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Home > Guinea Pigs > Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal? Sleep Cycle Facts & FAQs

Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal? Sleep Cycle Facts & FAQs

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are a popular pet, especially for children. They are easy to raise and teach responsibility, but they don’t require a complex habitat, special lighting, or carefully controlled humidity. However, many people are concerned that the guinea pig might be nocturnal like some other rodents, which would mean that the pet would sleep all day when the child wants to play. The good news is that guinea pigs are not nocturnal, and your family can enjoy them throughout the day. If you are thinking about getting one of these fun pets for your home, keep reading while we take a closer look at the sleeping habits of the guinea pig.divider-guineapig

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep at Night?

Yes. Your guinea pig will sleep at night, but it will also sleep during the day. Technically, guinea pigs are crepuscular, meaning they are more active at dawn and dusk. They have an irregular sleep cycle that causes them to take short naps instead of sleeping for a long time like humans and most other animals do. You will likely see your guinea pig taking short catnaps throughout the day, especially when no one is paying attention to it, but it will quickly perk up and start to play if you come in the room and start looking in the cage.

The guinea pig’s light sleep and short naps will make it popular with the children, who will get lots of playtime during the day. However, it can make it difficult to sleep at night, as your pet is likely to start running on the wheel just as your falling asleep. Many owners complain that the guinea pig can keep you up at night, especially if you have a squeaky cage.

red stripped guinea pig sleeping inside the cage
Image By: AnastasiaMS, Shutterstock

How Long Does a Guinea Pig Nap?

Your guinea pig will usually nap for 10 to 30 minutes at a time. When there is less activity in the home, you will notice that they sleep a bit longer, and there can be several cycles that reach 30 minutes.

When you get home from work at busier times of the day, you will observe that your guinea pig takes much shorter naps. The length of time they are awake will also change, and they will stay awake and be more active in the early morning around dawn and active again as the sun is going down. Between these times, you will likely see that your guinea pig is awake but is not as active as in the morning when you will usually see them running on the wheel, but they are much more likely to let you carry them or scratch their head when they are less active.

What If My Guinea Pig Is More Active at Night?

While the vast majority of guinea pigs will behave as we mentioned here, there are always exceptions to the rule, and you may find that you have a guinea pig that follows a different path.  It is common for some guinea pigs to be active when the others are sleeping, and there is no need to worry that something might be wrong with it. It may live its entire life being active at strange times, or it may just be a passing phase.

portrait of cute red guinea pig
Image Credit: Dev_Maryna, Shutterstock

Learn Your Guinea Pig’s Sleep Habits

While your guinea pig can have a personality as unique as a person, they are still habitual and will have similar sleep patterns each day. A sudden change in the behavior of your pet can suggest something is wrong with your pet. If you notice your pet becoming active at strange times or sleeping when they are usually ready to play, it could signify that your pet is sick. Disrupted sleep patterns can also result from something changing in your home that’s disturbing the guinea pig. Sometimes loud noises, like those around the 4th of July, can scare your pet and change its sleep cycle. Things may return to normal when the noises stop, but it may also keep the new sleep pattern.

Where Do I Put My Guinea Pig Habitat?

One of the most important decisions you will make concerning your guinea pig is placing the cage in the best place. The first thing you will need to consider is that they can make considerable noise at night. We recommend spending some time preparing for your new pet by shopping for a cage that isn’t too squeaky. All cages will make some noise, but some can be extremely noisy. You will also want to consider the toys you give your pet because many of those, like the running wheel, can also make considerable noise.

When placing your cage, you want to keep it out of direct sunlight and away from drafts. A quiet part of the house with little foot travel is best. Opening and closing doors can wake up the guinea pig and add stress which might cause your pet to make more noise at night.

Sick Guinea Pig
Image By: Jolly-Sunshine, Pixabay

Two Guinea Pigs Are Better Than One

Guinea pigs like to live in groups, and yours will be happier if it has a partner to share the cage. Many owners also agree that they tend to make much less noise when there are two of them because they prefer to sit and cuddle with each other instead of getting into mischief. Single guinea pigs spend much more time moving things around in the cage, burrowing, and running on the wheel.



Your guinea pig is not nocturnal, but it will be awake for much of the night. It’s technically crepuscular, so dusk and dawn are when it most wants attention from family members, but due to its style of taking short naps throughout the day, you will be able to spend quality time with your pet no matter what your schedule. The only time you need to be concerned is if the pet’s sleeping habits change suddenly. If you can’t trace it back to something different in your home, we recommend taking it to the vet to ensure there isn’t an underlying illness.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this short guide, and it has helped answer your questions. If we have helped you understand your pet better, please share our look into if guinea pigs are nocturnal on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

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