Can Guinea Pigs Jump and If They Can, How High?

Can Guinea Pigs Jump and If They Can, How High

Hello! It looks like you already are a proud guinea pig owner and you have recently spotted your beloved guinea pig jumping or, doing something that looks like jumping. It is perfectly normal to wonder if the cage that you have bought is safe for your fluffy ball of happiness or not. After all, if the little fellow can jump, then it might end up getting out of the cage, right?

How high can guinea pigs jump or can they even perform this action? Guinea pigs can’t really jump, the action they perform is called popcorning and it looks like a bounce. The highest bounce (jump) performed by a guinea pig was 7 inches.

If you are not satisfied with your answer you have prepared a more in-depth explanation in the following sections below!

Can Guinea Pigs Jump?

Let’s start from the very beginning. Are guinea pigs even capable of performing such a physical act? A lot of us are used to thinking that guinea pigs are lazy, chubby animals that don’t like physical activities. The truth is that having such an opinion of them is 100% wrong.

Guinea pigs are active and curious animals that love running around and climbing. In case you have spotted that your dear pet has become lazy and doesn’t really want to get engaged in any playing activities, then the chances are high that the guinea pig is sick and you might want to take it to the vet.

We will never know whether or not guinea pigs could jump thousands of years ago because guinea pigs have been domesticated over seven thousand years ago (well, at least some reports say so). Of course, the behavior of the wild guinea pigs has adapted to the new conditions. The little fellows didn’t have to search for food anymore or needed to hide from the numerous dangers. That’s exactly why we don’t know for sure, whether the ancestors of our ‘modern’ guinea pigs could jump or not. This question is debatable. There are still some sources that claim that nowadays guinea pigs can jump and then there are others that are convinced that guinea pigs can’t jump.

So, who should we believe? The truth is that when we imagine someone jumping, we instantly see an animal or a human jumping over different fences, for example, and that is certainly something that guinea pigs can’t do.

Guinea pigs do not truly jump. These little guys…bounce. This action is called ‘popcorning’ and particularly this behavior is exclusive for guinea pigs (and it is extremely cute). However, remember that cavies cannot jump up onto things like a lot of other pets or can’t really jump over something. Even if it looks like the little guy has overcome an obstacle that simply means that the guinea pig managed to crawl up or down the thing.

In a nutshell, guinea pigs do not jump but they can bounce.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Jump? What Does ‘Popcorning’ Mean?

Why on earth would guinea pigs bounce? It seems like such a strange activity! Well, this is the next question that we are about to answer. And we bet that you are going to love the answer to this one.

The guinea pig might start to bounce over and over again, rapidly run forwards and backward or it might start to kick its legs out. All of these things are called ‘popcorning’. Mainly, because the behavior looks like popcorn beginning to pop in the microwave.

The best part is that the guinea pig will exhibit this strange behavior whenever it is happy or excited! Imagine a little kid jumping up and down in anticipation. The exact same thing happens to guinea pigs. They can be excited about a treat or simply incredibly happy. The little guinea pig will also begin to squeak. So, if you see the guinea pig popcorning and squeaking, the chances are high that the fluffy ball is very happy.

However, do bear in mind that some cavies might act similarly if they are scared. Make sure to pay extra attention to the body language and the noises that the guinea pig makes. And soon it will be easy for you to determine whether the little guy is truly happy or not.

By the way, you might have adopted a guinea pig not that long ago and never seen the tiny fellow popcorn. At one point or the other, the guinea pig will start to show its excitement, but owners can sometimes get scared because of that. Simply because popcorning might resemble a seizure of some sort. Don’t worry. It’s easy to distinguish a seizure from popcorning. Once again, do pay attention to the noises and the whole situation. If you are coming closer with a treat, then the little guy surely is excited and happy.

Moreover, popcorning is something that the guinea pigs do while standing up straight. Of course, the little guinea pigs can run all around the cage, but they will still be doing that with the help of their legs.

Whenever a seizure occurs, the guinea pig will (most likely) lie on its back or side on the cage floor. During seizures, the guinea pig might also lose consciousness. All-in-all, it’s relatively easy to understand (and see) the difference.

Even though popcorning is an absolutely normal behavior in guinea pigs, in case the bouncing does not stop for quite a while, it might become a problem.
However, in the absolute majority of cases, popcorning is very cute and you are going to find it interesting to observe your beloved pet whenever it’s acting like that. After all, we all want to see our pets happy, right?

How High Can Guinea Pigs Jump?

Even though we have already figured out that guinea pigs can’t really jump, there are exceptions to the rule. There have even been times when the little ball literally took a leap! Let’s have a look through these fascinating examples that will make you fall in love with guinea pigs even more.

A guinea pig from Scotland once had the longest jump. The little fellow was able to jump across a gap! And the distance was 19 inches! Truffles became a real Guinness World Records star.

It is still quite impossible to name the guinea pig that has the highest jump. No official record was set. However, there are people on the Internet that claim that their guinea pig is able to perform the highest jump. A cavy named Puckel Martin, for example, can jump as high as 7 inches.

The truth is that all the guinea pigs mentioned above are more of an exception. Your cavy might live a long, happy life in a cage that literally consists of four short walls and never escape. However, there are guinea pigs for which such an option won’t be 100% safe.

The ‘jumping’ abilities of a guinea pig surely do depend on a variety of factors. Both males and females can bounce and popcorn, so it doesn’t really depend on sex. Age is an incredibly important factor. Baby and young guinea pigs have been spotted bouncing much more often than older guinea pigs. Mainly, because the adults might start to develop some problems with their legs throughout the years. Of course, the heavier the cavy is, the harder it would be for the fluffy ball to not only bounce but also play and run around.

As you can see, even though the shape of the body of a guinea pig is quite clumsy and not really ‘designed’ to perform any serious physical activity, some cavies are still able to set world records!

Can Guinea Pigs Climb?

We feel like we have to talk a little more about cage safety. Even if you are sure that your guinea pig can’t jump and that a cage with short walls will be able to keep the little guy inside, think again!

The truth is that guinea pigs are underestimated when it comes to climbing. Even if your guinea pig is not a ‘jumper’, it certainly is a good climber. If you are a great owner, the chances are high that you have a broad selection of toys in the cage of your fluffy ball. The guinea pig might use the things to climb up the cage walls, so do bear that in mind at all times.

However, the little guy will sometimes be too scared to leave its safe cage. Many owners might even leave the door open and the guinea pig will not get out of the cage. At the same time, cavies are extremely curious animals, so maybe experimenting with an open cage is not the best idea.

You might want to invest in a taller cage, if you are afraid of your guinea pig hurting itself, for example. However, do not throw away the ‘climbing’ toys as cavies adore these things. Ideally, your beloved pet should have a ramp of some sort and stairs.

If you are interested we have a separate article on the best guinea pigs cages that are really perfect for your pet.

We now know that there really is an official record that was set by Truffle (when it comes to the longest jump). However, it certainly is more of an exception as the little guinea pigs can’t really jump. But the good news is that our guinea pigs certainly can bounce and popcorn if they are happy.

Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.