How Much do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

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Guinea pigs are very interesting pets. From their looks to their behavior and size to how they interact themselves, these fluffy animals are quite fascinating. But one question that lingers in everyone’s mind is whether guinea pigs sleep or not.

If you are getting started with raising guinea pigs, you might have noticed that these little animals are always active. This behavior might leave you wondering if they do fall asleep and what time or how long they sleep.

These rodents do sleep just like other animals. On average, they sleep for about four hours every day but in small laps. Sleeping is important because it allows them to rest after staying active for long.

Guinea pigs are not like any other robot rodents that stay awake throughout. In fact, they sleep longer as they age because they become weak and more used to their surroundings.

To make you understand how these pets sleep, we will start by answering a few questions in the following sections. This will help you understand better how your fluffy friends enjoy their nap.

When do Guinea Pigs Sleep-at Day or Night?

Interestingly, guinea pigs are neither diurnal or nocturnal animals. This means they don’t have a specific time that you can say they sleep. Some people think that these creatures sleep during the day time while others believe that they sleep at night.

So, the question is, where do guinea pigs belong? The simple answer is, they are crepuscular animals. This term refers to animals that remain active both at night and during the day. These animals are usually active in the early hours of the morning and during sunset.

This should tell you that you need to adjust your time to coincide with that of your guinea pigs in order to handle them properly. If not, you will really have it tough when it comes to interacting and taking care of your fluffy friend.

However, you can easily overcome such problems by taking into account the following tips:

  • Create a separate room to accommodate your guinea pigs. This will prevent their noises from reaching you.
  • Give them a few chew toys and quiet toys to keep them busy.
  • Make sure that they have enough water and food before sleeping.

Unlike other mammals, guinea pigs have a bizarre sleeping pattern. They sleep in short laps ranging between 10 and 30 minutes. If you observe them closely, you will realize that they are more active during the day than at night.

They usually sleepless hours in the day than at night. But each guinea pig develops its own sleep cycle. Most of them are active when their keepers are around. So, when you approach their cage to have a look at them don’t be surprised to find them awake and gazing at each other.

Their bizarre sleep schedule comes about as a result of being at the bottom of the food chain. As such, they have to stay alert throughout to protect themselves against predators.

How Much Sleep do Guinea Pigs Need?

Guinea pigs spend at least four hours of sleep per day. As stated earlier, they do it in short naps at certain intervals. Normally they rest at intervals of 2-3 all the way to 8-10 minutes when it is day time. At night, they sleep for longer intervals. One nap can last up to half an hour.

Guinea pigs, unlike other animals, are not heavy sleepers. They are always on the lookout for predators or intruders.

While humans need at least eight hours of sleep, these little creatures can only manage four hours of sleep within 24 hours. Also, they divide their sleeping time into small laps which can last longer depending on the time of the day.

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep Upside Down?

Guinea pigs do not sleep upside down. But they can take any position when lying down depending on different situations. These fluffy pets can choose to lie in many positions depending on which one makes them feel comfortable.

For instance, if you see your guinea pig resting on his side (with no signs of illness) just know that he is looking for a comfortable position. When relaxed, your guinea pigs will feel safe, stretch their bodies and get into a comfortable position.

When sick, you will find your guinea pigs lying on their sides. In most cases, they stay in one place without moving, but showing signs of lethargy, heavy breathing and panting among others. If you find your fluffy friend lying on his side, not interested in playing with you and unwilling to move, then call the vet immediately.

Also lying on the side could indicate that your guinea pig is suffering from heatstroke. When scared, you will see your pet rolling over and pretending to be dead. More often than not, they will lie down on their backs to show you that they are frightened.

Look around to find the cause of their behavior and get rid of anything that looks suspicious to make them behave normally.

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep with Closed or Open Eyes?

Guinea pigs do not close their eyes when sleeping and for one major reason. These little animals keep themselves alert throughout to avoid becoming an easy meal for ever-hungry predators.

As we had mentioned earlier, guinea pigs are one of the animals that occupy the bottom section of the food chain. This means they are preyed on by other animals for food.

Throughout time, these beautiful rodents learned to use their vision in order to stay safe in the wild. As it seems, this trait has found its way into every guinea pig regardless of where they live.

But it does imply that they don’t close their eyes. These pets have eyelids just like other mammals and on rare occasions, they use them to close their eyes when taking a nap.

They do so especially when they feel safe and relaxed. If you want to see them asleep with their eyes closed, just create a cozy hiding place in their cage. In addition to that, you need to make them confident enough so they may trust you to fall asleep with their eyes closed. Otherwise, you will never get a chance of seeing them asleep while their eyes are closed.

How do You Tell if Your Guinea Pig is Sleeping?

Now, this is the most challenging part of these little creatures. You need to be more experienced with these animals to know when they are sleeping. If you notice one or several of your guinea pigs standing still, it is more likely that they are taking a nap.

The sight of your guinea pigs sleeping is quite mesmerizing, to say the least. This is because you can easily mistake them for being in deep thought for quite a while.

Apart from that, you may come across your fluffy friend lying on the floor with his head down or lying on his side. These are all signs of taking a rest or rather, sleeping.

On rare occasions, you might find them lying down with their eyes closed. If this happens, just know that they are sound asleep in a safe environment.

Do Guinea Pigs Need Darkness to Sleep?

Yes, guinea pigs prefer sleeping in the dark. When their environment is darker, these small creatures feel safer and comfortable. That explains clearly why they hide most of the time when taking a nap.

In the darkness, they feel that they are not exposed to any danger that may threaten their existence. Besides, most of their owners keep them in places with less or no light at all. With time, they get used to such places with minimal light.

