Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal? (Everything You Need to Know)

Are guinea pigs nocturnal?

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Guinea pigs are one of the most popular small pet choices for many families, but there are still a lot of questions about their behavior and care. Many owners wonder if guinea pigs are nocturnal, or active during the night.

In this article, we will answer that question as well as look at other aspects of guinea pigs’ sleep habits and needs.

Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Guinea pigs are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. During these times, guinea pigs will be running around their cages, making noise, eating, and doing all the activities we associate with small furry animals. However, they are not strictly nocturnal – guinea pigs do have periods of sleep throughout the day as well.

It’s best to provide them with an environment that reflects their natural light cycles. This means you should let as much natural sunlight into their cage during the day as possible and keep lights dimmed or off at night.

You should keep your guinea pig in a room other than the room you sleep in and make sure the temperature doesn’t get too cold at night. Guinea pigs don’t like extremes in temperatures, so it’s important to maintain a comfortable level of warmth in their environment.

When Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Guinea pigs usually sleep for about eight hours a day with four to six-hour stretches during both the nighttime and daytime hours. Much like humans, their sleep schedules may vary depending on the season and the amount of daylight. In summer months, when sunlight hours are longer, guinea pigs may sleep for shorter periods during the day. During winter months, when there is less light, they may sleep more during the day and be more active at night.

Many people believe that guinea pigs hibernate, which isn’t the case, but they do sometimes sleep for longer stretches.

Recommendations for Guinea Pig Habitat

When you own a guinea pig, it’s important to provide them with a comfortable habitat that allows for safe and restful sleep. Guinea pigs feel safest in places where they can burrow, so make sure their cage is large enough for them to sprawl out, dig tunnels, and curl up.

Our veterinary team looked at the best guinea pig cages and selected the Living World Deluxe Habitat.

The bedding should be soft enough for them to burrow into but also absorbent enough to keep their cage clean and dry. Covering the top of the cage with a light blanket or towel can help reduce noise and stress, allowing them to sleep more peacefully.

What Sleep Positions Do Guinea Pigs Like?

Picture of two different guinea pigs sleeping

Guinea pigs sleep in a variety of positions depending on their mood and how comfortable they are in their environment. They may sleep curled up in a ball, stretched out on their side or stomach, with their head tucked into their fur, or even standing up.

If you see your guinea pig in a standing position, this is a sure sign that they are happy and comfortable in its habitat. It also means they can easily move around if startled by sudden noises or movements.

Guinea pigs can even sleep with their eyes open, so don’t be alarmed if you catch them resting with their eyes wide open. This is normal, especially in the daytime.

Guinea Pig Sleep Stages

Like humans and other animals, guinea pigs cycle between different stages of sleep. When they first settle down for the night, they enter a light sleep stage where their breathing is shallow and their eyes half-closed. This is followed by a deeper sleep stage with slow, deep breaths and completely closed eyes.

The last stage of guinea pig sleep involves REM (rapid eye movement) in which the eyes move quickly under the eyelids as if they are dreaming. During this time, guinea pigs can be startled more easily and may wake up quickly if there is noise or movement in the room.

Reasons for Guinea Pig Sleep Issues

If your guinea pig is having trouble sleeping, several things could be causing the problem. Stress from changes to their environment, loud noises, or other pets in the home can all disrupt their sleep. A lack of exercise, too much light in the cage at night, and poor diet can also contribute to sleep issues.

Make sure your guinea pig is getting enough exercise (at least 30 minutes a day) and adjust their environment so it’s more conducive to restful sleep. Provide them with dark, quiet space, and make sure they have plenty of fresh food and water.

A good diet for a guinea pig includes plenty of hay and other fresh food like fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods and sugary snacks, as these can cause them to become hyperactive and interfere with their sleep. You can also use a food and water dispenser such as the one from Oncpcare that attaches to the cage.

Can Two or More Guinea Pigs Live In the Same Cage?

Picture of three guinea pigs

Yes, two or more guinea pigs can live in the same cage. However, this should only be done if they are from the same litter, as introducing two adult guinea pigs to each other can be very stressful and lead to dominance issues. If you are planning to house multiple guinea pigs together, make sure their cage is large enough for them to have their own separate areas and plenty of space to move around.

Are Baby Guinea Pigs Nocturnal?

Baby guinea pigs are not as active as adult guinea pigs and, therefore, may not be as nocturnal. However, they will still nap during the day and become more active once the sun sets. When a female is pregnant, she may become more active during the night as she prepares for labor.

Examples of Other Nocturnal Animals

Guinea pigs are not the only nocturnal animals – many other species are active at night. Common examples include bats, owls, raccoons, possums, skunks, foxes, and cats. All of these animals have adapted to life in the dark and rely on their heightened senses to find food and avoid predators.

Nocturnal animals tend to rest during the day and become active at night when they can better find food and hide from danger. Knowing this, it is important to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your guinea pig so they can get the restful sleep they need.

Can Guinea Pigs Survive Cold Weather?

Yes, guinea pigs can survive cold weather. However, you should always provide warm and comfortable bedding for your guinea pig during colder months. Make sure the cage is well-insulated and placed away from any drafts or cold spots in the home. You can also provide a fleece blanket for your guinea pig to snuggle up in. In the wild, guinea pigs will burrow into the ground or under logs for warmth and protection.

In conclusion, although guinea pigs are not strictly nocturnal, they may sleep more during the day and be more active at night. It is important to provide them with a comfortable habitat that allows for safe and restful sleep and to adjust their environment so it’s more conducive to rest. Make sure they are getting enough exercise and a balanced diet, and avoid loud noises that can disturb their sleep. By understanding guinea pigs’ sleeping habits and adjusting their environment accordingly, you can help them have a better night’s rest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Sources & Resources

  1. “Guinea Pig Psychology” by the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln. https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/schoolofpsychology/research/researchgroups/marcp/guineapigpsychology/

We also have a number of other guides related to guinea pigs, including:

Pet News Daily Staff
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