Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal? Explore Your Furry Friend's Sleeping Habits

Christian Mba
Feb 29, 2024 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Oct 28, 2021
Funny guinea pig eating grass.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.1 Min

Guinea pigs are one of the most popular pet species.

Well, according to recent studies, it is said that guinea pigs are neither diurnal nor nocturnal. They are known to be more of crepuscular animals.

Guinea pigs are animals who look like a hamster but are cuter. These animals are seen to have a weird sleep cycle. These fuzzy friends are seen most of the time awake. They sleep for four-six hours a day only. 

At dawn and dusk, they tend to be active. Guinea pigs take short breaks during the whole day. Due to their ancestral gene being preys, guinea pigs stay active most of the time of dusk and dawn to survive from their predators and other dangers. The same characters are seen with your fuzzy pets as well. Below are more explanations for their sleeping habits. After reading all about the sleeping behavior of guinea pigs, do read Montane Guinea Pig: 19 Facts You Won’t Believe and are hamsters nocturnal? 

Are guinea pigs diurnal?

Most animals are diurnal, including us humans. We are awake during the day and are active most of the daytime. That is what makes us fall into the category of diurnal. But as in the case of nocturnal guinea pigs, they are more active during the night. Some animals can be both diurnal as well as nocturnal. Due to the high intensity of the heat during the day, these animals take a rest under trees and their shades. As for guinea pigs, they come under neither of the categories of nocturnal or diurnal. Guinea pigs only need four hours of sleep or rest. All the other times, they are mostly awake. Sometimes, we see them resting or lying down without their eyes closed. During this time, the guinea pig would be taking short naps in the interval, during day or night.

Are guinea pigs nocturnal? Well, guinea pigs come under none of the categories of nocturnal or diurnal or crepuscular as a pet. Whenever we check on our fuzzy pals in their cage, they seem to be active—running around their cage, eating, playing, and all active during the day. For your guinea pig, it is normal for them to show these characteristics. Your guinea pig has sleeping habits that are quite odd to yours. Even if you don’t see your guinea pig sleep, you should take care that your fuzzy pet hamster gets enough rest and sleep. So it is important that whenever you see your guinea pig sleeping, do not wake them up and disturb them. Animals that are seen to be sleeping during the day and are awake or active at night are creatures with nocturnal behavior or patterns. Well, if they are awake or active during the daytime, they are said to be showing the behavior of diurnal. Crepuscular animals' behavior is one that gets in between them. The crepuscular animal is known to be awake or active during the twilight time period. Guinea pigs are mainly prey animals. So they always have to be on the lookout for their predators. Therefore they sleep very little, or we see them awake or active at night as well.

Little black and white guinea eating cabbage leaf.

Can guinea pigs sleep in the dark?

Guinea pig sleep patterns can be quite hard to note down. You might spot your guinea pig pet running around all day in their cage. Guinea pigs' sleep patterns can be traced to their nocturnal nighttime, non-sleeping character being aware of attacks from other predators. The way they sleep is in the position of being ‘awake’. Guinea pigs sleep with their head leaning towards the front. Your Guinea pig sleeping this way would be to move fast whenever they encounter danger or any predators coming for them. Your guinea pig always stays alert for danger. Sometimes you need to give your fuzzy little pet a nest or cage or a hideaway to sleep and rest. They also prefer dark areas for sleeping.

Domesticated guinea pigs' pets sleep in their cage with their eyes closed only if they are comfortable with their surroundings and feel like they are not open to any predators. Your guinea pig pets in nature find shelter in crevices and natural tunnels and burrows that are made by other animals. In reality, it is difficult to create the most comfortable bedding for them in your cage and surroundings. It takes a while for them to feel comfortable and safe in the space that you have created for them. If you can provide more than one hideaway in addition to your guinea pig’s nest or cage, and good food, it slowly will feel that it is safe. No compromises to your guinea pig’s food shall be done. Also, guinea pig’s sleep during the day should not be disturbed. However, by providing your guinea pig with a more safe and secure atmosphere, they can take longer naps in dark and quiet places and environments. Guinea pig is a crepuscular animal and therefore takes short 3-10 minutes naps in between dusk times or any other time during the day or night. Also due to their love for hideout places, they seem to enjoy and relax more in dark areas and quiet environments. Guinea pigs' nocturnal nature makes them awake during dawn and dusk. During the dusk-twilight time, they seem to be active. It is very hard to note down your guinea pigs' sleep cycle. Are guinea pigs nocturnal or diurnal? Well, guinea pig pets are none of them. They are mostly awake till dusk and sleep for nearly five-six hours a day. But during dark nights, your guinea pigs might find their way to sleep as they love darkness.

