"Popcorning" In Guinea Pigs

Who knows what goes on in their minds?
Who knows what goes on in their minds?

Guinea pigs are wonderful, comical fur balls with their own unique body language. If you are not used to guinea pig body language, then some of their activities which are normal to them look very strange to us. They even do things dogs and cats don't do. Since guinea pigs are still considered "exotic pets", sometimes vets will not know guinea pig body languauge, either. It is up to you to learn it. One of the most common and comical guinea pig behaviors is nicknamed "popcorning" by guinea pig caretakers.

So, What Is "Popcorning"?

You ever watch a kernel of popcorn just before it pops? It does so very suddenly and without warning. One moment it's a little kernel and the next moment POP into the fluffy white puff. Guinea pigs leap very suddenly in just the same way. No, they don't transform instantaneously into fluffy white puffs of popcorn, but the motion comes without warning and can make you jump, too.

The guinea pig will often just spring straight up as if the little feet were actually pogo sticks (some prefer to call the action "pogoing" rather than "popcorning"). The technical name for this sudden spring skywards is called "pronking". But "popcorning" sounds much cuter and a lot more suitable for a guinea pig.

Other animals that pronk (or stot) are gazelles, horses (on occasion, when they are feeling very goofy) and the springbok.

Unlike the hoofed animals that pronk, guinea pigs can sometimes turn in midair as much as ninety degrees. Sometimes they squeal and sometimes they just get busy with popcorning some more. This happens only for a few seconds or interspersed throughout a few minutes of running about.

Why Do They Do It?

Although popcorning looks very sudden and sometimes seizure-like, your piggy is not under any stress. In fact, popcorning is a sign of the exact opposite - it is a sign that your guinea pig is happy and full of high spirits. Only healthy guinea pigs popcorn jump. Popcorning is nothing to worry about. Guinea pigs can do it until they get quite old, and either sex will do it. Guinea pig babies only a few days old will popcorn jump, too.

Although they might not look too smart, guinea pigs do have a good helping of common sense. They seem to know that popcorning is an activity best left on the ground and will not attempt to do so when held. But guinea pigs can try to jump out of your hands if they are scared. You need a good snug hold whenever you pick up a guinea pig. Never pick a guinea pig up by the spine - that can cause spinal damage. If you do not know how to pick up a guinea pig, get a pet store employee or your vet to show you. Or, you could check out this link.

Typical "popcorning" piggie

More by this Author

  • Why Guinea Pigs Eat Poo

    Goes in as carrots, comes out as beans It's not actually poo that the guinea pigs are eating. However, it looks like poo and comes out of the same place. And it's actually vital to your guinea pig's health and well...

  • All About Abyssinian Guinea Pigs

    All you Abysinians, stand up! The Abyssinian guinea pig is one of the most popular and recognizeable breeds of guinea pig in the world. They can be any color in the guinea pig rainbow and breed readily with other...

  • What Toys Can I Give My Guinea Pig?

    Piggies think burrowing and nibbling are fun. A guinea pig's idea of fun differs a lot from other pet's ideas of fun. Although you may come across balls and wheels in pet shops or online stores that say they are...

Comments 42 comments

Theda K. profile image

Theda K. 9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

Hi, thanks for reminding me of how cute guinea pigs are. I used to have several, and they were the sweetest little things. I do remember popcorning too. I definitely jumped right along with them sometimes.

Thanks for the memories!

ASH 8 years ago


maria 8 years ago

when is see all my guinea pigs popcorning i just cant stop laughing and it puts me in the funny mood they are in, its good for the soul lol.

scott 7 years ago

cool are guinea pig is going to have babies and it says they will look like miniature replicas or their parents, if so then are babies will look very closey to cotton ball or popcorn!!! how ironic :D. Thx for the help all the kids in my class say the pigs are having seizures when they popcorn. they hate the little piggies:(. you websites are awesome. you should put flyers up buy pet stores so you can expand your websites and knowledge. thx again.

jane 7 years ago

i got 2 pigs i love um like YOU WOULD2NT BELIVE

kal 7 years ago

omg the vid is so cute >.< haha my piggie popcorns like crazy everytime i take him outta his cage and put him on a carpet---he does it nowhere else, just the carpet heehee

kate 7 years ago

So funny! I just saw my guinea do this and I was very worried...now I realize I must have been doing something oh-so right. Thanks so much for the info! Such a cute video!

aubreyyy 7 years ago

haha i have 2 piggies n all they do is popcorn lol its adorable. and they even get my little hamster in a happier mood. hes starting to popcorn too funny enough. thanksss.

the daisy 7 years ago


Guinea pig luvr 7 years ago

Guinea pigs are smart

profile image

infinitenesmith 7 years ago

Cute hub! :) My two piggies popcorn all the time, usually during or after chasing each other around. It always makes me feel good to know that they're happy and having a good time.

FAYE 7 years ago

i have one guinea pig, a female 5 weeeks old. she NEVER popcorns :( is that bad?

sarah Beth 6 years ago

i have 2 guinea pigs and when they popcorn its so funny to wach the older one is chip he is half way grown and the other ane is smudg and he is a tiny little baby with a stripe in the middle of his face

Kristen 6 years ago


If you only have one guinea pig, consider getting her a friend. Guinea pigs come from large groups in their natural setting and she would be much happier with a friend. Hope this helps!

Good luck! : )

Taylor 6 years ago

I have 2 piggies and I got them yesterday! They are the cutest things ever I love them! Their names are Sir NumNums and Stinker. I can't wait to see how they popcorn!!! Love this site!!! And my piggies!!!

