Guinea pigs often get categorised alongside a number of family-friendly pets due to their size and their similar appearance. However, if you’re going to give your furry friend the best possible life, it’s important to understand their habits and routines.

Most pets fall into either nocturnal (asleep during the day, awake at night) or diurnal (asleep at night, awake during the day) sleeping patterns. So which category does the guinea pig fall into? That’s what we’re going to talk through today, including other aspects of their sleeping habits that you should be aware of.

Do guinea pigs sleep during the day?

There are some pets, like hamsters for example, that are nocturnal and are therefore more active at night. Guinea pigs, however, are not nocturnal, so they will not sleep during the day unless they fancy a nap or if they have been disturbed at night.

All guinea pigs are a little bit different, so there is no set sleeping habit you can define. They tend to like to take naps at different times of the day, but this does not mean they’re specifically nocturnal. It also doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to spot when they’re napping because it’s for such short periods of time.

A quick recharge is often what your guinea pig will need.

How long should my guinea pig sleep for?

Most guinea pigs like to sleep for anywhere between four and six hours. Keep in mind that this is an average length of time, so your piggy might be a little bit more active and adventurous, or they might like to get a few extra winks compared to others. 

Again, it’s unlikely that your guinea pig will sleep for four hours all at once — their nap times can be quite short, lasting between 15 and 30 minutes on average. 

Some guinea pigs can even sleep with their eyes open, making it even harder to spot! This is likely an evolutionary trait that would have served them in the wild as they would need to keep an eye out for predators at all times. This is not a rare trait for small, furry creatures that would naturally be preyed upon if left to their own devices.

It’s important not to disturb your guinea pig if it is sleeping; always respect the routine and boundaries of your piggy for a happy relationship with your pet. 

Where do guinea pigs like to sleep?

Guinea pigs will tend to sleep wherever they feel comfortable. But since they’re known to be quite timid creatures, don’t be put off if your piggy doesn’t seem to sleep around you — it’s only natural.

It makes most sense that guinea pigs will take most of their nap time in their cage, but should you cover the cage or hutch when they’re in it? The answer is no, it’s not totally necessary. However, you may want to partially cover the cage just in case they prefer a darker, more sheltered spot. Again, this might call back to a historic trait of seeking dark, sheltered spots to avoid predators.

The temperature is also a crucial point for guinea pigs. They like to be kept at a fairly regular and even temperature between 18°C and 23°C. That means they don’t like to be too cold and they don’t like to be too hot. Keeping your guinea pig indoors is quite common, since they may not like the cold and inclement weather that comes with being positioned in the garden or garage.

When is the best time to play with my guinea pig?

The truth is, playtime, where you might feed or handle your guinea pig if they enjoy that kind of activity, is best suited to the individual piggy. Never try to wake your guinea pig up or force a timid piggy to be held. Interaction and playtime should always be on their terms so that they feel comfortable and you create the best possible bond.

How will I know if my guinea pig is sleepy?

There are a few signs you can look out for to get a sense of whether your guinea pig is tired. You might find they’re quite similar to your other pets and even us humans, but keep your eye out for:

  • Big yawns
  • A low chirping sound
  • Circling in their cage to find the right spot
  • Moving their hay or bedding to create the right spot

Remember not to disturb your guinea pig while he or she sleeps, as it’s an important window for them to get their rest and lower stress levels. If, however, your piggy is acting more lethargic than usual and remains quite silent and still, it could indicate a poorly pet. If this is out of character for them, we recommend seeking the advice of a vet to ensure they are not unwell and in need of treatment.

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