Guinea pigs are very loving and fascinating animals. They have very unique personalities and behaviors which can be sometimes difficult to understand. They have a chubby bodies with short legs and people think that they cannot jump due to this. But one of the common misinterpreted behaviors of guinea pigs is jumping which is moving all four feet off the ground in an uncontrolled manner.
They can jump very actively and move around very much. This rapid explosive jumping behavior is called ‘popcorning’ which is the same as corns exploding to make popcorn. It is a very common activity of guinea pigs when they feel delighted and suddenly jump into the air, extending their legs and twisting their body. So there are several major reasons behind the popcorning or jumping of a guinea pig.
Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Jump?
Guinea pigs have so many interesting behavioral activities and popcorning is one of them which is a physical activity. They do jump because of the following reasons.
1. Happiness and Excitement:
Have you ever seen your guinea pig jumping around? If yes, then there is no need to worry because it is a good and healthy sign and it is normal. One o the reason behind jumping is that they feel very excited and happy maybe that they may get their favorite or fresh food to eat.
This behavior of popcorning is mainly noticed in small guinea pigs than in other adult ones. You can also make your lovely pet happy by doing the following things.
- Provide them a happy and relaxed environment
- Do daily interactions and exercise
- Clean and plenty of water
- Feed them their favorite and fresh food
- Play with them regularly
Food is one of the things that make them happy and when you feed them their favorite fresh food, they become very happy and start jumping out happiness. A guinea pig love to eat cucumber, carrot and carrot tops, dandelion leaves, and also loves juicy green fresh grass. These entire things make them delighted.
Sometimes health problem is one of the reasons behind the speedily jumping of guinea pigs especially due to blood-sucking mites. They start running fast or jumping speedily in their cage which might be a reason for concern. There are other signs and symptoms too which you have to notice like:
- Loss of appetite
- Dullness in their behavior
- Dried skin patches
- Itching in different parts of the body
So you have to be careful about the behavior of a guinea pig when they are happy or suffering from any problem.
3. Due to Fear:
Guinea pigs are very small animals and they might get frightened due to many things like loud noises coming out of your house. In such cases, guinea pigs start moving around very fast in their cage and also start squeaking. So never put the cage of your guinea pig near the TV or window. They feel that there may be a danger to them as well as their cage mates.
In such cases, they can lose control and you have to keep an eye on the situation because you do not know what is happening around them as there may be chances of injury as they can hit themselves in the cage or around the walls. In such a case you need to consult a doctor immediately.
4. Maybe they want food:
Hunger may be the reason behind the jumping or popcorning of the guinea pig around its cage or if you are coming toward the pet with the food in your hand. Bigger guinea pigs can jump outside the cage for food so make sure to have a cage from where a guinea pig cannot come out from the cage for food.
5. They are just playing:
Maybe guinea pigs are jumping while they are playing because they remain active most of the time so they climb on the walls of the cage, jump here and there, chew their toys, and many more things which are normal and you do not need to worry at all. You just make sure the wall of the cage should be high so that they cannot come out or remove all the sharp things from their place as they can injure themselves during jumping or playing.
6. When holding it for too long:
When you hold a guinea pig in your arms for too long or do not hold them in the right way then they may jump from your hand as they are not comfortable. They need to go very often to the toilet as they drink a lot of water the whole day so this may be the reason they may jump from your hands.
So never hold your pet for too long in your arms and let them play in their place. Be careful while holding your pet as it may be dangerous to jump from high heights for them.
7. Jumps when touched:
Some guinea pigs do not like the touch of humans as they don’t feel comfortable. They will jump when you are going to touch them. This mainly happens with small and new pets as they are not familiar with their owners and don’t want to get pampered or be touched.
So every time you try to touch them, they will jump from your hands. In such a situation, you should give them some time to adapt to their owners and environment. If it suddenly jumps every time then you should check whether they are suffering from any problem like if they have fleas mites, or any other skin infection.
How high can a guinea pig jump?
It is not specified how high exactly a guinea pig can jump. Both male and female guinea pigs can jump. Age is a factor on which the jumping or popcorning of a guinea pig depends. However young and small guinea pigs jump more often than the older ones as they start to develop some problems in their legs with age.
Normally a guinea pig can jump up to 20 cm or 1 foot and also can cross a gap of 19 inches or 49-50 cm which is the longest recorded in history. Other factors of guinea pigs may be their weight, height, age, and training.
Jumping or popcorning is a normal behavior of a guinea pig. There are factors like happiness, excitement, maybe fear, or sometimes some health issues. They can even jump out of their cage which is dangerous for them. So make sure the walls of their cage must be high and do not place any sharp things in their place.
If you feel any abnormal changes in their behavior and they suddenly stop jumping and being active then immediately consult a doctor.