Due to their poor sight, guinea pigs feel safe where light is scarce. This is the reason they start moving around when it is dark.

Despite their poor eyesight, they can still use other senses to find their way in a dark place. So, they need darkness to enjoy their sleep at any time of the day or night.

Can Guinea Pigs See in the Dark?

By now you know that guinea pigs are active both during the day and at night. Does this mean that they can see in the dark? The astounding answer to this question is no. Guinea pigs are not able to see when there’s darkness around them.

On the contrary, they can still move around and find their way in the darkness without any problem. This is possible given that they have vivid memory which allows them to remember pathways, tunnels, obstacles and so on.

Researchers, however, insist that their hearing ability and strong smell play a significant role in navigating through the darkness. This shows that even if they cannot see in the dark, they can still move around freely without getting lost.

As their owner, do you think it is appropriate to provide them with a night light? Since guinea pigs prefer staying in the darkness, it is not a good idea to install a night light inside their cages. If you do, you will bring some confusion in their body clock. They might think that it is still day and this can affect their health negatively.

Can You Sleep with Your Guinea Pig?

This sounds weird in the first place. But you can indeed sleep with your fluffy friend although it is not advisable.

Below are reasons why you should not dare sleep with your guinea pig:

  • Just like rodents, guinea pigs poop and pee most of the time and at shorter intervals. In this case, they will end up messing your bedding and your bedroom as well.
  • Their safety is also a matter of concern when they are lying beside you at night. If you turn around while asleep you might hurt them in the process.
  • At night, guinea pigs become more active than during the day. Actually, this is the right time to look around for their food and water. If they don’t find their food they might end up making a lot of noise, thus affecting your sleep.
  • The other concern about sleeping beside these pets is the diseases they carry and the allergies they cause. Given that guinea pigs aren’t hypoallergenic animals, they are likely to carry some illnesses and allergens which can become detrimental to your health.

With these reasons at the back of your mind, you might think twice before allowing your guinea pigs to share your bed with you. To remain on the safe side, you must not let these pets share a bedroom with you by all means.

Why is Your Guinea Pig not Sleeping?

Have you ever noticed that your guinea pig is not sleeping or taking a proper rest when he supposed to? If yes, then you should find the solution to this problem. When your fluffy pet fails to sleep well you should know that there is something wrong. That’s exactly what we are going to discuss in detail. So, what could be the problem?

Inadequate Temperature

Guinea pigs deserve the best environment that will keep them comfortable and safe throughout. Having said that, these little creatures love comfort especially when they are taking a nap. In this regard, you should take into consideration the temperature around them or inside their cages.

Guinea pigs feel settled and happy where the temperature is just right for their bodies. Given that they are mammals, they also enjoy a temperature range of 18 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius.

Anything lower or higher than this temperature range can make their bodies to go cold or cause a heat stroke. On that note, make sure that their living area has the recommended temperature range to keep them comfortable. With the right temperature, your guinea pigs will have a good sleep.

Apart from setting the right temperature for your guinea pigs, ensure that their cage is placed where temperatures don’t change rapidly. This is because these rodents don’t respond very well to rapid temperature changes. Such changes in temperature can make them uncomfortable and affect their sleeping patterns.

Lack of Hiding Space

Guinea pigs feel secure when they have a place to hide. Remember, they are prey animals that survive by hiding away from potential predators.

For them to enjoy their sleep, they need enough space and a place to hide. Lack of hiding facilities inside the cage might affect your guinea pig’s sleeping schedule in one way or another.

But providing your pets with a well-structured hiding box will give them a sense of security whenever they are sleeping. To make them feel more comfortable, you may cover these hiding places with some hay or other bedding materials.

Improper Diet

Improper diet is another reason why your guinea pigs are finding it difficult to sleep. In your case, you will not sleep properly if you don’t get enough food. The same case applies to these pets. If you don’t provide them with enough food or proper diet, they will get troubled when it comes to sleeping.

Guinea pigs need food most of the time because they are always active. Food helps them gain the energy they need to move around during the day or even at night.

If they don’t get enough food, they will start making noises instead of sleeping. To avoid such cases, you are advised to serve them with a proper diet containing essential nutrients that will keep them healthy and strong.

Most significantly, ensure that you feed them well before bedtime. When they are full, they will retire to rest without causing any commotion in their cage.

Improper Bedding

Even though guinea pigs are just animals, they also deserve the best things that will make their lives exciting. Speaking of good things, you need to provide these lovely fluffy friends with proper bedding to enable them to enjoy their sleep.

Perfect bedding for guinea pigs is all you need to set up if you want them to have peace of mind when sleeping. To achieve this feat, it is prudent that you find appropriate bedding materials that will keep your pets warm and comfortable throughout.

An excellent soft and high-quality bedding is the only gift you can give your guinea pigs to make them happy. At least, your little friends will enjoy their sleep on their proper bedding materials during the night or daytime.

Conclusion

By now you can comfortably answer the question, “do guinea pigs sleep?”. These tiny creatures are just like any other animals in many different ways. They sleep, eat and display different characteristics depending on their mood.

When it comes to their sleeping patterns, guinea pigs choose to sleep anytime they feel like. That is why they are classified as crepuscular animals as opposed to either nocturnal or diurnal animals.

When sleeping their eyes remain open to keep them alert. Occasionally they close them but only when they are very comfortable and secure.

Finally, they prefer dark places when they want to sleep. Now that you have this information at your fingertips, you will find it easier to handle your little fluffy friends.

Updated: August 5, 2020

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