Guinea Pigs

Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal? All You Need to Know About Their Sleep Pattern


Guinea pigs are fascinating creatures; they are cute, lovely, and fun to have as pets. The pigs are sociable but get very lonely if kept alone.

Thus, it’s ideal to have more than one guinea pig. Whenever guinea pigs are excited, they jump straight into the air and do a little twist before landing on their feet.

If you have one, you would observe that they seem always to be awake and ready to greet you once they sight you coming.

Therefore, you may be confused if guinea pigs are nocturnal.

As it is with humans, sleep is very vital to the normal functioning of guinea pigs.

And in this article, you will know if guinea pigs sleep.

Are guinea pigs really nocturnal?

Guinea pigs, just like you and I, tend to be awake during the day and sleep at night. But they are mostly active at dawn and dusk.

This implies that even when guinea pigs sleep at night, they do not do so throughout the night.

As prey animals, they stay awake most of the time to be alert of their surroundings for fear of unsuspecting predators.

Why do guinea pigs sleep so little?

Guinea pigs are prey to many predators and no one wants to be a dinner to an enemy.

Therefore, guinea pigs sleep so little to be at alert to predators and other dangers.

Guinea pigs sleep in short intervals so that a predator would not catch them unaware snoring in their hays. So guinea pigs sleep little so as to keep alert of their environment.

Does the little time guinea pigs sleep affect them?

The weird sleeping habit of guinea pig of staying awake almost all day has its effects as follows:

They will not sleep most of the day and at night too. If they sleep, it is within short intervals of between 3-10 minutes or 30 minutes at most.

The guinea pigs are more active at dawn and dusk.

What are the sleeping habits of guinea pigs?

When it comes to sleeping habits, guinea pigs are very odd creatures.

Even though guinea pigs are generally not active in the day or at night, their sleeping habits may vary from one species to another. One sleeping habit they exhibit is sleeping with their eyes open.

Do guinea pigs keep their eyes open while sleeping?

Sleeping with eyes open is normal for guinea pigs unless they are safe and not in danger of predators in their environment.

In other words, guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open to keep them alert. 

Though guinea pigs do not close their eyes as often as they ought to, they do so when they are 100 percent asleep.

For how many hours do guinea pigs sleep?

There are no exact hours meant for guinea pigs to sleep. Unlike humans who sleep at a stretch in the day or at night, guinea pigs only take short naps.

And a summation of all the naps could amount to an average of hours. While some guinea pigs can hardly sleep for even 4 hours, some can stay awake for as long as 15-20 hours without sleeping.

However, research has shown that younger guinea pigs (compared to adult guinea pigs) sleep at shorter intervals.

Are there specific sleeping positions for guinea pigs?

As a guinea pig owner, you will observe that they sleep in an almost ‘awake’ position. That being said, they sleep, leaning their head forward.

If they are unusually relaxed and feel very comfortable, they may settle down on their side, almost outstretched.

Do guinea pigs have clear vision at night?

Guinea pigs indeed prefer to stay in the dark. Although they do not have a clear vision at night, they still navigate their habitat without hassles.

Seeing at night is possible due to their sharp memory to remember passageways and different routes around their surroundings.

What are the different stages of sleep in guinea pigs?

The different stages of sleep in guinea pigs are as follows:

Stage1: The early stage of sleep when a guinea pig is beginning to settle down.

Stage 2: The period before deep sleep occurs.

Stage 3: The time of deep sleep

Stage 4: The stage of dreaming

None of these stages exceeds a few minutes.

Where do guinea pigs find sleep more comfortable?

Earlier on, we said guinea pigs sleep with their eyes closed when they are incredibly comfortable.

As such, they can get maximum sleep if their bedding consists of hay (preferably the third cut of hay) because of the comfort it offers.

Also, hay aids in mimicking the natural habitats in which the guinea pigs lived before domesticating.

On the other hand, since they cannot make burrows in their cages, they can sleep better if they have a safe and cozy hideaway in their cages.

How to make your guinea pigs sleep at night?

If you happen to share the same room with your guinea pigs, you may want to eliminate the noise by all possible means.

One way to do that is to get them to sleep at night. It becomes feasible when you cause them to adopt your activity cycle.

Engaging and interacting with them most of the day while ensuring that the room is silent and dark can work out the magic.

Does the environment affect sleep in guinea pigs?

Yes, it does. Environment and climate affects the sleep in guinea pigs. When the weather is hot, guinea pigs sleep in the day to conserve energy, becoming active at night.

When the weather is cold, they become active in the day and sleep predominantly at night.

Guinea pigs do not thrive well in places that are either too hot or too cold; instead, they resort to their burrows in such times.

Does temperature affect sleep in guinea pigs?

Yes, it does. Guinea pigs enjoy average room temperature (that is, 75 degrees Fahrenheit).

Keeping the guinea pigs in the range of 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit is not ideal. High temperatures (mainly from direct sunlight) can lead to overheating in their bodies thus affecting them.

Do guinea pigs make much noise at night?

Although guinea pigs communicate with themselves by making peculiar sounds, they do not make much noise even when they are active at night.

You may hear some light noises if you share a room with them. Also, if your guinea pig is loud at night, it may be for an apparent reason, such as lack of food or water, which they require at the moment.


While guinea pigs do not have particular sleep times, they sleep best in cozy environments void of noise and predators.

Also, their sleep intervals are very short as they sleep intermittently.

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