Difference Between Guinea Pigs Popcorning And Guinea Pig Having Seizures?

Many people would think when they notice this behavior for the first time as the guinea pig is in pain or having a seizure or spasms. As this a very ordinary behavior you need not to worry at all. You can enjoy this display of happiness as long as your pig is in great control of its behavior.

In case of a seizure attack your guinea pig would fall on a side and its body will begin twitching and wave its les violently as they are running and further they will make a painful cry. In this situation you may not be able to wake your pig or stop its shaking.

It might not be an actual seizure and in reality this health condition is caused by a skin parasite called guinea pig mange. This behavior is caused due to severe itching by the parasite. The other noticeable thing is this could continue longer than usual popcorn.

When your pig is popcorning, it will leap in the air and it will squeak or purr out of excitement. Jumping would continue for some time before it gets back to its usual behavior.

Falling over never includes in popcorning guinea pig. If you suspect that your guinea pig is in pain or having a seizure attack, it is very important that you seek veterinarian’s advice as seizures can be very harmful to guinea pigs and needs urgent medical attention.

Benefits Of  Popcorning

Guinea pigs need all the exercise they can get to stay healthy and stay trim. Popcorning is considered as part of their usual workout to stay healthy.

As guinea pig is a prey animal, popcorning piggy may come as a surprise to its predators to stop in their tracks while giving guinea pig a chance to survive from its predators.

Can Popcorning Be Bad For Guinea Pigs?

No it’s not bad at all to guinea pigs.

Final Thoughts

When guinea pigs popcorn they will jump into the air without prior warning. Guinea pigs popcorning is a clear indication of happiness of guinea pigs. If your guinea pig doesn’t perform popcorns, that doesn’t mean that your guinea pig is not happy.

Understanding your guinea pig’s communication is one of the best ways to strengthen your bond with your pet and keep him popping out of joy always. It will benefit to both you and your guinea pig.

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