Do guinea pigs like to be cuddled?

Guinea pigs' nocturnal side of behavior makes their sleep at night very less and more during day time. But still, they can be seen sleeping or having asleep at night as well. That also doesn’t provide the right fact for the question of being guinea pigs nocturnal as they could be seen sleeping during some 3-10 minutes of day or night. But just like any other affectionate animal, your guinea pig also would love to get a cuddle or touch from you. As for your warm temperature, guinea pigs come and sit near or on you and also love to cuddle with you while going to sleep. While sleeping, if you want your guinea pigs to cuddle up with you, you must handle your pet with care. They need to feel safe and sound around you if you want them to sleep with you or cuddle with you.

Even though you keep your guinea pig inside their cage most of the time, they still need your attention or care. Having a guinea pig as a pet is a commitment kind of job. They all would like to get a little bit of your time and concern. But not all guinea pigs like to have a cuddle. It mostly depends on their personality. If you are more comfortable and caring to your guinea pig pet, and they feel affectionate to you, they might like to get a cuddle from you while they sleep near you or before they sleep in their cage.  And you can train them to be more cuddly. Guinea pigs are more of prey nature than other animals like dogs or cats who are strong and bold predator animals. Therefore there is no surprise that the first run away from you from giving a cuddle. Also, at first, people used to have these cute little hamsters or fuzzy animals on their plate. It is only now that more than a source of food people have started to have guinea pigs as pets. You need to give your guinea pigs some time and have patience till they become comfortable with and around you. Hesitations first shown by your guinea pig pet might be due to their nervousness of being held by a human who is much bigger than them. But naturally, being more friendly with them and giving them care, you can get to the point that they come to cuddle with you while you sleep. Your guinea pig needs sleep at night. And for that, it is more preferred that you leave them to be all by themselves in any dark area or hideout.

Can a guinea pig sleep with you?

Guinea pigs like to be left alone to sleep in their own cage. Also putting a cover or blanket on top of their cage, leaving enough space for ventilation can help them to maintain their body heat and temperature. Also, it creates a hideout feel with appropriate darkness making a night effect, which is what these guinea pigs like to consider as an ideal space to sleep and rest, away and safe from predators. Guinea pigs could be trained to sleep with you. Even though it wouldn’t be ideal to have your pet guinea pigs sleep with you.

An ideal time to make them feel more comfortable with you is during feeding them. It is said that vitamin C is good for guinea pigs. It creates more positive emotions in your guinea pigs, which will make you less scary and friendly to them. At least for an hour, it is advised that you let your guinea pigs out of their cage. Also, you can take your guinea pig out of their cage at night before they sleep to give them a hug or scrub. If ever your guinea pigs fall asleep on you, it may be a probability due to their vulnerability and comfort they show to cuddle up with you. It also means they actually feel safe with you and enjoy being near or with you. Still, it is ok for your guinea pig to sleep with you. But necessary precautions should be taken to provide maximum safe feeling to you and your guinea pig to sleep together. A stable room temperature and enough space are something that should be provided while making space for guinea pigs as your pets. Also, some reasons why it is not ideal to have your guinea pig with you on your bed are: you could crush or get over her while sleeping, they might fall down from bed from such height and injure themself or, you might be waking up to their poops and pees on your bed, even though you have trained them. So it would be better if you can prevent such situations and make sure to get your pet and yourself more comfortable.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal? Explore Your Furry Friend's Sleeping Habits! then why not take a look at Cockroach Vs Waterbug: Insect Differences Simplified For Kids, or Where Did The Name America Come From? Cool Continent Facts For Kids.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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