How Many Hours Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
Guinea Pigs are very active creatures. So much so, you might even be surprised to see them running around in their cages in the middle of the night! With this, you might wonder how do they remain so active for so long, and if they even sleep at all.
Aside from the things you need to know on how to take care of your Guinea Pigs, it is vital to understand how your piggies behave, especially when and how they sleep. Understanding these factors will also make sure you can relate to your Guinea Pigs so you can better look after them.
When Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
Guinea Pigs, in general, are prey animals. Their instinct tells them to be always on the lookout from being hunted by other predatory animals.
As a result, they move around a lot, make distinct noises, find a place to hide, and sometimes they can freeze whenever they feel they are in a dangerous situation or when there are predators around. Their prey instinct also affects how long they sleep and when and how they do it.
For the most part, most mammals, especially prey animals, tend to be very active most of the time all throughout the day and night. They tend to sleep less and take short naps whenever they get the chance.
This sleeping pattern is known by most experts to be a polyphasic manner of sleeping – meaning that these animals will take naps several times a day rather than to have a single-period of long sleep determined on a particular time, like humans sleeping almost exclusively at night.
While Guinea Pigs don’t usually have a “fixed” schedule when they sleep as they’re neither nocturnal nor diurnal, some people believe that Guinea Pigs are crepuscular – mostly active during the twilight hours.
However, as mentioned earlier, Guinea Pigs are quite the oddballs as their sleeping pattern can vary depending on whenever they get the chance to drowse off.
How Long Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
As previously stated, Guinea Pigs sleep only when they feel comfortable or when they feel they’re safe and secured. They tend to be more relaxed, especially when they’re well-adapted with their environment and familiar with their owners.
Guinea Pigs’ sleeping pattern can differ from other rodent species. Since their wild instincts dictate they’re prey animals, they are known to sleep for only about a total of 4 hours a day, divided into naps dispersed throughout the day. These naps can range anywhere from a quick 20 seconds to a decent duration of 6 minutes.
However, Guinea Pigs can sleep for as long as 20 minutes and up to an hour during a phase of sleep called the REM stage. Also known as paradoxical or desynchronized sleep, the REM stage is when mammals start dreaming.
So if you get the chance to see your piggies’ bodies twitching and their eyes flinching, that’s when they’re probably on their REM stage of sleep.
How Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
Unsurprisingly, the way Guinea Pigs sleep is as unusual as their sleeping schedule. When you watch your piggies closely, you might notice that sometimes, they stand in one place; eyes wide open for periods of time. When you see them in that position, then they’re most probably resting or sleeping.
The reason why they sleep this way is also that, again, they are prey animals. Their instincts dictate them to adapt to their environment so they evolved to sleep upright as their defense mechanism. So, while they’re sleeping, their eyes will mostly stay wide open and they’ll be standing on all fours. This way, they’re always aware and always prepared to run away from danger.
On the other hand, seeing your Guinea Pigs sleeping while slumped on the floor on their bellies and their eyes closed means they are very relaxed and that they are well-adapted in their surroundings.
Sleeping this way is very rare among Guinea Pigs which generally means that they are very comfortable being vulnerable around you and the living condition that you gave to them which you should take as one of the best compliments you can get from your pets.
Do Guinea Pigs Like to Sleep in the Dark?
As previously discussed, Guinea Pigs sleep any time of the day (or night) and anywhere they feel comfortable enough. They may exhibit strange behaviors when it comes to sleeping, but piggies do prefer to sleep in darker and quieter environments.
Like any other animals, Guinea Pigs feel much more relaxed and secure when they are in the dark. It’s an instinct that is built-in, in almost every animal – including humans.
Can You Make Guinea Pigs Sleep at Night?
You might have asked yourself the question if you can get your Guinea Pigs to sleep at the same time as you. As a cavy owner, you know very well how they can be loud at night, which can be very annoying at times.
While you may not be able to change their sleeping behavior entirely, there can be a way you can influence them towards your ideal schedule of activities.
The key is to give them the comfort and interaction they require. As mentioned earlier, your piggies prefer dark and quiet places more often than not, so make sure to put their cages in a dark and quiet room.
Also, they will need to do activities with their owners. Interaction with your Guinea Pigs will make them more comfortable with you. Doing so will make them feel more at ease when they see you as a friend rather than a potential predator.