How Do Guinea Pigs Sleep? Habits and Facts

Guinea pigs don’t sleep with their eyes open. This is why you might be wondering how they sleep if they do at all.

Moreover, they tend to have an unusual sleeping schedule. They sleep for four to six hours a day but stretch it out throughout the day with naps.

Here’s a guide on everything you need to know about guinea pigs sleeping habits and facts.

Guinea Pigs Sleep

Guinea pigs’ sleeping habits and schedules are quite different than ours.

In fact, it is difficult to tell if your guinea pig is sleeping or not.

Every time you see a guinea pig, you will see them chewing, running around, and doing anything but sleeping.

Whenever you approach them, they will likely be ready to greet you.

This is also the very reason why guinea pigs need sleep. These animals are pretty active, so they do need their own rest to replenish their energy.

On average, they need at least four to six hours of sleep. The exact number depends on each guinea pig and its types and needs.

Guinea pigs are neither diurnal nor nocturnal. They simply have short naps throughout the day that last from a few seconds up to ten minutes.

However, they might even sleep for up to half an hour. This is extremely rare and would only happen when your pet is extremely tired, sleepy, or relaxed.

Younger guinea pigs tend to have shorter spurts of sleep. They also sleep for fewer hours daily than older guinea pigs since the younger ones have more energy.

Guinea Pigs Sleeping Schedule

These cuddly creatures don’t have a set one when it comes to schedules. Unlike most rodents, they don’t have a designated sleeping schedule or spot.

Guinea pigs sleep whenever they feel the need to replenish their energy. They will also only sleep under the preferred conditions.

How Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Perhaps the most unusual thing about guinea pigs is that they sleep with their eyes open. This means that you can never tell when they have taken their rest.

These animals have intervals of sleep in a matter of a few winks. They sleep with their eyes wide open.

They sleep in the most ‘awake’ position that not only includes keeping their eyes open but also leaning forward.

This way, they can wake up instantly in case there is any noise from a source of danger.

Guinea pigs will only keep their eyes closed if extremely comfortable or tired. Hence, you should not get worried if you see your cuddly pet sleeping with their eyes open.

In fact, you should feel proud because it means that they likely trust you and are content with their environment.

Furthermore, guinea pigs never lie down when they are sleeping. This is because they need to stay alert at all times in case a predator attacks.

Therefore, if you notice your guinea pig lying down, you should be concerned. It could point towards a health risk that a vet should check.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

This is mainly to do with their evolutionary and natural predisposition. These cavies have been considered as prey animals in the wild for centuries.

This means that they have always had to be aware of their surroundings. Otherwise, they would quickly get attacked. Hence, they sleep in short spurts with their eyes open.

Therefore, where and how long these animals sleep depends on several environmental factors.

Guinea pigs sleep when they feel that there is no threat, potential predator, or danger nearby.

Moreover, they will also avoid sleeping if the temperature is just right for them. Guinea pigs don’t like extreme temperatures.

They will likely hide in their burrows if the weather is too hot or cold. Hence, when the temperature is right, they would rather stay active and play.

The perfect temperature for them tends to occur at dawn or dusk. This is when they are the most active and playful.

The reason why is because they have been naturally predisposed to be active during such times. In the wild, their predators tend to be asleep at this time.

As a result, this is the perfect time for guinea pigs to go out exploring and hunting for food. Additionally, the low level of light also hides them from their predators.

Also read: Do Guinea Pigs Blink?

Where Guinea Pigs Sleep

In the wild, guinea pigs tend to hide in burrows that other rodents have abandoned. They cannot make these burrows on their own, so they simply look for abandoned ones.

Guinea pigs believe they can find the best protection from predators and shade here. Additionally, burrows serve as excellent protection from harsh weather conditions.

They may also find shelter and sleep in crevices or tunnels. Due to their natural predisposition to hide in caves, they will find similar types of shade in their cage.

This is why pet owners should create versions of such hideouts in their guinea pigs’ cages. Mimicking such shelters will create excellent sleeping nests for their pets.

Inexpensive options for hideouts in their guinea pigs’ cages include old cardboard shoeboxes or tissue boxes.

However, the tiny critters might damage them over time by chewing on the cardboard.

If you have a guinea pig, you can also use store-bought tunnels and hideouts in their cages made from non-toxic materials.

They are much more durable, and you can find them at most pet stores.

There are some things to keep in mind, whichever type of sleeping space you create for your guinea pig. You must ensure that it is in the shade or slightly dark place.

Although guinea pigs will sleep anywhere in their cage, they would prefer a spot in the shade. This is where they can take longer naps.

How to Enhance Your Guinea Pigs’ Sleep

If you want to be a responsible pet owner, you might be wondering how your guinea pig can have a better sleep.

If that is the case, you can take certain steps to ensure they sleep more comfortably.

These steps include the following:

Create the Optimal Temperature

If possible, you should ensure that the temperature is not too hot or too cold for them. This will ensure that they stay alert and get enough rest.

Cold temperatures are a big no for guinea pigs. It can lead to health risks and even death in some cases.

Hotter is always better. However, you should ensure that your guinea pigs’ cage location is not under direct sunlight.

It should also not be relatively close to a heat source like heaters, stoves, or a fireplace.

Frequently Change Their Bedding

The guinea pigs’ cage should include plenty of bedding and hay to enhance their comfort. The bedding should ideally be of fleece.

Fleece is the best option since it is comfortable, affordable, and eco-friendly.

Moreover, you should also do regular checks of their bedding and change it regularly and whenever necessary.

You should change their dirty and damp bedding at least once a week.

Keep Them Busy

Since guinea pigs sleep only for four to six hours in the day, they should have plenty of activities to keep them busy.

For example, their cage should be big enough to allow them to run around.

Other ways to prevent them from getting bored is by getting them toys, tunnels, treats, and little hideouts.

Other than that, regularly play with them.

Guinea pigs are social animals that thrive on interaction with others.

Keep Noises and Distractions to a Minimum

Since guinea pigs are pretty alert animals who like to stay aware of their surroundings, you should take certain steps.

These should ensure that their noises and distractions are at a minimum.

When these distractions are few, cavies can get time to sleep. Otherwise, they will constantly stay alert and in flight or fight mood.

Clean Their Cages

We have already discussed the importance of frequently changing their bedding.

However, cleaning their cages is another way to ensure your cavies get the best quality sleep.

Leaving damp and dirty bedding and cages can expose your guinea pigs to various diseases.

It will also make them highly uncomfortable and disrupt their sleep.

Therefore, you should also do a deep cleaning of their cage every once a month.

This includes taking everything out of the enclosure and thoroughly washing it.

The Bottom Line

It is essential to provide your guinea pigs with the best environment and care to sleep well.

They should feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed in their cages.

This will ensure that they have a better sleep. While it might be difficult to tell how well they are sleeping, you can still take measures to enhance it.

A comfortable piggy will sleep with its eyes closed in its enclosures.

These active animals need proper sleeping areas so that they replenish their energies.

This thorough guide should help you get a better insight into guinea pigs’ sleeping habits and schedules.

It will then help you with how to ensure maximum comfort for your furry pet.

Good luck!

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