The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Guinea pigs are very common pets that people like to get for kids. Adults love caring for these cute little animals as well, and they can certainly be a lot of fun.
If you’ve recently started caring for a guinea pig, then you’re likely still getting used to things. You might not know everything that there is to know about these animals yet, but you should be able to tell if a guinea pig seems jumpy.
Have you noticed that your guinea pig is jumping whenever you touch it? It can be kind of disheartening when this happens because you don’t want to feel like your pet is afraid of you.
Why is your guinea pig jumping when you touch it? Is there anything that can be done about this to make things better?
Read on to learn about why this might be happening. You’ll be able to better understand your guinea pig after reading through the information.
There’s Likely Nothing Wrong
You can rest easy because there’s likely nothing wrong at all with your guinea pig. When you see a guinea pig jump when you touch it, you might assume that it is out of fear.
It’s normal to think that a guinea pig might be afraid of you, but it could be the opposite. Guinea pigs are actually known to jump when they’re excited or happy, too.
In fact, some guinea pigs will jump whenever they’re touched by their owners because of happiness. It seems a bit weird, but this behavior is known as “popcorning.”
While the name might sound comical, it’s just a term to refer to guinea pigs jumping and squeaking. When guinea pigs are very happy or excited, they might jump in the air, turn around, and make a squeaking noise.
The first time you see it you might either laugh or become concerned. If you touch a guinea pig and it does this, then there’s a good chance that the animal is simply excited.
This is especially true when you’ve been caring for the guinea pig well and treating it with love. You might notice your guinea pig doing this quite often in the future, and you can even see it as a good sign that you’re doing things right.
Sometimes Guinea Pigs Will Jump Out of Fear
You know that guinea pigs will “jump for joy” so to speak, but they can also get jumpy because they’re afraid. A new guinea pig could be jumpy around you if you haven’t gotten used to each other yet.
Have you noticed the guinea pig acting skittish or otherwise unwell? Sometimes you have to try to gain some context to determine whether the guinea pig is afraid.
If the guinea pig doesn’t seem frightened of your presence, then the jumping that it does when touched might not be fear-related. It really does depend on the situation and what is going on with the guinea pig.
It’s worth noting that there are quite a few things that can scare guinea pigs and cause them to jump. Guinea pigs could become startled by a sudden loud noise, and they might also get scared when seeing another pet.
If you have a cat or a dog in the house, then the guinea pig might jump when it sees one of those animals. Once you get used to caring for guinea pigs, it should become easier to distinguish happy jumping from scared or nervous jumping.
What If the Guinea Pig Is Flinching When Being Touched?
Flinching is much different from the jumping that people refer to as “popcorning.” If you’re trying to pet a guinea pig and it flinches, then that means that it’s nervous, skittish, or doesn’t want you to pet it.
One interesting thing that you should know is that guinea pigs might not want to allow you to pet them while they’re in their cages. This might seem a bit odd to you at first, but many guinea pigs are like this.
If you attempt to pet a guinea pig while it’s in its cage, then you might notice that it will flinch or turn away from you. When you let the guinea pig out of the cage, it might become much more receptive to being touched by you.
It’s not always clear why this is the case, but the guinea pig might feel more in control by not allowing you to touch it in its little habitat. You should try to see if the guinea pig reacts the same way while it’s outside the cage that it does when it’s inside the cage.
Your Guinea Pig Might Need Time to Get Used to You
It’s also possible that your guinea pig might just need a little time to get used to you. Over time, you should be able to get to know your guinea pig better, and it’ll come to see you as a kind person.
Just treat the guinea pig with love and respect and don’t try to force it to let you pet it. Feeding the guinea pig gently might open the animal up to more interactions if it truly is nervous about being touched.
Most people don’t have issues with this after several weeks have passed. If you’re caring for your guinea pig well, then it’ll eventually want to play with you and interact with you.
What If the Guinea Pig Seems Like It Has a Skin Irritation?
Sometimes guinea pigs might flinch when they have some type of skin irritation, too. If you go to touch the guinea pig and it flinches when it’s normally fine with you touching it, then perhaps it has mites.
Mites can cause guinea pigs problems and it can cause them to feel a bit unwell. You’re going to want to treat the guinea pig to get the problem under control.
You can take the guinea pig to a veterinarian for diagnosis if you need help. Generally, the treatment for mites will involve shampoos and special medications that can get rid of the pests.
It’s probably best to talk to your veterinarian if you’re new to caring for guinea pigs. They can explain what needs to be done and will even help you in many cases.
You don’t want to ignore things if it appears that your guinea pig is itchy. Issues with mites can cause extreme itchiness that will have a negative impact on the guinea pig’s health.
Thankfully, this issue can be solved in a timely fashion with the right care. Just take the time to talk to a professional to be sure that you do things right.
Keep Caring for Your Guinea Pig
Keep caring for your guinea pig and everything is going to be just fine. Your guinea pig could be jumping out of happiness, but it could also be a little bit nervous or scared depending on the situation.
Sometimes guinea pigs flinch when they’re not wanting to be petted, too. It could also be an issue with mites, but you’ll need to observe the guinea pig to see what’s going on.
So long as you’re a caring and proactive pet owner, everything will be okay. You can solve problems that exist and continue enjoying spending time with your animal companion.