The term popcorning just sounds cute, doesn’t it?
And it is!
If you’ve ever seen a chinchilla popcorning, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s about as adorable as it gets.
If you haven’t seen it, there is a video just below.
But what is popcorning exactly?
Why do chinchillas popcorn and can you get them to do it when you want?
Keep reading t learn everything you need to know about popcorning behavior in chinchillas, including why they do it and how you can learn what gets your little pet to popcorn.
- 1 Chinchilla Popcorning
- 1.1 What is Chinchilla Popcorning?
- 1.2 How Do Chinchillas Popcorn?
- 1.3 How To Make A Chinchilla Popcorn
- 1.4 Why Do Chinchillas Popcorn?
- 1.5 Can All Chinchillas Popcorn?
- 1.6 How Can You Tell If A Chinchilla Is Happy?
- 1.7 How Do Chinchillas Show Aggression?
- 2 Chinchillas Popcorning: Final Thoughts
Before we get into all the details on chinchilla popcorning, I want to include a video here, in case you have not yet seen this adorable behavior.
What is Chinchilla Popcorning?
Popcorning is a playful and animated jumping behavior chinchillas exhibit. The term ‘popcorning’ is used to specifically describe the jumps or leaps a chinchilla makes when it is happy or excited.
When popcorning, a chinchilla might jump in the air while twisting its body, and then land back on its feet. It might do these cute jumps several times in succession.
How Do Chinchillas Popcorn?
Chinchilla popcorning looks similar to a corn kernel when it pops when placed on a heated pan, hence the term. To popcorn-jump, chinchillas use the following steps:
- Stretching: Before popcorning, some chinchillas stretch their bodies and lower their front ends to the ground.
- Running: Next, the chinchilla might run forward and backward or even in circles for a short distance, right before jumping.
- Jumping: The chinchilla will then jump as high as it can, lifting all four legs off the ground. It might simultaneously propel itself in one direction.
- Twisting: While in the air, the chinchilla might twist slightly by moving its head to one side of its body. Some chinchillas even rotate or spin around their axis when popcorning!
- Excited squeaking: A popcorning chinchilla might make loud, excited, high-pitch sounds when it popcorns!
- Landing: Finally, your pet will land on all fours. If it is super-excited, it might prepare to popcorn once again! Depending on the factors that triggered the popcorning, your chinchilla will repeat these cute jumps in succession several times.
How To Make A Chinchilla Popcorn
Chinchillas usually popcorn when they are happy or super excited. The frequency of popcorning will vary depending on the chinchilla.
Some chins do not popcorn at all, while others tend to popcorn frequently. If you want to get your pet to popcorn, you will need to pay attention to the things that trigger the jumps in your chinchilla, so you can replicate those scenarios if you want your pet to jump.
Most chinchilla owners have noticed their chinchillas popcorning under the following scenarios:
Favorite Meals And Treats
Most chinchillas get super-excited during meal times. The moment they see you approach their enclosure with their favorite treats in your hand, they may popcorn. Some chinchillas even start popcorning when they hear you preparing their vegetables.
Social Interactions With Humans
Some friendly chinchillas also popcorn when their owners are around. Most chinchillas love interacting with humans, and their eager-to-please natures make them jump for joy around you.
Chinchillas might even remember that you clapped or encouraged them when they popcorned previously. Popcorning around us humans is the chinchilla’s way of bonding with us.
Interactions With Each Other
Chins are inherently social animals, and they love the company of other chinchillas. When they play with their buddies, they may experience a surge of feel-good hormones, which might make them want to jump for joy. Happy chinchillas are likely to popcorn when they are playing with each other.
Time Out Of The Cage
Chinchillas usually popcorn in their playpen or in the safe enclosure in the garden where you have let them out to play.
The fresh air, the green grass under their tiny feet, and the freedom to run around might make your chinchilla happy, especially after being cooped up in the cage all day.
That is why it is important to let your little chinchillas out of their cages for at least 1-2 hours each day.
