Everything To Know About Guinea Pig Sleeping Habits

Caring for guinea pigs is one of the most fulfilling things an individual can engage in as their fun-loving and exciting lifestyle can impact you positively.

But most new piggy owners tend to get confused about their sleeping habits when they wake from sleep to the squeals and rumbling sounds from their guinea pigs’ cage every night, and they begin to wonder if these animals ever go to sleep.

In this article, you’ll be learning everything there is to know about guinea pig sleeping habits. Starting from the question of “when and where do they sleep?” to the “how and why?”. 

Let’s get started!

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Everything to Know About Guinea Pig Sleeping Habits

Everything to Know About Guinea Pig Sleeping Habits

Being a new piggy owner, it’s normal to express your anxiety over their sleeping habits and even question if they are nocturnal. 

Well, to clear your worries of whether they sleep at night or not and how their short naps can affect their health, here are some interesting facts about them you need to know:

  • On average, guinea pigs sleep for four to six hours daily, but in short naps of maximum 30 minutes. They tend to sleep more during the day than at night.

When you understand how they live in the wild, it’ll be easy to understand why they behave the way they do in captivity. Being prey to many animals in the wild, it’s necessary for them to stay alert, hence why they do not sleep for longer periods at a go. 

  • Guinea pigs are not the greatest fans of sleep and don’t require so much of it to stay healthy. They sleep for a while and wake up to eat, play and explore their environment for longer periods.

Their wild nature could inform this habit. When not in their active periods of the day, they spend their time nibbling and relaxing.

  • Guinea pigs are not nocturnal. They sleep for short intervals both day and night. 
  • Guinea pigs do not need a night light. They do very well in the dark.

Behaviors When Guinea Pigs Are Sleeping

Behaviors When Guinea Pigs Are Sleeping

Like with other animals, guinea pigs exhibit certain behaviors when sleeping – Some of which are a thing of concern to the keeper.

While some behaviors such as sleeping with eyes open are normal, faint breathing while sleeping is certainly not normal behavior. 

Let’s discuss these behaviors in detail. 

It is common for guinea pigs to sleep with their eyes wide open; the reason behind this arises from their evolutionary lifestyle in the wild.

Back in the wild, guinea pigs developed the habit of sleeping with their eyes open as a way to stay alert and escape from predators when necessary.

Therefore, seeing your pet guinea pig sleep with its eyes open shouldn’t shock you in any way, as it is perfectly normal.

Sometimes, they also sleep with their eyes closed. This usually happens when they feel more relaxed and secure. 

Your guinea pig sleeping with the eyes closed is a sign of trust and proof of feeling relaxed and secure. However, it is completely normal if they’ve never done so and you shouldn’t get worried.

In a nutshell, you may never get to see your piggy sleep with its eyes closed all through its lifetime till it dies. All the same, this is not something to worry over so much.

Guinea pigs sleep by lying flat, with their head leaning forward. They also prefer to sleep in a dark environment, which is why they sleep longer at night than in the day. 

You may wonder, does this mean I can induce sleep during the day to get them to rest? Absolutely not. Do not induce your pet piggie to sleep in a dark cage.

As stated earlier, guinea pigs having faint breathing while asleep isn’t normal behavior. 

For your guinea pig to have trouble breathing even when asleep is a sign that it is sick of respiratory disease and this sign should be checked out by your vet as soon as you detect it. Earlier detection and treatment will prevent the situation from getting worse. 

Also read:

How Long Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

How Long Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Guinea pigs are crepuscular animals, meaning they are more active at dawn and dusk than at any other time of the day.

Generally, adult guinea pigs sleep for about four to six hours per day. But not for very long. They only sleep minutes at a time to recharge.

Older guinea pigs or those that have settled into a routine may rest for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Usually a maximum of 30 minutes. 

During the day, they mostly go about their usual eating and hideaway routine with some short naps in between. Then at night, they sleep longer in intervals of about two hours.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Sleep So Little?

Guinea pigs are smart animals, their sleeping for only a short while is an instinctive behavior that they developed in the wild.

They are prey to lots of animals such as snakes, hawks, owls, and many others in the wild, hence they can be attacked at any time. Guinea pigs have short naps and little overall sleep time so they can stay alert and ensure safety.

