September 21, 2023
Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate? Here's why

Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate?

Do guinea pigs hibernate? Why is my guinea pig sleeping in the winter? And what does it mean?

Guinea pigs do not hibernate as other rodents do. However, they tend to go into a deep sleep called torpor, which helps conserve food and preserve energy. It’s a natural mechanism that can sometimes lead to hypothermia if the temperature gets too cold.

This article will go over whether guinea pigs hibernate or not and what care you need to take in the winter.

Do Guinea Pigs Go Into Hibernation In Winter?

Did you just come home to your guinea pig snuggled up in the hay, appearing to be unconscious? Chances are, you probably thought that it was hibernation. However, that’s not the case.

Guinea pigs do not hibernate like most other animals, including mammals. So, why is your guinea pig unconscious in a pile of hay? They don’t hibernate, but they slow down their metabolism.

When the temperature drops below a certain threshold, guinea pigs go into standby mode. Their body wants to conserve all their energy and food resources.

What Temperature Is Chilly For Guinea Pigs?

Temperatures that are under 15 degrees Celsius are too cold for guinea pigs. They may even go into hypothermia, which can be deadly if left unattended. Your best bet is always to have adequate heating. It’s beneficial not only for you but also for the guinea pigs.

The ideal environmental temperature for a guinea pig is between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s about 15.5 to 29.4 degrees Celsius. Anything beyond the span of these ranges will be too uncomfortable. Below 15 degrees Celsius will especially be too cold for guinea pigs.

When the temperature gets too cold, your guinea pig should be put into a warmer environment.

How Do I Know If My Guinea Pig Is In Hibernation?

Guinea pigs do not go into hibernation. However, you can figure out if your guinea pig is in torpor or not. The first sign is unconsciousness. If your piggy has been lying unconscious for some time and you know it’s alive, it’s most likely deep sleep. Other signs include lethargy followed by a delayed response and a lower heart rate. This signifies your piggy is about to go into torpor.

However, while going into torpor is a natural process, it doesn’t mean your piggy feels safe. You should create a warmer environment, so your piggy doesn’t go into a deep sleep in the first place. Additionally, remember that this is a response to the cold weather. If it gets too cold, your guinea pig could develop hypothermia, which is deadly.

Can Guinea Pigs Die From Hibernation?

While it sounds morbid, yes, it is possible. Your piggy isn’t going into hibernation; instead, very deep sleep. This is a natural defense mechanism. However, it doesn’t mean you can leave it as it is. Instead, you must remove the factor that’s triggering the mechanism, which in this case is the extreme cold.

If not, there are still chances that your piggy can come out just fine. You can easily wake up an animal from a deep sleep by providing warmth. However, if you ignore the situation, the temperature of the cavy could drop well below the safe threshold. As a result, your piggy might go into hypothermia, which can be fatal.

The best course of action is to provide warmth as much as possible to raise the body temperature to be normal. Hopefully, your piggies will wake up from their deep sleep. Maintain a healthy temperature indoors. Humans and guinea pigs can coexist at the same indoor temperatures. So, don’t be afraid to turn on a heater if the temperature doesn’t go beyond 30 degrees Celsius.

Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate With Their Eyes Open?

No, guinea pigs do not hibernate with their eyes open. Instead, it will look like they are in a deep sleep. You’ll usually find them snuggled up in a pile of ha or one warm corner of the cage. Provide warmth and keep at least two guinea pigs close together to snuggle with each other.

How Long Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate?

It is very little to no research done on the hibernation of guinea pigs and for how long they go into this state. So, it’s not safe to say the correct length of the hibernation. However, you should try to keep the piggies warm, so they do not hibernate in the first place. And ensure the temperature doesn’t drop below 15 degrees Celsius, or your guinea pig could go into serious hypothermia.


Can Guinea Pigs Survive In The Cold?

They can if you take the right steps. The RSPCA recommends bringing your outdoor guinea pigs indoors and providing warmth to them in the winter. Preferably, keep the temperature between 15 to 30 degrees Celsius. Below this, your piggy will likely go into hypothermia.

How To Take Care Of Your Guinea Pig In The Winter Season?

Provide adequate warmth. Add more bedding. Let your piggies snuggle up against each other. Bring your piggie indoors if you keep them outdoors and crank up the heater. Keep the cage away from open or even closed windows and doors.

Do Guinea Pigs Do Well In Cold Weather?

It depends on how cold it gets. But in most cases, guinea pigs don’t fare well in the cold weather. The reason is they don’t hibernate like other rodents. Hence, their body temperatures can go very low. The closest they have to hibernation is a deep sleep called torpor.

Final Word:

Guinea pigs don’t have a natural defense mechanism against the cold like squirrels and other rodents do. So they don’t hibernate, yet they go into a deep sleep that helps them conserve food reserves and keep them safe from the cold weather.

If the temperature falls below 15 degrees Celsius, you should start worrying. Your guinea pig could go into hypothermia, which can be quite deadly. Look out for signs of lethargy and mental inactivity.

Finally, consult a vet where needed. You don’t want your precious little piggy to succumb to the winter weather.

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