Guinea Pig Popcorning: Why Do Guinea Pigs Popcorn?

Guinea Pig Popcorning-jumping and twisting in the air

If you are new to the cavy world, you must be thinking that we have lost our mind talking about guinea pig popcorning? What does that even mean? Are you missing a verb there?

No, we haven’t lost our mind, nor are we missing a verb. It’s your guinea pig who has lost his mind out of excitement and absolute happiness.

Did you just spot your guinea pig jumping around like crazy? You must be worried about your guinea pig jumping and running around like crazy, thinking there might be something wrong with your guinea. But worry not, guinea pig jump and twist are just his way of showing he is excited—he is happy. Just like we, humans, jump like crazy when our team scores a touchdown, Guinea pigs jump and twist out of sheer excitement as well.

If you are a novice guinea pig owner and don’t know what guinea pig popcorning means, you should continue reading as we are going to discuss it all about guinea pig popcorning: why do guinea pigs popcorn? Can you teach your guinea pig to popcorn on command? How can I tell the difference between guinea pig popcorning and guinea pig seizures?

Guinea Pig Popcorning

Guinea pig popcorning is guinea pig jumping from excitement and happiness. It is the sudden jump and twist action performed by guinea pigs when they are bursting out of excitement.

Guinea pig popcorning is named so as guinea pigs seem to be uncontrollably bursting with joy—jumping into the air, kicking their hind legs, twisting, and pop on the floor or into the wall of their cage—just like a kernel of corn popping out.

While popcorning is most common in young guinea pigs, adult, and grown-up guinea pigs may also popcorn and jump around like crazy when they are elated. While in most guinea pigs the expression of joy and happiness through popcorning is minimal, some guinea pigs continue popcorning throughout their lifetime. However, as grown-up guinea pigs put on some extra weight, they won’t be able to jump much high in the air.

Popcorning Is Not Unique to Guinea Pigs
Other animal species also express their excitement through similar actions. When excited, bunnies binky, horses frolic, and Chinchillas popcorn like guinea pigs.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Popcorn?

While the most common reason for guinea pig popcorning is excitement, sometimes it could mean that you cavy is scared.

Guinea pig popcorning from Happiness

The usual reason for guinea pigs popcorning is happiness. Guinea pigs jump and run around like crazy when they are elated. For instance, if a guinea pig is craving tasty treats and you offer him a delicious guinea pig treat, you might get to see him popcorn. Besides delicious treats, guinea pigs may also popcorn when they get happy from playing with their cage mates (cavies are social creatures and love social interaction).

Guinea Pigs Popcorning

A delighted guinea pig may popcorn in the following times

  • Feeding time
  • Entering a new more spacious environment
  • New and interesting toys
  • Mental and physical stimulation
  • Playing with their cage mates

While there is no evidence, it is widely believed that guinea pigs used to popcorn in the wild to give out the message to their cavy community that there is no looming threat of a predator, and all cavies can relax.

Guinea Pig Popcorning From Fear

While generally guinea pigs popcorn when they are elated, sometimes guinea pigs may do this out of fear. You can easily tell guinea pigs popcorning from happiness apart from guinea pigs popcorning out of fear. If there is anything off-putting, like loud noise or a cat or dog is around, your guinea pigs will be popcorning because he is scared.

In the presence of stressors and fear-inducing factors guinea pigs often popcorn. Instead of popcorning some guinea pigs may freeze in one spot, grind their teeth, let out a shrill squeak, or hide in a place when they are scared. Some guinea pigs may even show the whites of their eyes and even sheer when they feel scared.

In such cases, you should observe for a moment, identify the stressor and factors inducing fear and remove it from the environment.

Can You Teach Your Guinea Pig to Popcorn on Command?

While guinea pigs popcorn at random whenever they feel excited, you can increase the chances of guinea pigs popcorning by taking good care of your cavy. Caring for your guinea pig, you can discover what makes them popcorn. If it’s delicious guinea pig treats that make your piglet popcorn, you can offer your guinea pig these treats to encourage popcorning. With time, the sight or the smell of the treat may induce the popcorning behavior in the guinea pig.

Later, you can add a cue word “popcorn” or maybe just “pop” while offering your piglet that certain treat. This way your piggy would associate the cue word with the treat and gradually will start popcorning as you say the cue word.

Remember, guinea pig popcorning is a happy guinea pig! So, take good care of your guinea pigs and keep them happy. This would automatically increase the chances of your guinea pig popcorning to express they are elated.

What Are Guinea Pig Zoomies?

Guinea pigs often experience spurts of energy and to expend this energy they run really fast in their cage. They often run around in circles around the toys or hide sitting in their cage. These fast movements are known as guinea pig zoomies.

While zoomies are something energetic guinea pigs experience, popcorning behavior is usually expressed by happy guinea pigs. That said, a happy guinea pig can be energetic, and an energetic guinea pig can be happy. So, if you are lucky your guinea pig might experience both popcorning and zoomies.

How Can I tell Guinea Pig Popcorning is Not Having Seizures?

Because of the suddenness of jumping and popping on the floor or against the wall involved in popcorning, many novice guinea pig owners confuse popcorning with guinea pig seizures. But there is no reason to worry. However, it is crucial that one can tell the difference between seizures and popcorning.

In popcorning after jumping, twisting, and popping on the floor, your guinea pig will be normal in a matter of seconds. Conversely, in seizures, your piglet would fall on one side and start twitching and shaking involuntary and cry out. You will be unable to stop your guinea pig from shaking in case of seizures. However, if your guinea pig is popcorning, your intervention would make him stop.

If your guinea pig is having seizures, you should immediately contact your vet and take your cavy for a checkup. Many reasons including vitamin C deficiency, heatstroke, injuries, poison, and mites can trigger guinea pig seizures. These seizures are painful and require immediate veterinary attention.

Final Words: What is Guinea Pig Popcorning?

Guinea pig jumping out of excitement and happiness is called popcorning. It is dubbed popcorning because like a popping kernel, a guinea pig suddenly jumps into the air twist and kick its hind legs, and pops on the floor or into the wall of the cage. Watching their guinea pigs popcorn, many novice guinea pig owners assume that their piggies are having a seizure.

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