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Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal? Sleep Cycle Facts & FAQs

Jeff Weishaupt

By Jeff Weishaupt

 

guinea pig sleeping in its cage

Guinea pigs are fun, quirky animals with cheerful personalities. One minute you will find them playing and making noises, and the next minute they become quiet and fall asleep. Guinea pigs do sleep like other living beings, but it’s for short periods, similar to power naps that humans take.

The sleeping schedule of guinea pigs is not fixed. These adorable animals fall asleep anytime, anywhere, whether it’s day or night. So, no, guinea pigs are not nocturnal. They are more crepuscular than anything else, but it still doesn’t quite match up.

While some guinea pigs sleep at night, others do so during the day. However, that doesn’t apply to every animal since all of them are different from each other. So, the question is: When do guinea pigs sleep? And how can you know when it’s your pet’s sleeping time?

Let’s dig deeper into this topic to find answers to all our questions.

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Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Guinea pigs are interesting animals, especially when it comes to sleeping habits. Many people confuse them as nocturnal—being active at night and sleepy during the day—but that’s not actually the case. The truth is that guinea pigs do sleep, but their schedules don’t really fall into any particular category.

It’s believed that most guinea pigs are crepuscular, meaning being active between dawn and dusk or twilight. It usually applies to wild guinea pigs. Dawn and dusk are the best time for these species to come out of their burrows and search for food.

Generally, guinea pigs stay awake throughout the day, taking short power naps whenever they like. You’ll be surprised to know that a guinea pig usually sleeps only a few hours daily. An adult guinea pig sleeps more or less 4 to 6 hours a day, depending on their sleeping habits and environment.

In a nutshell, a guinea pig can be active during the day, at night, or between dawn to dusk. You can only know about your pet’s sleeping habits by observing them. Believe us, it’s super fun to do!

Pet and Wild Guinea Pigs: How Do Their Sleep Schedules Differ?

Guinea Pigs Eating Cilantro
Image Credit by: Janna Polyarnaya, Shutterstock

Guinea pigs are usually active early in the morning and evening, mostly from dusk to dawn. That’s when wild guinea pigs come out of their hiding places and carry out their daily activities. Since they are hard to detect during this period, there are fewer chances of getting eaten by predators.

Some guinea pigs also come out at night to explore their surroundings while being camouflaged. As the sun seems to rise, they return to their homes to energize themselves for the next night’s adventure.

Comparatively, a pet guinea pig doesn’t have to deal with predators, so they’re likely to sleep more than wild ones. Their sleeping schedule also varies greatly. You may find them super active during the day, playing with pure energy and in deep slumber a few minutes later. That’s how unpredictable pet guinea pigs are!

Again, it’s hard to determine the right time for your guinea pig’s sleep when you have just brought them home. The process takes time, so be patient. If your guinea pig sleeps suddenly at 2 PM, leave them for a while to rest properly.

In fact, many guinea pig owners report that their pets have synced their sleeping schedules with their nap timings. For example, you will mostly find them active and playful when you are at home or moving around. But as soon as you relax or nap, your guinea pig also goes silent, possibly sleeping.

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How to Know If Your Guinea Pig is Fulfilling Their Sleeping Needs?

Sleep is important for guinea pigs as it is for any living being. Getting enough sleep keeps them healthy and more active throughout the day. So, as a responsible pet owner, you must ensure your pet sleeps well daily.

But how can you determine if your guinea pig’s sleeping needs are fulfilled? Here are some things to look for:

guinea pig eating lettuce
Image Credit by: Tomasz Stepien, Shutterstock.

A Good Appetite

If your adorable pet is eating their regular diet daily in appropriate quantities, it means their sleep cycle is working fine. The best nutrition plan for guinea pigs includes vegetables (carrots, celery, and zucchini) and fruits (watermelon and rockmelon). Any day you observe them not eating like they used to, take them to a vet for an urgent checkup.

Regular Activity

Another thing to ensure your guinea pig is getting enough sleep is if they are active throughout the day. Healthy guinea pigs are always playing, jumping, and running around your home.

They also chirp and squeal the entire day, but that’s mostly the case with younger ones. Adult pigs are usually not very active. So, if your guinea pig seems lazy and lethargic, take them to a vet to find out if it’s due to an underlying health issue or insufficient sleep.

two guinea pigs under the couch
Image Credit by: Bonnie Kittle, Unsplash

Vocalization

Guinea pigs are vocal and expressive animals. When they’re happy and well-rested, you’ll find them vocalized when playing, talking to other guinea pigs, or trying to build a conversation with their human parents. Of course, you won’t understand what they’re saying, but it’s so adorable to see them squealing and chattering.

But if your vocal guinea pig suddenly becomes quiet, know there is something wrong. It won’t always be insufficient sleep, but it can be a severe medical issue. Only a professional vet can identify the reason.

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Conclusion

Guinea pigs are not nocturnal animals. Their sleeping schedule varies greatly, with different species being active at night, morning, or dawn. However, it’s believed that guinea pigs are largely crepuscular, meaning they’re the most active during twilight (dusk till dawn).

Wild guinea pigs are more likely to be crepuscular, as it’s the best time to search for food without getting eaten by predators. Pet guinea pigs, however, can fall asleep anytime, anywhere, since they have no such threats.

Your guinea pig needs about 4 to 8 hours of sleep daily. Instead of completing their needs at once, they take short power naps multiple times daily. So, don’t freak out when your adorable pet suddenly becomes quiet—they’re just recharging themselves!

 

Featured Image Credit: Shchus, Shutterstock

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