If you are a new or a future pet owner, still planning to care for your own guinea pig, or maybe haven’t seen other behaviors of your pet. You might wonder about their usual activities. They are usually seen to be munching their food or running around making distinctive sounds.
But, do guinea pigs jump? And that would also make you think, how high these fluffy creatures jump if they do?
Can guinea pigs jump? Guinea pigs can jump (such as popcorning), but they don’t jump too high due to their body shape and short legs. The highest jump performed by a guinea pig was 7.8 inches. Guinea pigs usually jump when they are happy, scared, or want food, holding them for too long, touching them, or just playing.
If you want to find out more about guinea pig’s ability to jump, we have prepared a more in-depth explanation in the following sections below! Find out common reasons why guinea pigs jump around, how high, and what popcorning is. Let’s begin!
Do Guinea Pigs Jump?
Guinea pigs are active and curious animals that love to play and run around. In case you have spotted that your 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 were domesticated only 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 living conditions.
Domesticated guinea pigs 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.
But there are still some sources claiming that guinea pigs can jump nowadays, and then others are convinced that guinea pigs can’t jump.
One of the proofs that guinea pigs can jump is an action called “popcorning,” and particularly, this behavior is exclusive for guinea pigs. Popcorning is when guinea pigs repeatedly jump rapidly in the air or make quick back and forth movements.
Many videos also show us how (guinea pig jumping high) from one place to another or jump out of the cage. Domesticated guinea pigs are also trainable, and some owners train their guinea pigs to do some tricks, like jumping.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Jump?
Here are some of the reasons why guinea pigs jump:
Happy or Excited
When we talk about ”popcorning”, guinea pigs do this strange behavior whenever they feel happy or excited. They can be excited about a treat or simply incredibly happy.
As we have explained above, popcorning is when a guinea pig starts to bounce all over the place, rapidly run forwards and backward, or even starts kicking its legs out. This action is called with that term, mainly because the behavior looks like popcorn, beginning to pop in the microwave.
Sometimes, 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 and exciting.
When They Are Scared
However, do bear in mind that some cavies might act similarly if they are scared. They may be afraid of you if you’re making some loud noises or movements. Other noises can also scare them, so never put their cage close to the window or TV.
Make sure to pay extra attention to the body language and the noises that the guinea pig makes. And in no time, it will be easy for you to determine whether the little guinea pig is truly happy or just scared.
They Want Food
Guinea pigs will be jumping around the cage when they are hungry or if you are coming closer with a treat. Bigger and trained guinea pigs may jump out of a cage if they smell the food.
You need to have in mind that they love to eat and make sure to have a cage that doesn’t allow them to jump out. Otherwise, they will do anything to get food and even jump out of the cage.
Holding the Guinea Pig for Too Long
Guinea pigs may jump out of your arms if you’re holding them for too long, or if you are not holding them the right way. They drink a lot of water during the day, and due to that, guinea pigs often need to go to the toilet.
For this reason, they may jump away from your hands, so be sure never to hold them for a long time. Also, if a guinea pig feels uncomfortable in your hand, it will try to jump. It would be best to be very careful when holding them because jumping from high heights can hurt them.
Jumps When Touched
Some guinea pigs don’t like to be touched, and they don’t allow their owners to pet them. They will jump every time you touch them and run away or even hide. That’s normal at the beginning because guinea pigs need time to adapt to their owners. But later, if your guinea pig suddenly jumps every time you touch it, there may be some health issues involved as well. Check if your guinea pig has mites, fleas, or any other skin problems.
They Are Just Playing
Guinea pigs may jump in the cage when they are playing. They are very active during the day, and they can climb on all kinds of stuff in their cage, like hideouts and toys. That’s totally normal. Just be sure not too high, or there are no sharp accessories in their cage to avoid injury.
How High Can Guinea Pigs Jump?
It is still quite impossible to name the guinea pig with the highest jump. But there is one example of a guinea pig named Puckel Martin, who can jump as high as 7.8 in (20 cm). However, people on the Internet claim that their guinea pig can perform higher jumps.
The “jumping” abilities of a guinea pig surely depend on various 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. The heavier the guinea pig is, the harder it would be for it to jump, play and run around.
As you can see, even though the body shape of a guinea pig is quite clumsy and not really “designed” to perform any serious physical activity, some guinea pigs are still able to jump high!
How Far Can a Guinea Pig Jump?
According to Guinness World Records, a guinea pig named Truffles from Scotland has the longest jump. This guinea pig was able to jump across a gap, and the distance was incredibly 19 in (48 cm)! Although, there are also other reports from guinea pig owners about how far their pets can jump.
Also, many factors depend on how far a guinea pig will jump. Some of them are ages, weight, activity, or how well the guinea pig is trained.
Can Guinea Pigs Jump Out of the Cage?
Your guinea pig 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.
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 guinea pig’s cage. The guinea pig might use these things to climb up the cage walls. Keep this in mind at all times!
However, the guinea pig 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, guinea pigs 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. However, do not throw away the “climbing” toys as guinea pigs adore these things. Ideally, your beloved pet should have a ramp of some sort and stairs.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Jump on Each Other?
Guinea pigs may jump on each other when they’re playing or fighting. They have strong personalities, and fighting is a common thing between them. Sometimes it is very hard to differ if they’re playing or fighting. Male guinea pigs are very dominant, and they often fight with each other. They will fight with their heads, teeth (biting), and jumping on each other. Then you will have to separate them.
How to Train Your Guinea Pig to Jump?
As we have already said, guinea pigs are trainable animals, and you can teach them different tricks. Therefore, you can teach them to jump, but that will require a lot of patience. You can put something like a stick on the floor and lure the guinea pig with the food to go over the stick.
Do that several times and gradually increase the height of the stick. Increase the height until you see that the guinea pig begins to feel uncomfortable with the new height for jumping. Guinea pigs love to play and jump but don’t force them and don’t do it very often.
Now you know that there are many reasons why guinea pigs jump and that their jumping abilities are certainly more than expected due to their body shape. Still, you need to be careful to avoid any injuries if guinea pigs jump from higher places.
Even though jumping and popcorning are normal behavior in guinea pigs, it might become a problem if the bouncing does not stop for quite a while.
Also, if your guinea pig suddenly stops jumping and being active, you need to monitor it. In some cases, you need to take it to the vet due to the possibility of your pet having some health problems.
List of Sources
Domestication Effects on Behavioural Traits and Learning Performance: Comparing Wild Cavies to Guinea Pigs
JEN at MIT – Keep Working: Why Do Guinea Pigs Squeak?