Guinea pigs are unique animals that make wonderful house pets. They usually only grow to an average size of 8 to 11 inches long and weigh about 1.5 to 2.5lbs.
They love to socialize with their owners and other pigs, and they live better when they are cared for by loving humans.
Your pet needs your care and attention to stay healthy. They cannot communicate with you as humans do, but they can share their feelings through a variety of behaviors.
One behavior common to guinea pigs is “popcorning.” If you have never seen them popcorn before, you probably wonder what this means for your pet.
What does it mean for a guinea pig to popcorn?
Have you ever jumped up and down when you were excited? Maybe you got good news, received an excellent mark on a test, or were reunited with an old friend.
Whatever the reason, you were able to show your happiness by hopping up and down. You literally could not contain your excitement.
You may be surprised to know that guinea pigs exhibit very similar behavior when they are excited or happy. They perform small hops by jumping in the air repeatedly. Similar to “zoomies” in dogs.
They may also let out squeaks as they popcorn. The behavior is called popcorning because it closely resembles popcorn being popped as they quickly jump up and down.
If you see your piggy popcorn for the first time, you may be concerned that they are having a seizure. The movement can be very small and jerky, but it is nothing to be alarmed about.
Popcorning is very normal for them. You may want to take out your phone and record a cute video of them hopping around to share with friends and family.
This is a video for an extreme popcorning:
Do guinea pigs popcorn when scared?
Guinea pigs do not usually popcorn when they are scared. This behavior is typically reserved for when they are excited or happy. They may react to a fun toy or a new treat.
You can also try to get them to popcorn by playing with them and giving them extra attention.
There is no need to worry if they suddenly start popcorning. While the movement can seem jolting to humans, your pet is enjoying themselves. Let them keep playing or eating without interruption, even if they continue to popcorn.
How can I get my guinea pig to popcorn?
If you have never seen your piggy popcorn, or you want to see them do it again, there are a few methods to try to elicit the behavior. The following tips are common ways to get them to popcorn.
- Give them a treat: Offer a healthy snack of fruits or vegetables. If they are excited about a particular type of food, they may popcorn when they receive it.
- Put a new toy in their crate: Guinea pigs love the stimulation that comes with new toys, I wrote an article about best cavies toys. Ladders, balls, mirrors, and tunnels are all great options to try if you want to see them popcorn with excitement.
- Play with them outside of their crate: You should always supervise them if they are not in their cage, but this can be a fun place to play and watch them popcorn. They will likely be happy and excited to spend time with you. They may even start to popcorn as they explore a new place or observe their surroundings. Visit my post to discover 6 things to consider when planning to take a guinea pig outdoors.
- Hold and pet them: If your piggy loves affection, hold them gently. Try petting them for a few minutes before returning them to their crate. If you stay close by, you may see them start to popcorn.
Happy and healthy guinea pigs are likely to popcorn at some point in their lives. If you have not observed the behavior yet, keep a watchful eye out. They could start popcorning at any moment!
Why do guinea pigs run around their cage?
Your guinea pig may start running around their cage in very fast circles. The behavior can seem odd or confusing, and you may wonder if something is wrong with them.
However, there are a few reasons they run in their crate. Knowing your pet’s normal behavior is crucial and will help you better judge their mood and health. Possible reasons for them running in their cage include the following.
- They are excited: If the running is accompanied by popcorning and signs of happiness, they are likely just full of energy. Let them be until they run out of energy to continue.
- They need more exercise: It is possible your piggy hasn’t moved around enough for the day and they need to let off some steam. This is their way of staying fit and healthy in a confined space. Consider giving them more attention and playtime to provide increased exercise and activity.
- They are scared: If they hear a sudden or sharp noise, are left in unfamiliar surroundings, or feel abrupt motions, they may start running. You can try to calm them, but they will likely stop on their own after a while.
- They are sick: Some pigs may run around their crate if they are sick. If this is the case, you may also notice weight loss, dry skin, missing fur, and other health issues. Contact your vet for more information on their health. Check out my step by step guide that will help know when do you need to take your cavy to the vet.
Guinea pigs run inside their crates for several reasons. To tell which one applies to your pet, take note of their other behaviors. Chances are, they are excited or happy.
They will likely calm down on their own soon and return to their normal behaviors.
Popcorning and running laps can be very entertaining for pet owners to watch. Your guinea pig has such a tiny body but a surprising amount of energy.
Most often, they run around or popcorn because they are excited or happy. You can try to get them to popcorn by offering treats, toys, or playtime.
The only cause for concern is if these activities are accompanied by other health issues. Otherwise, enjoy the fun time with your piggy and know they are happy with you.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.