Rat Popcorning & Zoomies: What is it & What Does it Mean?

Have you ever noticed your rat jumping and bouncing around? If you have, you’re not alone. It’s called popcorning and most rat owners have seen this behavior before, but not everyone knows what it really means.

In this article we’ll give a brief and to the point overview of popcorning and zoomies in rat. We’ll go over what it is exactly and what it means. Let’s take a look!


What is popcorning in rats?

Basically, “popcorning” is your rat running, jumping, and bouncing around. The name comes from a piece of corn being popped in the microwave, and is quite descriptive if you ask me!

Some people also call this behavior “the zoomies” but “popcorning” is a term that is used most often.

Many other animals such as cats, dogs, and also guinea pigs have similar behavior.

If you’re a new pet owner it might be a bit confusing and you might even think that there’s something wrong with your rat, but fear not, it’s totally normal and absolutely adorable!

Why do rats popcorn?

Rats will usually popcorn when they’re happy, excited, and energetic. It’s basically their body language to let other rats (and you!) know that they’re happy or in a playful mood.

Many rats popcorn quite frequently if they’re happy and you’ll often notice that it gets the other rats in a playful mood too. For instance, you might see your rat zooming away while being chased by other rats. They might playfully take the running rat down and groom their stomach.

My Rat Never Popcorns…

While most healthy rats do have the zoomies occasionally, no two rats are the same. Some rats are more calm and lazy and simply don’t feel like running or jumping around.

Especially older rats might not be as zoomy and energetic and would rather conserve their energy than popcorn around.

If you want to try to convince your rat to popcorn, you can try to lightly scratch or tickle their backs. For many rats, this is a trigger to put them in a playful mood.

Jesse A.