It shouldn’t be shocking or scary to you as a guinea pig owner if you observe your pig sleeping very little – It is normal.

However, they can sleep for extended periods if they feel relaxed with you, and this can only happen if you’ve bonded well with them to establish some level of trust. 

When Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

When Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Generally, guinea pigs sleep both during the day and at night, but they do so in intervals and not at a stretch as humans do. 

They sleep this way to gain enough strength to keep up with their active lifestyle. 

As a result of being prey animals trying to survive, guinea pigs take short naps in between activities throughout the day to stay safe from predators.

Although they sleep for only a short while, they do so calmly, especially after a great meal and if there’s nothing to distract them.

Where Does Your Guinea Pig Sleep?

Though guinea pigs do not sleep for a long time at once, they love to sleep in warm, safe, and cozy environments.

Guinea Pigs would often prefer to sleep in an enclosure with openings around it like warm caves, hideouts, and tunnels. This makes them feel safe enough to fall asleep.

As a guinea pig owner who wants to make your pet comfortable, you must first get them the ideal cage furnished with accessories that’ll help them feel comfortable, secure, and sleep peacefully in their hutch or cage. 

You should at least have a warm bed cave, a wooden hideout, and a wooden bridge/tunnel for your furry pet. These accessories are designed to meet your guinea pig’s requirements for a good sleeping environment, a feeling of security, and comfort.

Also read: 7 Top-Rated Guinea Pig Accessories to Buy in 2022!

Does A Guinea Pig Sleep More In Winter?

Yes, although guinea pigs do not hibernate during winter to keep warm and stay alive, they become less active, saving up their internal energy, and tend to sleep more. It is sufficient to say that they are less active in winter.

Guinea pigs are scientifically referred to as homeothermic animals meaning warm-blooded. This means that they maintain a stable body temperature required to function adequately.

Guinea pigs do not adjust their temperatures to soothe their environments like some animals, such as the naked mole-rat and frogs.

These animals and reptiles, in general, are easily affected by extreme temperatures, especially during the cold winter.

Also read: Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate?

How Do You Know When a Guinea Pig is Sleepy?

As a guinea pig owner or intending one, It is essential to get familiar with the signs of when a guinea pig is sleepy. This will help you make sure that they get comfortable by reducing the noise and movements around them at such times.

Guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open a lot, making it challenging for people and other animals to tell when they’re sleepy or have fallen asleep.

When Guinea pigs are sleepy, they tend to relax. Instead of moving around playfully, they start to slow down and ease up. This is common during great lap times. 

They often lay down in a comfortable position at this time, paying little attention to their environment as they trail off in sleep. If your guinea pig’s eyes are open, you will notice a distant look in the eyes as your piggy sleeps off.

Tips for Guinea Pigs to Sleep Well

Because guinea pigs do not sleep for long hours at a time like humans do not mean that sleep is not essential for their well-being.

Guinea pigs, just like every other animal, need to sleep to regain their energy and stay healthy. Though their sleep may be short, it is still important to do all we can to help them sleep well.

Let us look at a few tips to help your guinea pig sleep well.

  • The two most important things to guinea pigs are staying safe from predators and feeling comfortable. With this in mind, you have to provide them with a comfy cage and an environment that guarantees safety.
  • Keeping your piggies busy goes a long way in enhancing their sleep rates, from adding fun accessories to giving them enough veggies and Hays to snack on.
  • Maintain quietness, especially when they’re sleeping. This is because guinea pigs are prey animals, so any sudden noise gets them on alert mode and of course, brings an abrupt end to their sleep.
  • Do well to keep their cage clean. Guinea pigs have a very sharp sense of smell. A dirty cage will make them feel uncomfortable, and as you know, guinea pigs don’t sleep when they’re uncomfortable.
  • Maintaining a comfortable temperature in their cage is vital to helping them sleep well. Guinea pigs are comfortable at an airy room temperature of about 65°F- 75°F. Anything higher or lower than this is too much for them.
  • The kind of bedding used also affects how well guinea pigs sleep. Beddings of hay or fleece are best for your guinea pigs, as it keeps them warm and helps them feel cozy. Bedding that is rough or coarse to their skin will not encourage your piggies to sleep well.
  • If you’re setting up in preparation for the arrival of your guinea pigs, you can check out Timothy’s hay and fleece beddings. They’ll come in handy in pet stores or at Amazon.

