What is Popcorning in Guinea Pigs? Why They Do It?

There are many strange things animals do, which we, humans find interesting and sometimes funny. Guinea pigs have a really strange way to tell they are happy.

Many refer to this behavior as guinea pig popcorning or happy dance. Popcorning in guinea pigs is a way for them to express happiness, joy and excitement towards humans or other guinea pigs.

Below, I will explain everything you should know about guinea pig popcorning ritual.

How do You Know if Guinea Pig is Popcorning?

Guinea pigs are not very good jumpers and climbers; this is why most people keep them in open counters.

When guinea pigs are happy and excited, they will run around, jump and shake their body while jumping. It is very similar to popcorn popping, hence the name. This is an absolute normal behavior, and you should not worry about them.

Here is a compilation video of popcorning guinea pigs, so you get an idea how it looks like:

When do Guinea Pigs Popcorn?

Guinea pigs will run laps and will do their strange jumps when they are extremely happy. Guinea pigs are very social animals and they like to play a lot.

You can experience this happy dancing, usually, during play-time, before feeding, when the feel safe or when they meet a new guinea pig.

They will also popcorn, if you give them a new toy or move them outside if the weather permits.

Can You Make Your Guinea Pigs to Popcorn?

It is worth noting, that not all guinea pigs are popcorning. There is nothing wrong if your guinea pigs don’t popcorn, they can still be happy, as long as you provide them:

  • Clean water
  • Good and balanced diet
  • Enough space
  • Good cage mates
  • Playtime

But how can you make your guinea pigs to popcorn? There is no guarantee, that you will be able to make your guinea pigs extremely happy, but it is worth trying a few things:

  • Treats – can make guinea pigs very happy. Food, which you don’t feed them very often can make your guinea pigs popcorn. Such treats include: bananas, strawberries, watermelon, oranges, etc.
  • Toys – any new toy will make a guinea pig happy: a ball, a mirror, hiding or sleeping space, a climbing toy. It shouldn’t be an expensive toy, in fact it can be a DIY toy, just give them something new to play.
  • Playtime – spending time with your guinea pigs is also a great way to make them happy. If you have time, take them out from their counter, pet them and play a ball game with them.
  • Mates – it is important that you should never keep one guinea pig alone. As mentioned before, they are social animals, and in the wild they live in heard, so they need at least another guinea pig as mate. Boys to best in pairs, girls do best in three.

Do Guinea Pigs Popcorn When Scared?

Yes, extreme fear sometimes can cause your guinea pigs to popcorn, but mostly they will popcorn when they feel secure.

Guinea pigs usually get scared from loud, unexpected sounds or a predator. When they are scared, they usually find a safe place to hide.

Do Guinea Pigs Squeak When Popcorning?

Yes, guinea pigs will squeak and make other noises when they are very happy, although constant squeaking could be a sign of fear or anxiety.

When guinea pigs are in danger, they are often squealing, so if you notice this behavior, pay attention.

Do Guinea Pigs Shiver When Happy?

Yes, often, when you pet your guinea pigs, they will shiver and shake because of joy. While you hold them in your hands, the can’t run and jump, so they will only produce the shaking, which is the sign of extreme happiness.

 How Often do Guinea Pigs Popcorn?

When guinea pigs are young, they tend to popcorn a lot more. As guinea pigs get older, they tend to popcorn a lot less.

You can still make an old guinea pig popcorning, but it is much harder to do it.

Is Popcorning Good for Guinea Pigs?

Yes, popcroning is absolutely good for guinea pigs, not only because they show sign of happiness, but they will also get rid of excess energy and eventually stress.

Wrapping Up

I really hope, that this article has helped you understand this strange, but good behavior in guinea pigs. Next time, when your pet guinea pigs will jump and dance, you will know that they are very happy, thanks to you.

If you have any question, or any funny story about your popcorning guinea pigs, please share it in the comment section below.

avatar Jane
Jane is an experienced animal care specialist with a focus on rodents and small mammals, with over 10 years of experience in the pet industry. Her articles provide practical guidance on choosing the right pet and managing common health issues. Jane is an advocate for animal welfare and supports organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife. read more...

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