If you’re thinking about getting a guinea pig as a pet, there are a whole lot of things that you need to consider first. The last thing you want is your brand new pet to keep you up all night because you didn’t do your research. This post will take a deep dive into the sleeping habits of guinea pigs.
The short answer to the question about whether or not guinea pigs are nocturnal animals is no. They are not strictly nocturnal. But they are not strictly diurnal either. They sleep for short periods of time, and they spread these sleeping stints throughout the day and night. They might be slightly more active during the night time, but not always.
The sleeping pattern of guinea pigs is very different to the way that humans sleep. It’s even different to the way other rodents sleep. Read on to find out more details about the sleeping habits of guinea pigs.
Guinea Pigs Sleep For ~4 Hours Per Day
If you’re reading this post, you’re already aware of how cute guinea pigs are. You know that they have no need for lengthy beauty sleep like us humans. It turns out that guinea pigs know this too. On average, guinea pigs only sleep for 4 hours a day.
These 4 hours of rest are not done in one big block the way that most humans get their rest. Instead, guinea pigs will nap for 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there throughout the day. It’s as if guinea pigs know how lovely sleeping is, so they want to savour it throughout the day.
From an evolutionary standpoint, it would make sense that guinea pigs would be more active during the night. This is the time when there are fewer predators prowling and there is less noise to scare off your little pigs.
In reality though, guinea pigs no longer exist in the wild. They are a fully domesticated species (first domesticated by the Inca 3000 years ago).
This means that their behaviour has changed somewhat. They no longer need to be on the constant look out for predators and you give them all the food they want and need.
So they can rest peacefully at night without having to be in survival mode.
Sleeping in The Same Room as Your Guinea Pig(s)
Here is a reality of life for a guinea pig owner. If the cage is in your bedroom, it’s inevitable that you’ll be woken up by your pet scratching around in his or her cage and food, or playing with the other guinea pigs in the cage.
There are a few things you can do to encourage your guinea pig to sleep for longer periods of time at the same time as you are sleeping. But remember, a guinea pig will never settle in for an 8 hour snooze like you. If you’re a light sleeper, or if you have a particularly noisy guinea pig, you might have to consider moving their cage to a different room in the house so that your guinea pig does not keep you up at night.
The best trick to making your guinea pig sleep for a longer chunk of time would be to cover the cage. A blanket, sheet or towel should do the trick. This way, the guinea pig will feel more secure and comfortable and take a longer than usual nap.
This might be a good trick to give you some silence so you can fall asleep. However, the guinea pig still won’t sleep through the whole night with this tactic. Not even close.
Although it could give you the chunk of silence you need to get yourself off to dreamland. “Do Guinea Pigs Dream?” is another article we wrote that we think you might enjoy.
Guinea Pigs Are Crepuscular…CrepWHAT?
That’s right, guinea pigs are crepuscular animals. Now that’s just a big and fancy word for a simple term. It means that guinea pigs are active during the day and the night.
They live in short bursts of activity, followed by short blocks of rest. When you’re a domesticated guinea pig, all there is to do in life is eat, play, and sleep. So they cycle through these activities constantly throughout the day and night.
They sleep in chunks of 3-30 minutes at a time. And spend the rest of their day doing what guinea pigs do.
If you haven’t provided everything that your guinea pigs need for the night, they might start squeaking and chirping and whistling. THis might be to let you know that they are running low on water or food. Or maybe they just miss you and want to be held.
Either way, if you are worried about your guinea pig keeping you up at night, make sure their food and water receptacles are fully loaded before you turn in for the night.
This, coupled with the covering over the cage, could give you that important 30 minutes of quiet you need to nod off for the night.
Should I Keep my Guinea Pig(s) in my Bedroom?
Knowing that guinea pigs are crepuscular, you might have some follow up questions. Like, should you keep your guinea pig in your room?
The answer to this question comes down to personal preference. From a health and safety point of view, it is completely fine to keep your guinea pig in your bedroom.
Guinea pigs are generally quite hygienic animals. If there is a smell coming from the cage it’s most likely due to poor maintenance. It’s the cage that smells, not the guinea pig.
If you completely clean the cage out weekly then you shouldn’t have any odour issues with your guinea pigs.
Your bedroom will most likely have adequate light and ventilation for human habitation which would make it perfectly safe for your guinea pig to share the bedroom with you.
The main problem with keeping your guinea pig cage in your bedroom will come down to the noise that your guinea pig makes in between their little naps.
So, if you’re a light sleeper, or if you have any kinds of sleep issues, keeping your guinea pig cage in your bedroom might not be the best idea because of the way they interfere with your sleep.
Wrapping it up
To conclude, guinea pigs are crepuscular animals. This means that they are active during the day and the night time. They get their sleep during short naps spread out during the day and the night.
You can use some tactics to try and extend the amount of sleeping they do during the night, but it still won’t put your guinea pig to sleep for hours and hours. If you’re a light sleeper, you might have to consider putting your guinea pig cage in another room in your house.