Alissa 6 years ago

NMy guinea pig popcorns too...his name is checkers cuz he has patches of different colrs of fur

pinkstaar! 6 years ago


megabex 6 years ago

i lve the video it is so cute!!!!

megabex 6 years ago

we are looking to get two guinea pigs what gender is the best for first buyers we have not had any guinea pigs before oh and is it best to get two more than one?

megabex 6 years ago

plaese could you answer my question we are desperate!!!!

finatics profile image

finatics 6 years ago

Great hub! I remember when I first got my guinea pigs almost 5 years ago, I was worried when they starting jumping oddly until I learned it means they're happy :)

ticklebug82 profile image

ticklebug82 6 years ago from Oneida, NY

I love watching my guinea pigs popcorn. They almost look like they are jumping around and it's so cute. We try to give them treats every now and then to see if they will do it. I just posted a hub about guinea pig bedding and how it can get them to popcorn http://hubpages.com/animals/Guinea-Pig-Bedding

guinea pig babies 6 years ago

A mother guinea pig can give birth to two or three guinea pig babies after going though pregnancy for three months. Usually, the father stays away when the female gives birth, but there are also times when he stays around and helps clean the baby rodents.

KittyTandino 6 years ago

@ megabex Guinea pigs have their own personalities much like any other pet.. The best ones can be different for each person.. Some females love attention and are very easy going while others may be very picky and males can be grumpy and not like being picked up while others are all for the loving.. This being said it's a matter of what is best for you.. we have four piggies the males are Shakiro and patches the boys love me and like to be picked up but will give me a run when going to pick them up.. only because I think they feel strange being towered by a human how is looking to do nothing more then snuggle the day lights outta them.

The girls stripe and baby both love attention but will only take it from my husband and anyone else gets close to them they make sure they know they are not welcomed near the cage.. Stripe is over protective of "my husband" her daddy hehe to the point of nipping anyone close.. They are all lovely and comical at times from popping to running around the cage in a 0-60 90 mile an hour race the best time is when it is feeding time and they sing for treats.. they can be trained to do basic tricks and trained to go back inside their cages just a matter of taking time out for them.

They are like kids in so many ways loving, adorable and open to learning new things.. this being said it is best to get more then one we find that keeping one in a cage alone makes them sad and not really social..

Good luck on your search and I hope our family story helps.

New Piggie Mummy 6 years ago

Thanks for the info... My mother had piggies when I was little, now I live with my fiancé and we've gotten 2 piggies of our own (5 days ago)... I thought something was wrong until I read this and watched the video. Thanks again :)

gogo i love guinea pigs!! 6 years ago

i have two guinea pigs both males and babies 13 weeks well just over and my guinea pig jumps like that and when my dad told me that when it did jumps it was called popcorning. And i was amazed!!!!

Nad 6 years ago

I have just seen my 6month old piggies popcorn for the first time, they must love the hay I just gave them lol x

emily 5 years ago

My Guinea pig is 2 years old and I've only seen him popcorn 2 or 3 times. Maybe it's because he doesn't know how? I'm planning on getting a second so we'll see what happens. Herman (my guinea pig) is generally pretty "lazy" and isn't one to really run around as much as other guinea pigs that I've seen. There isn't anything wrong with him, I just think he's "laid back" compared to most guinea pigs.

emily 5 years ago

My Guinea pig is 2 years old and I've only seen him popcorn 2 or 3 times. Maybe it's because he doesn't know how? I'm planning on getting a second so we'll see what happens. Herman (my guinea pig) is generally pretty "lazy" and isn't one to really run around as much as other guinea pigs that I've seen. There isn't anything wrong with him, I just think he's "laid back" compared to most guinea pigs.

pacojr profile image

pacojr 5 years ago from USA


Jane Tolo 5 years ago

my popcorn is salty

elaine 5 years ago

i have 3 guinea pig!! the babies which are only 5 4 days old popcorn all the time!!

yvette bishh123 5 years ago

uinea pig is name angel is is so funny when he popcorns i thought he was frighten at were his new home was. bt then really he was happy!!! -love angel

hello 5 years ago

I never seen mine do that but it sounds cute

Brisingr 4 years ago

Mine is acting really weird and popcorning so... Some times she is definetly stressed but then she starts popcorning. She just got over being sick so we are really worried.

Jagger 4 years ago

I have a piggie Jagger and he is just starting to popcorn I thought he had hickups or was scared and was really worried. Thankfully he is just happy =]

love 4 years ago

sometimes both of my guinea pigs jump and my friend said that is bad i that true

Amy 4 years ago

Yes I know popcorning very well. My pair had a set of babies and withing 2 weeks the babies were popcorning too. As soon as we found new homes for the babies, the parents were happy to have their space back and they have been popcorning a lot. I am sure they will be back to their old habits and making more little ones.

Mela 4 years ago

This is great! I just got two guinea pigs about 4 days ago and I've seen one or both "popcorn" quite often the past couple days so that is great news! Guess I'm goin to keep them. I was considering whether to take them back or not but if they're happy then I'd like to keep it that way. Thanks!

Sam 4 years ago

Thank u so much! I thought my guinea pig had fleas or needed to see a pet phychiatrist! ????

samantha 4 years ago

haha i get woken up by my two boy popcorning and they are so cute but sometimes annoying because it is so rearly in the morning haha

piggie(guinea) 4 years ago

My guinea pig pop-corns all the time! LOL. I named my guinea pig Digger!

He kinda anoys me in the morning by ringing his bell as if to tell me to get up. It's really funny to see Digger popcorn and he shows his teeth sometimes in midair while doing it sometimes!

Submit a Comment
New comments are not being accepted on this article at this time.
Click to Rate This Article