Guinea Pig Sleeping Habits: Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal?

Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal

Are guinea pigs nocturnal?

No! They are not. But then why they are active almost throughout the night.

No doubt guinea pigs are active through the night, but if you are a guinea pig owner you will know that they are also active throughout the day as well. Given the strange sleeping habits of guinea pigs, many novice guinea pig owners are often found questioning: Are guinea pigs nocturnal? Do guinea pigs sleep? Ever? Do guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open or closed?

If you have been overwhelmed by these questions, or you just adopted a guinea pig, you should continue reading. In this blog, we are going to answer all your queries about guinea pig sleeping habits.

Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal?

No, guinea pigs are not nocturnal. They take naps during the night, but they will also be napping intermittently throughout the day. They are most active during twilight. So, technically, they are crepuscular.  If you are a piggy parent, you will notice that your piglets are the most active at dawn and dusk, when the light is dim.

Do Guinea Pigs sleep?

Have you ever seen a healthy guinea pig with its eyes closed? Probably never!

As most guinea pig owners rarely observe their guinea pigs sleeping with their eyes closed, they wonder do guinea pigs sleep.

Well, guinea pigs do sleep but unlike humans, they usually sleep with their eyes wide open. That said, guinea pigs might sleep with their eyes closed if they are 200% sure that they are completely safe and secure. The habit of sleeping with their eyes open enables guinea pigs to stay observant of their surroundings all the time, even while sleeping. So, while sleeping in the wild, if a predator is lurking in the vicinity, guinea pigs would spot it and make a successful run for their life.

How Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Guinea pigs sleep with their eyes wide open. And instead of having a long sleep like humans, guinea pigs take short naps of about 10 to 30 minutes, throughout the day and night. they never go into a deep sleep. One more thing, guinea pigs never sleep on their side. Guinea pigs may lay on their side when they are fully relaxed, happy, and feeling safe. But if your guinea pig has been laying on his side for more than a few minutes, you should check up on him. There might be something wrong with your guinea pig. 

How Long Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Overall, guinea pigs sleep for around 4 to 6 hours a day. But instead of sleeping for 4-6 hours in one go, guinea pigs take short naps of about 10 to 30 minutes. Where younger guinea pigs nap for only a couple of minutes, older guinea pigs or adult guinea pigs that have developed a routine may sleep for up to 30 minutes at a time. Overall older guinea pigs may sleep for up to 9 hours a day.

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Yes! Being prey animals, guinea pigs are evolved to sleep with their eyes open so that they are always aware of their surroundings. So, if your piggy has been standing still for a couple of minutes with its eyes wide open, he is probably taking a nap.

That said, guinea pigs may close their eyes while sleeping if they are 200% sure that there is no threat lurking around. However, most guinea pig owners would never witness their guinea pig with its eyes closed. If your guinea pig seems to never close its eyes, you may think that you are doing something wrong and your piggy is not feeling safe and comfortable in its habitat. But it is not the case; there is no reason for you to feel bad and blame yourself. Guinea pigs are just evolved to sleep this way.

Can Guinea Pigs See In the Dark?

No! Guinea pigs cannot see very well in the dark. However, using their strong sense of smell, hearing, whiskers, and spatial memory, they can easily navigate through their cage even in the dark without bumping into walls, hides, or other things in their cage.

Do Guinea Pigs Have a Night Vision?

No! Guinea pigs do not have a night vision. It is the reason that they are not able to see clearly in the dark. However, despite the lack of night vision, guinea pigs can safely navigate through their cage even during the darkest of the night using their sharp sense of smell, and hearing and by using their long whiskers. So, you don’t have to keep a light on in your guinea pig cage during the nighttime.

Do Guinea Pigs Like the Dark?

Yes! Being prey animals, guinea pigs have evolved to like the dark as they feel the safest during the nighttime when predators are not able to see them. So, your guinea pig would really appreciate it if you could turn off all the lights in the house during the nighttime.  

They have got their whiskers, strong sense of smell, and amazing spatial memory to help them navigate during the nighttime without clumsily bumping into things.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Sunlight?

Direct sunlight? No!

Indirect sunlight? Yes!

Excessive amounts of direct sunlight could make guinea pigs too hot and increase the risk of heat stroke, exhaustion, and dehydration in guinea pigs, which in extreme cases could become life-threatening.

Conversely, a source of indirect sunlight is not only crucial for the natural daylight activities but also for your guinea pigs to synthesize vitamin D3, which is necessary for the breakdown and absorption of calcium. Indirect sunlight, lightening your guinea pig habitat, also helps build day and night and day cycle in guinea pigs, which helps guinea pigs develop a routine.

Should You Cover Your Guinea Pig Cage At Night?

It is not necessary. But if you feel it is a bit cold, you could partially cover the cage. Always make sure that there is ample room for proper ventilation. If your guinea pig is sleeping, cover the cage with caution or you might wake up or startle your guinea pig.

When Are Guinea Pigs Most Active?

Guinea pigs are most active during the twilight—during the time before the sunrise and before the sunset—period of dim light when the sun is partially illuminating the atmosphere. The habit of being active during the period of dim light is traced back to the habits of wild guinea pigs who are most active during this time as most predators do not have good visibility during this time and guinea pigs can forage for food for the day.

That said, you may also witness your guinea pigs being active all the time. Known as kings of power naps, guinea pigs nap for a couple of minutes at a time to get recharged for hours of activity.

Final Verdict: Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal?

No! Guinea pigs are most active in the early morning before sunrise and in the evening before the sunset, so they are technically crepuscular. Instead of one long sleep, guinea pigs take short naps of about 10 to 30 minutes throughout the day and night. Usually, guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open, so you might not notice your piglet napping during the day.

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