By following these tips mentioned above, you would help your guinea pigs sleep well and as much as their body requires. 

Also read: 4 Best Guinea Pig Bedding

Can a Guinea Pig Sleep In Bed With You?

As sweet a thought as that is, it is best that you never allow your guinea pig to sleep in bed with you!

There are several risks attached to you sharing a bed with your furry pet, both to you and the guinea pig.

Guinea pigs don’t sleep as long as humans, but they eat more frequently than humans. Your furry pet sleeping in bed with you would mean no access to food and water through the night, which is harmful to their health.

You’ll also run the risk of rolling over on your pet and crushing the bones or, worse, killing the poor thing. Remember, guinea pigs are small animals.

Guinea pigs poop and wee a lot. If you do not want to run the risk of waking up in a pile of poop and soaked in urine or even getting sick from exposure to these, you shouldn’t let your guinea pig sleep in bed with you!

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Your Guinea Pig Sleeps A Lot

If you observe your guinea pig sleeping a lot more than usual, it is important to look into the cause of the sudden change to make sure it’s normal.

As guinea pigs grow older, they tend to sleep more. This also is partly because they’ve grown accustomed to you and the environment, especially if you’ve had them since they were young. In this case, it is completely normal.

Another reason a guinea pig will suddenly start sleeping more than usual is a change in temperature. Increased cold or heat can make your guinea pig lazy and more sleepy.

Being warm-blooded animals, they do not thrive in extreme weather conditions and are not very active in extreme temperatures such as too hot or too cold.

On the condition that your pet’s new sleeping habit is accompanied by other signs such as no desire for food, being lethargic or heavy breathing, there may be an undiagnosed ailment attached. In this case, you should take it to your vet for proper diagnosis.

It is common knowledge among pet owners that regular vet check-ups are vital; however, some circumstances can cause you to skip one or two.

If you have missed some appointments and discover your guinea pig is showing a couple or more of the symptoms mentioned above, you should go see the vet quickly.

Your pet guinea pig could be down with illness, and excessive sleep is just a response to the presence of that ailment.

Why Does My Guinea Pig Not Sleep?

All animals require adequate sleep, and though the amount of time each needs to sleep for may differ, all animals must get the necessary amount of sleep for their own body to function well.

Sometimes, especially when newly adopted, you may seem never to catch your guinea pig sleeping, causing you to worry.

However, the chances are that your guinea pig is sleeping, but you can’t tell.

Because guinea pigs have a unique sleeping habit of sleeping in short naps and often with their eyes open, you may not know when your guinea pig is asleep and think something is wrong.

Some guinea pigs sleep for as short as 10 minutes at a go. If this is the case with yours, coupled with keeping their eyes wide open while asleep, you may not be able to tell that your pet slept. 

The key to ending your doubt is understanding how guinea pigs behave when they are sleepy. You’ll end up realizing your pet has been sleeping all along.

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Guinea Pig Sleeping Habits FAQs

How do guinea pigs like to sleep?

Guinea pigs sleeping habits can be referred to as crepuscular. They sleep in short naps and are more active at dawn and dusk.

Do guinea pigs like sleeping in the dark?

Yes! In the wild, guinea pigs would crawl into dark tunnels and caves to nap. This is still their habit, even as domesticated pets.

Is it good if my guinea pig sleeps on me?

Yes, it is. Your guinea pig sleeping on you helps to strengthen the bond between both of you.

What does it mean when your guinea pig sleeps around you?

Your Guinea pig sleeping around you is a sign that you’ve earned the trust of your furry pet. Guinea pigs sleep safely hidden in a tunnel or hideout, so if they do so around you, it means that they trust and feel safe with you.

Final Sentences

The Sleeping habit of a guinea pig is unique. It’s one thing that sets them apart from other small animals. It is a topic that intrigues a lot of pet owners and intending ones.

Having a clear understanding of everything there is to know about the sleeping habits of guinea pigs helps you to relate better with them.

Guinea pigs are an excellent pet to consider for adoption. With adequate understanding, you can plan towards adopting yours or enjoy a beautiful life with your pet if you’ve done so.

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