Cages Cleaning Time
Chinchillas love having clean cages. When you clean your pet’s cage every day at the same time, and deep-clean it monthly, your pet might popcorn to show you it is grateful and happy for the clean surroundings!
Chinchillas are fastidiously clean animals, and they love their dust baths. They love rolling and frolicking in their dust bowls. Some chins tend to popcorn right before entering the dust bowls, and sometimes even after coming out! This is their way of showing you that they love their baths and also a way of thanking you for providing one.
Chinchillas are nocturnal animals, which means they are most active at night. Your pet might popcorn or even wall-jump around its cage walls after dusk after it has had a nice nap.
Why Do Chinchillas Popcorn?
Chinchillas may pop due to the following reasons:
- Happiness and joy: A happy and joyful chinchilla is more likely to popcorn.
- Excitement and anticipation: Another reason behind chinchilla popcorning is anticipation and excitement. If your pet sees you preparing or bringing treats over, it is more likely to pop.
- Interactions and bonding: Chinchillas popcorn when they interact with their humans and also while playing with other chinchillas. Chinchillas are playful, social animals that love company.
- Playtime: When you let your chinchilla out of its cage for some much-needed exercise, it will play, jump, and popcorn.
- Welcome changes: while some changes can be stressful for chinchillas, others, like cleaning their cage, are welcome and might make them pop.
Can All Chinchillas Popcorn?
Younger chinchillas are more likely to popcorn, since they are able to jump a lot higher than older chinchillas. Most are able to jump a few inches in the air.
Senior chinchillas might not popcorn if they have joint issues. Likewise, obese or overweight chinchillas might refrain from jumping and twisting.
How Can You Tell If A Chinchilla Is Happy?
Popcorning is one way chinchillas show they are happy, but they have others. A happy chinchilla might exhibit the following behaviors:
As mentioned above, a joyful, stress-free chinchilla is more likely to popcorn. It will jump energetically and happily. It is a sign that your chinchilla loves its environment.
Chinchillas that are happy have relaxed postures. They won’t appear agitated, high-strung, or stressed. They may lay in a relaxed manner around you and might even climb into your open palms or into your lap.
Happy chinchillas make happy sounds like gentle purring and low, rhythmic squeaks.
A happy chinchilla will happily eat its meals and treats. It will have a healthy appetite and will show interest in the vegetables, fruits, pellets, and hay you offer. This shows that your pet is content with the food you provide and is in good health.
Loves To Interact With You And Other Chinchillas
A happy and satisfied chinchilla will happily interact with humans and other chinchillas. It won’t hide or show lethargy. Rather, it will look forward to playing and having social interactions outside its cage.
How Do Chinchillas Show Aggression?
For completeness sake, let’s take a brief look at the opposite end of the spectrum: aggression. Every chinchilla will show aggression differently. However, some of the common signs of aggressive chinchilla behavior include:
- Stiff body posture: Instead of being relaxed, an aggressive chinchilla will show a stiff body posture.
- Teeth chattering: Chinchillas show aggression and dominance through teeth chattering
- Lunging and biting: An aggressive chinchilla is likely to lunge at and bite other chinchillas and even its humans.
- Displaying territorial behavior: To show aggression, chinchillas might nip, bite, or attack other chinchillas or humans that come near them. This is a sign of being territorial or that the chin wants to be left alone.
- Hissing or growling: Other signs of chinchilla aggression include hissing, growling, snapping, or snarling sounds. These are signs that it is ready to attack.
- Raised fur: Just like cats have raised hackles when they are alert or scared, chinchillas tend to have raised fur when they are aggressive and preparing to strike or defend.
If your chinchilla continues to show aggression, please have it examined by a vet to rule out health issues.
Chinchillas Popcorning: Final Thoughts
Chinchilla popcorning is adorable, there is no doubt about that. Even better, it is a behavior that shows that your pet is happy and/or excited. So it’s a win-win all around!
If you want to get your chinchilla to popcorn for you, you’ll need to pay attention to the times you see it popcorn, in order to figure out what types of situations elicit the behavior in your pet. Then you can create those situations and watch your little furball popcorn around to its heart’s content!