If you are already a proud guinea pig owner you have probably sometimes spotted your beloved guinea pig jumping and twitching or doing something that looks like jumping. This is why it is also perfectly normal to wonder, can guinea pig climb or jump out of the cage? It’s important to know if the cage that you have bought is safe for your guinea pigs or not. After all, if the guinea pig can jump, then then they might end up getting out of the cage, right?
Can guinea pigs jump? Guinea pigs can jump, but they don’t jump too high due to their body shape and short legs, which is to be more than expected. The highest jump performed by a guinea pig was 7.8 inches. Guinea pigs usually jump when they are happy, scared, when they want food, or just playing. Sometimes their jumping can be dangerous because they can jump away from your arms or jump out of the cage from a certain height.
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 do guinea pigs jump around, how high, and what is popcorning. Let’s begin!
Do Guinea Pigs Jump?
Many people 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 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. This question is debatable. There are still some sources claiming that guinea pigs can jump nowadays, and then there are others that 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 (and it is extremely cute). Popcorning is when guinea pigs jump rapidly in the air repeatedly 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?
If you want to be a great owner of your guinea pigs, you need to know the reasons why guinea pigs are jumping. There are many reasons why guinea pigs jump in the air or out of the cage, and we will try to explain some of them.
Happy or Excited
When we talk about ”popcorning”, guinea pigs do this strange behavior whenever they are feeling 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 ”popcorning” mainly because the behavior looks like a 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 excited.
Guinea Pigs 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, in some cases 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 if you are very careful when holding them because jumping from high heights can hurt them.
Guinea Pig 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.
Guinea Pigs 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 sharp accessories in their cage to avoid injury.
More Information About Guinea Pig Jumping
How High Can Guinea Pigs Jump?
It is still quite impossible to name the guinea pig that has the highest jump. One example is a guinea pig named Puckel Martin, who can jump as high as 20 cm or 7.8 inches. However, people on the Internet claim that their guinea pig can perform higher jumps.
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 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?
A guinea pig Truffles from Scotland has the longest jump. This guinea pig was able to jump across a gap! And the distance was incredibly 48 cm or 19 inches! Truffles became a real Guinness World Records star. There are also other different reports from guinea pig owners about how far their pets can jump. But this one is in the Guinness World Records.
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?
We feel like we have to talk a little bit more about cage safety. Even if you are sure that your guinea pigs can’t jump and that a cage with short walls will be able to keep them inside, think again! 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.
Also, 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.
If you are interested we have a separate article on the best guinea pigs cages that are really perfect for your pet.
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 by jumping on each other. Then you will have to separate them. Also, you can always determine certain ways to avoid fights between the guinea pigs.
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 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 absolutely normal behavior in guinea pigs, if the bouncing does not stop for quite a while, it might become a problem. Also, if your guinea pig suddenly stops jumping and being active, you need to monitor it and in some cases take it the vet due to the possibility of your pat having some health problems.
List of Sources
Quesenberry, K. E., Donnelly, T. M., Introduction to Guinea Pigs, Merck Manual, Veterinary Manual.
Kretchmer, K. R., Fox, M. W., Effects of domestication on animal behaviour, The Veterinary record, 1975.
Cooper, G., Schiller, L.A., Anatomy of the Guinea Pig, Harvard University Press, 1975.