Do Guinea Pigs Sleep? (All The Info)

Do guinea pigs sleep?

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Guinea pigs are adorable, but did you know that they can be a little misunderstood?

For example, many people don’t realize that guinea pigs sleep. In fact, it’s pretty common for them to take regular naps throughout the day and night.

Let’s dive into how sleeping works for these little guys so you can get a better understanding of their daily routine!

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Yes, guinea pigs do sleep! They often sleep as much as humans do, roughly 9 – 10 hours per day.

A guinea pig can be seen sleeping in a variety of positions. Some prefer to lie on their backs, while others prefer to sit upright. While sleeping, you may also notice that your pet will snore or make other noises similar to human snoring. This is normal behavior for guinea pigs while they are asleep.

A unique characteristic of sleeping guinea pigs is that they sleep with their eyes open. This may make it difficult to tell when they are sleeping and when they are awake. They sleep with their eyes open and in short cycles (30 mins or so at a time) during the day and night.

When Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

When do guinea pigs sleep? The answer is that they are crepuscular, which means they’re more active right after sunset (twilight) and before dawn. They sleep (or nap) on and off during the day and at night. They may be more active in the early evening because this is the time that predators in the wild hunt for food and, being small animals, they are more alert to any sounds that might indicate danger.

Recommendations for Guinea Pig Habitat

Picture of a guinea pig in a hay house

Their home may be a simple crate with a cage or screen on the bottom, or an elaborate animal habitat made of plastic with tunnels, climbing tubes, and various toys to play with. It can be as simple or elaborate as you wish.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Guinea pigs need a bedding material that is soft and comfortable. A towel or blanket can be used as bedding, but it should not be too thick or fluffy. You can also use shredded paper, hay, or straw for bedding. If you choose to use fleece or cotton as your guinea pig’s own personal sleeping place, they will be happy because they love fabric such as that.
  • They also like to burrow in their bedding because it makes them feel safe and protected. You might try putting a small shoe box with some extra fluffy bedding in it for them to sleep in.
  • It is recommended to cover the cage so that there are no drafts in the room when your guinea pig sleeps at night. In winter months, this may be more important than during other times of year because it will help keep your pet warm at night time when temperatures drop outside of their cages due to drafts created by doors opening/closing while people come into/leave rooms where those animal habitats are!

What sleep positions do Guinea Pigs like?

Guinea pigs usually sleep sitting up on their haunches, but they are also known to lie on their sides. When sleeping, their eyes remain open but their muscles relax so that they don’t move around much. The breathing rate slows down when the animal is asleep and becomes more regular. A healthy guinea pig will have regular periods where it sleeps for about an hour at a time throughout the day and night.

Guinea Pig Sleep Stages

These really are unique creatures. They tend to sleep in short bursts, with each bout of sleep lasting around 30 to 90 minutes or so. During this time, they will enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is when their eyes move back and forth rapidly under their eyelids and they become paralyzed so they won’t act out their dreams.

Their sleep cycles consist of 13% REM sleep, and 30% non-REM sleep. This means that the guinea pig will have three periods of sleep each day, and each one lasts about an hour. They usually sleep in the middle of the day, when it is hottest outside. At night, they will curl up in a ball and snuggle together to keep warm.

Reasons for Guinea Pig Sleep Issues

  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Temperature
  • Lack of sleep or too much sleep

Age and illness – older guinea pigs tend to sleep more than younger ones, as do any guinea pigs who are ill or suffering from a medical condition. If you notice that your guinea pig has been sleeping more than usual and seems lethargic when it does wake up, then you should take it to the vet immediately.

Stressed – your pet may have trouble sleeping if he is stressed out – if your guinea pig is uncomfortable around other animals, he may not get much sleep at all because he’s always on alert and ready to run away if necessary.

Poor diet – if your guinea pig doesn’t have access to healthy food, he won’t be able to stay awake long enough to enjoy normal activities.

No toys or furniture – guinea pigs need something interesting in their cage or pen so they have something fun to do when they aren’t eating or sleeping (and sometimes even when they are).

How can I tell when my guinea pig is asleep?

The heart rate slows down and breathing becomes slower and deeper. So if you look at him or her, they may have their eyes open, but is not moving around, playing, or chewing anything. If they are still, with regular deep breathing, they are probably asleep. Guinea pigs will close their eyes sometimes, but only when they feel completely safe and secure.

Are they nocturnal?

Guinea pigs are not nocturnal, but rather active both day and night. They’re crepuscular, which means that they’re most active at dawn and dusk (in other words, when you’re waking up for work). Guinea pigs sleep in a variety of positions: on their sides or backs with legs tucked under them and sometimes even on top of one another if their cages are small enough.

Some guinea pigs will also sleep standing up! This can happen if they’ve been startled awake by something or if they need to get away from something else nearby (like another guinea pig).

Do they hibernate?

Guinea pigs do not hibernate like some other small mammals (chipmunks, squirrels, or groundhogs). They do sleep more during the winter because they need to stay warm and conserve their energy.

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand more about the sleep patterns of guinea pigs. They are very interesting animals and we want to make sure that they get the best care possible!

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Sources & Resources

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

Here are a series of external sources you may find helpful as well:

  • “The Sleep Habits of Guinea Pigs.” PetMd, petmd.com/guinea-pig/nutrition/the-sleep-habits-of-guinea-pigs
  • Owen, J.A., Montrose, V.T., & Robinson, A. (2003). The Domestic Guinea Pig: Health Care and Breeding. Oxfordshire, UK: Manson Publishing Ltd
  • Pierantoni, L., Barros, S., Ceriotti, A., Fasano, C., & Veronesi, M.C.(2014). Sleep architecture in the guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) as a model for human insomnia. Behavioural Brain Research, 267(1), 243-250.
  • Frohlich, A., & Brunner, D. (2013). Sleep in the guinea pig: effects of age and housing conditions on wakefulness. BMC Veterinary Research 9(43): 1-7
  • Garrett, K., Babadi, S., de Vos, F.P., & Robinson, J. (2014). Characterization of sleep patterns in the guinea pig using electroencephalography/electromyography recordings. American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology 307(5): R600–R609

Pet News Daily Staff
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