So today, we are here to learn about guinea pig popcorning. Yes, you heard me right. It has nothing to do with feeding popcorns to your guinea pigs. In fact, it’s an act that most guinea pigs do when they are thrilled and relaxed. But why is it called guinea pigs popcorning? (Believe me, when it first happened with my guinea pig, I was frightened as hell) Let’s find out what it is. What does guinea pig popcorning mean?
Guinea pig popcorning is the term used to represent those sudden crazy leaps into the air, which your guinea pigs make out of nowhere when they are excited. It is mostly seen in younger guinea pigs as compared to older ones. The act closely resembles a Corn kernel popping out, so it was named popcorning.
Trust me, when I first saw this happening, I thought my guinea pig had some seizure attack, and I was terrified to the core, but then suddenly, it stopped in a while, and my pig was walking around normally.
How do guinea pigs popcorn?
Whenever our guinea pigs get extremely happy & excited, they start having quick little jumps in excitement, referred to as popcorning.
While some guinea pig starts jumping straight, others jump sideways, and some even start running laps and jumping in the middle. They will also begin squeaking as they jump. Thus there is no exact pattern in which it happens.
To some people, it looks like a guinea pig is pogoing, while to others, it seems like bucking bronco.
Also, it is nearly impossible to predict when they will start popcorning. But if they happen to do so, do enjoy the scene as it is a rare occurrence.
What is the difference between guinea pig popcorning and guinea pig having seizures?
If your guinea pig has a seizure attack, they fall on a side, their body will start twitching, and they will make some painful cry.
It is not the actual seizure but looks exactly like one. In reality, it is caused due to a skin parasite called guinea pig mange.
The seizure-like behavior is triggered due to the extreme itching sensation caused by the parasite. Also, it might last a lot longer as compared to popcorning.
However, if your guinea pig is popcorning, they will purr or squeak out of excitement and start taking short leaps in the air. It will continue for sometime before they get back to their normal state.
Source: Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital
What does guinea pig popcorning look like?
Let’s check out some videos of what does guinea pig popcorning look like.
I can see the curiosity in your mind after looking at these videos of guinea pig popcorning. So, let us move ahead and learn more about the same.
How often do guinea pigs popcorn?
Guinea pigs do popcorn a lot more when they are young as compared to when they get older. My guinea pigs did popcorn a lot from what I have experienced until they were one year old.
Later, the frequency did go down, but they still do popcorn once in a while, especially when they know their veggies or treat are coming.
There is no limit or counting specified that your guinea pig will popcorn this number of times. It’s a natural behavior and can depend on the situation.
Why do guinea pigs popcorn?
Guinea pigs can popcorn when they are delighted & excited or when they are in fear. In most cases, joy is the reason that sets them off; however, sometimes, they do popcorn out of fear also.
You need to pay attention to find out the reason for your guinea pig popcorning. If it happens to be out of fear, they find the cause and get it removed. But if it is out of happiness, then enjoy the act until you can.
There can be many things happening around, which can trigger the popcorning among your guinea pigs.
Maybe you got their favorite treat out of the fridge, Or perhaps it’s just dinner time?
A new toy or even a rotation of toy in their cage can be the cause. Maybe you got a larger enclosure for them or fresh and new bedding?
Possibly new hiding or a piece of new furniture in the cage to explore. Even some extra floor time can do the trick sometimes. Also, a good quality fresh feed can be the culprits sometimes.
You got it right! Whatever might be the case, it is amusing to watch your guinea pig popcorning.
Can guinea pigs control popcorning?
Yes, guinea pigs can control popcorning. In fact, most of the time, popcorning is attached to an emotion that can be triggered for various reasons.
Like, when you get them their favorite veggies or get them a new toy or a treat, then they may start popcorning out of happiness.
Some of my piggies get excited whenever I reach out to the fridge for the bags of veggies. As they know it is coming, they start popcorning out of happiness.
However, there are times when popcorning can be involuntary. Sometimes when guinea pigs get frightened by an event, then even that can lead to popcorning.
Like one of my guinea pigs was afraid during a storm outside, maybe due to the sound of it. Even that triggered the action in them.
So, we can say that most of the time, popcorning is voluntary and they can control it, but sometimes it just happens, and they seem to be not in control of the same.
Is guinea pig popcorning good?
Yes, guinea pig popcorning is a sign of a happy & excited guinea pig. If your guinea pigs popcorn a lot, then that indicates they are pleased and comfortable out there.
Some people also consider that popcorning is the way of releasing stress, which means they are stressed out; however, the situation and the act don’t validate the reasoning.
In some instances, popcorning can be a sign of fear or overstimulation. For example, if your guinea pig starts popcorning by the sound of a vacuum cleaner or blender or something, then it might be due to fear.
It would be best to watch out for the physical signs like frightful shrieking sound, wide-open eyes, running for hiding, etc. although these are an infrequent occurrence in most guinea pigs.
At what age do guinea pigs stop popcorning?
There is no exact age when guinea pigs tend to stop popcorning. One of my guinea pigs is four years old, still popcorns when I get some strawberry for him.
It’s just that guinea pigs popcorn often when they are young. As they grow older, the tendency of popcorning goes down significantly.
But that doesn’t mean that older guinea pigs are not happy. Young guinea pigs are active, full of energy, and thus they release the same by popcorning.
However, as they grow old, their body gets bulkier, and therefore they tend to popcorn less frequently.
How do I make my guinea pig popcorn?
There is a lot of factors that can trigger popcorning in guinea pigs. As you already know by now that they popcorn when they are happy or excited.
So, as you create a deeper bond with your guinea pig and learn more about what they like and what they don’t, you might move a step closer to identify the ways to make your guinea pig popcorn.
However, today, I am going to share some of the reasons which I have seen that triggers them to popcorn. So, let’s check it out:
- The most common way to trigger the behavior is by offering them some treats. Offering some of their favorite veggies and fruits can make them popcorn-like crazy. You can also train them to do so in command. Just say Pop or Jump as you offer them the treat. Soon they will associate the word with the treat and may start popping on your command. Isn’t that awesome!
- Guinea pigs love toys. If you could get a new toy like a ladder, hiding, hammock, or anything that they like, they may watch them popcorning like crazy. Sometimes just replacing or rotation toys and change in their cage setup can trigger the popcorning in them.
- Getting your guinea pig out of the cage for some floortime is another excellent way to trigger popcorning in them. Guinea pigs are curious animals, and they love to explore around. So, might be you can make them popcorn by giving some extra floor time every week.
- If you take care of all the basic needs of your guinea pigs like quality hay, good bedding, and a reasonably large cage, then you might see your guinea pig popcorning out of excitement now and then. As they have ample area to play and remain active, they release their enthusiasm by popcorning.
- Cleaning the cage and replacing the bedding can be one reason that triggers popcorning in your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs love fresh linen. (who doesn’t like a fresh and clean bed for themselves) and they sometimes just changing the bedding can do the trick for you.
So, I hope you have learned some of the great ways to make your guinea pig popcorn. I am sure you have already tried a few of that stuff and have everything perfect for your guinea pigs.
However, if you still want to check out some of my recommended toys, which my guinea pigs love and enjoy playing with, check out my recommendation:
Why does my guinea pig keep popcorning all the time?
Guinea pigs usually popcorns when they are happy. So, if your guinea pig is pleased & excited by the care and treats they get, they may popcorn very often.
Sometimes they do get frightened and popcorn unusually. If they are doing so, then finding the cause of the same and taking care of it might be the right step to take.
If you are unsure about the behavior visiting a vet might also be helpful.