Guinea pigs are social little potatoes that express their emotions in a variety of ways. When a guinea pig is truly happy and comfortable, you will see so many of their unique and adorable behaviors come out.
Guinea pigs may express their happiness in slightly different ways, but there are some telltale signs that most guinea pigs will show when they are happy and content.
Throughout this article, I’ll cover ten of the most common behaviors and noises you’ll notice from your guinea pig when they are happy.
1. Guinea Pigs Popcorn When They’re Happy!
One main telltale sign that your guinea pig is happy is when they popcorn!
Popcorning is when guinea pigs randomly jump in the air like a popcorn kernel popping into a puff! Popcorning can vary from big exaggerated jumps to more subtle head flicks and mini jumps.
Popcorning occurs when your guinea pig is happy or excited by something. Some common triggers include a clean cage, sniffing something interesting, getting fresh hay piles, new toys, fleece beds, and piles of blankets to climb on.
Guinea pigs also frequently popcorn at feeding times. Popcorning can also be completely random, especially in the case of young guinea pigs that have so much excess energy to expel.
Young guinea pigs popcorn a lot more than adult guinea pigs, and in a much more exaggerated manner. As guinea pigs get older, they tend to popcorn less and switch to little head flicks and mini popcorns instead.
However, if your guinea pig grows up and stops popcorning as much, it doesn’t mean they’re not happy anymore. There are so many other ways that guinea pigs show their joy and contentment.
2. Guinea Pigs Wheek or Squeak Loudly When They’re Excited
One of the most common guinea pig noises you’ll hear is loud squeaking, also known as wheeking! Loud squeaking usually means your guinea pig is happy and excited about something, so it’s a very positive sound to hear your guinea pig make.
Guinea pigs will often wheek in anticipation of food, commonly when they hear rustling bags or the fridge opening. Squeaking is a very normal sound for guinea pigs and it’s generally a sign that they are comfortable and happy.
Some guinea pigs are less vocal than others, so not all will squeak when they are excited. However, a guinea pig that does not get excited about food at all is pretty unusual and might mean they are unhappy, sick, or nervous.
3. Guinea Pigs May Get Zoomies When They’re Happy
Another way you can tell your guinea pig is happy is if they get the zoomies! Zoomies are common in many animal species, guinea pigs included.
This is much more common in young guinea pigs with energy to spare! Baby guinea pigs sometimes get a blast of happy energy and start running around in short bursts, or they may even do a couple of “piggy laps” around the cage or room.
When your guinea pig gets zoomies, it means they are excited and trying to expel their extra energy. Anticipation of food may trigger zooming, or it could be completely random.
If your guinea pig really likes to zoom around a lot, you can try moving their hideys and other things in the cage a little more into the middle, leaving the outside wall of the cage open like a track so they can run to their heart’s content.
Baby guinea pigs also benefit from extra floor time to get their beans out.
4. Happy Guinea Pigs Are Active and Alert
Happy guinea pigs are also generally active and alert. Some guinea pigs are naturally calmer than others, but they shouldn’t be lethargic or spend all their time hiding.
Most guinea pigs are relatively active for periods throughout the day and then go and nap in between.
Healthy guinea pigs should be alert, with bright, clear eyes, healthy fur, and a good appetite. Lethargy, fluffed-up fur, discharge from the eyes or nose, or losing interest in food are all signs your guinea pig could be ill.
Always take your guinea pig to an experienced exotic vet if you notice a change in behavior, as guinea pigs often hide their illness in the early stages.
5. Guinea Pigs Chut and Squeak Quietly When They Are Happy
Another happy noise you may hear from your guinea pig is chutting, which sounds like a quiet squeaking sound. Guinea pigs chut to themselves in contentment, often when they are walking around, exploring, eating hay, or hanging out with their buddies.
Chutting is also accompanied by relaxed and happy body language. Chutting is typically a sign that all is good in your guinea pig’s world.
6. Guinea Pigs Purr When They Are Happy
Guinea pigs may also purr happily when they are content or excited. Purring can mean many things, so it’s important to read your guinea pig’s body language for this one. Guinea pigs may let out short, quiet purrs when they are excited about something.
My piggies often do this when I open up their cage to let them out, or when they know it’s feeding time. This is not to be mistaken for frightened purrs, which sound about the same.
When your guinea pig is happy, they will be running around excitedly and purring, whereas a scared guinea pig will be frozen in place and tense.
Some guinea pigs will also purr when you are petting them. This can also be positive or negative. Guinea pigs that purr happily will be relaxed, maybe stretching out and closing their eyes.
Guinea pigs that are unhappy about the way you’re petting them will usually be sitting still, but they will be a bit more rigid in their body posture.
Guinea pigs generally prefer slow, gentle strokes, so if you pet them faster, against the grain of their hair, or touch their bum, you may get an unhappy purr. It’s important to read your guinea pig’s body language to know whether they actually like the way you’re petting them or not.
7. Happy Guinea Pigs Are Curious and Love to Explore
Guinea pigs are very curious creatures and they are usually excited to run around and explore.
Guinea pigs especially love to explore with their buddies, which is when you’ll sometimes see a “piggy train” of two or more guinea pigs walking in a line together.
Happy guinea pigs are often very nosy and love to check out corners and crevices and nibble on new and interesting things.
Be sure any area where they’re allowed to roam is properly piggy proofed to prevent them from eating anything they shouldn’t.
8. Happy Guinea Pigs Often Greet You
Happy guinea pigs will often greet you when you walk into the room. This is also a common sign your guinea pig likes you.
They will often come out of their hiding places and run up to the front of the cage when they hear you come in. Some piggies will also put their front feet up on the bars to get closer.
Happy piggies may even try to follow you around a little bit when they are out for floor time or climb up on your leg while you’re sitting with them on the floor.
All of these behaviors show that your guinea pig is quite happy and comfortable around you.
9. Happy Guinea Pigs May Sleep in the Open or Stretch Out
Guinea pigs that are happy and comfortable in their environment may sleep out in the open, fully stretched out and relaxed.
Some piggies even kick their back feet out behind them which is adorable when it happens! Yawning and grooming while out in the open are also signs your guinea pig is comfortable and happy.
As prey animals, guinea pigs naturally feel safe in dens and covered spaces. If they are able to sleep freely anywhere in the cage, it’s a sure sign they are content and happy.
10. Positive Interactions with Other Guinea Pigs
Happy guinea pigs are naturally very social herd animals that love the company of other guinea pigs. You will often see them running around, exploring together, touching noses, and sleeping near each other.
Most guinea pigs don’t necessarily like sharing the same hidey house, but they enjoy being in proximity to each other.
Guinea pigs that chatter their teeth at other guinea pigs frequently or show other forms of grumpiness toward others can mean your guinea pig is unhappy or that there is an underlying health condition affecting their behavior.
All guinea pigs have their own unique ways of showing that they’re happy and content.
Young and energetic guinea pigs often show their excitement by popcorning or getting zoomies, while older or lazier piggies may show their contentment by sprawling out and socializing with people and other guinea pigs.
There are so many behaviors your guinea pigs may exhibit from time to time that all mean different things. To learn more about the types of sounds and body language that guinea pigs use to communicate, check out our Guinea Pig Behavior page.