If you have spent any time observing cavies and their curious activity patterns, you may find yourself asking questions like, “when do guinea pigs sleep?” and “is my piggie nocturnal?” Rean on to find out more about a guinea pig’s sleeping habits.
Guinea pigs are not nocturnal. Nocturnal animals are active only at night while they sleep during the day, which is not the case with guinea pigs. However, they’re not diurnal either (active during the day and sleep at night). Guinea pigs are crepuscular animals – they are most active at dawn and dusk.
When Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
Guinea pigs have a very peculiar sleeping schedule. Unlike other animals, guinea pigs take naps throughout both the day and night, sleeping in small laps of 10 to 30 minutes. Instead of having a single block of time each day dedicated to activity and another to sleep, they typically break it up into smaller chunks.
However, it’s not always a repetitive cycle. During the dawn and dusk hours, they’ll express a readiness to play, increase their feeding frequency, or display an explorative curiosity. Outside of these twilight hours, cavies will alternate between sleeping and lower levels of activity.
If your guinea pig seems to be more active at day than at night, or vice-versa, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. Much like humans, cavies vary in their preference for active times, with every individual guinea pig developing their own unique sleep cycle. In most cases, their sleep cycles are designed around their owners, exhibiting more activity when their owners are around.
How Long Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
Guinea pigs typically sleep around 4 to 6 hours in a 24-hour cycle. However, they do it in the form of short naps.
Guinea pigs developed this unique style of sleep because they’re considered prey animals in the wild and must always be on high alert for predators. By taking short naps and not needing much total sleep they can be more aware of their surroundings and stay on guard.
Are Guinea Pigs Light Sleepers?
Guinea pigs are light sleepers, which means they easily wake up when asleep. Every little movement or sound can disturb their sleep as they are evolved to be extremely alert and instinctively afraid of predators. That is why it’s important to provide your cavy with a comfortable and peaceful environment away from loud noises.
Is It Normal for Guinea Pigs to Sleep a Lot?
Just like humans, guinea pigs need their sleep. However, if they sleep too much, it could be an indication of an underlying health issue. If you notice that your cavy is spending more time napping than normal, isn’t interested in food and playing, or generally seems to be sulking, consider visiting the vet. Symptoms of serious health issues such as bacterial pneumonia include lethargy, depression, and loss of appetite.
Will Guinea Pigs Sleep with Their Eyes Open?
Guinea pigs rarely close their eyes, and will usually sleep with their eyes open. Cavies sleep in this unique way to protect themselves from any possible threat.
Guinea pigs are pretty low on the food chain. Over time, natural selection ensured the survival of cavies by evolving a new breed that could sleep with its eyes open. Today, even though these animals are domesticated, they still sleep with their eyes open.
Can Guinea Pigs Sleep in the Cold?
Although guinea pigs can live outside all year long, you must keep their hutches sufficiently protected from the cold, rain, and wind as they are sensitive to extreme temperatures and won’t sleep comfortably.
The ideal temperature range for guinea pigs is 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. If it drops below 59 degrees Fahrenheit, your piggy can get chilled. This increases their risk of developing illnesses, and if exposure to cold is prolonged, death can occur.
What Position Do Guinea Pigs Sleep in?
Guinea pigs sleep in almost any “awake” position. They don’t need to lie down when they sleep. If you notice that your cavy is standing entirely still, then he/she is probably sleeping. In some cases, a guinea pig might lie down with his/her head down, lie on his/her side, or burrow themselves in their hiding spot.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Sleep in Their Poop?
Cavies essentially eat around the clock, which means they poop quite often as well, including in their sleep. Although they have a longer colon than other rodents, guinea pigs have a highly efficient digestive system. A cavy that is fed a proper high-fiber diet that is made up of mostly long-strand grass hay can make up to 150 poops in a span of 24 hours.
As a result, you may find poop in their bedding, which is why you need to change them out frequently to ensure that your guinea pig stays healthy.
Do Guinea Pigs Like to Sleep in the Dark?
Guinea pigs love to sleep in the dark. If you can provide a dark, quiet, and comfortable environment for them, they feel more secure and might even take longer naps. That said, it doesn’t mean that they won’t sleep during the day when it’s light out. If you’ve ever observed your cavy keenly, you’ll notice that they’ll move to the darkest part of their enclosure or snuggle inside the bedding before taking a nap.
Should I Leave a Light on for My Guinea Pig at Night?
You don’t need to leave a light on for your cavy at night. If you’re considering one because you want them to navigate their way around at night, you’ll be happy to know that despite their relatively limited vision, they can rely on their other senses to get around.
One key anatomical feature is a guinea pig’s whiskers. They help cavies measure distances and get their bearing in different light conditions. They also have highly developed senses of hearing and smell that help them “see”.
Lastly, guinea pigs have a good spatial memory, which means that they’re skilled at remembering which routes to take and where objects are.
Are Guinea Pigs Noisy at Night?
Guinea pigs can be quite noisy at night. The noises that they make at night are not too loud, but they can be annoying for some people. Some of the noises they make at night include squeaking, chirping, and rumbling noises.