Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate?

Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate?

If you are a guinea pig owner, it is a matter of concern to consider, “do guinea pigs hibernate?” As a guinea lover, I have asked myself this question and have done a lot of research. Some animals hibernate to keep themselves warm and safe, and guinea pigs fall into the rodents category. It is reasonable to wonder whether they hibernate or not. 

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When the temperature falls below the animal’s body temperature, it hibernates. The animal seems dead during this period, but it is alive. Guinea pigs decrease their activity and metabolic process to keep themselves warm in colder temperatures. Let us find more details about guinea pigs’ hibernation.

Can guinea pigs survive in the cold?

Guinea pigs are not well adapted to cold temperatures, and temperature below 15 degrees is too hard for them. They should be kept in a warm environment. If you want to accommodate your guinea pig outdoors in winter, it is only possible with specific changes in their cabinet and environment. Otherwise, they may get sick or even expire if exposed to a cold.

What is Hibernation?

Hibernation is when an animal enters to conserve energy to cope with unfavorable weather and other survival chances. During hibernation, animals experience reduced metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate.

Consider it as a profound sleep. This state permits for an entire season or even longer, depending upon the specie.

The specie comes out of this state unharmed. Before entering hibernation, they store stashes of food or increase their fat stores for survival. Those species that have not evolved to hibernate would not survive it. The survival of some species during hibernation is the result of years of evolution.

Once, hibernation included a short list of animals. But now, the term has been modified to include more animals entering a lighter state activity known as Torpor.

True Hibernation VS Torpor

Hibernation is the period in which the organism spends winter in dormancy, making it a long-term multiday torpor for survival in extreme weather. There are three types of hibernation.

  • True hibernation
  • Brumation
  • Torpor

True hibernation includes lower body temperature, slower breathing, low metabolic rate, and a low heart rate. To survive the winters, like hibernation, animals also use Torpor.

Torpor is the shorter version of true hibernation. It is the state that involves physiological changes, including lower body temperature, water balance, and metabolism. Animal takes long naps instead of going into a deep sleep so they cannot get woken. Torpor hibernators wake up and move around more frequently than true hibernators.

Unlike hibernation, Torpor lasts for a shorter period, depending upon the feeding pattern of the animal. Besides, Torpor appears to be an involuntary state. An animal enters into it according to the condition.

During the active period of the day, torpor hibernators maintain average physiological rates and body temperature. While they enter a deep sleep when they are inactive, allowing them to conserve energy and survival in winter. Arousal from Torpor takes minimal time involving violent shaking and muscle contractions.

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Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate?

It is natural for you to wonder that do guinea pigs hibernate. Cut to the chase and get straight to the answer. Guinea pigs do not hibernate. Guinea never needed to evolve to hibernate for their survival due to their years of domestication.

Scientific studies guinea pigs as non-hibernating rodents. The studies show a significant difference between guinea pigs and hibernators. Guinea pigs do not hibernate on a genetic level.

Guinea pigs go into a deep sleep called Torpor. Due to this protective mechanism, they conserve energy and food during cold weather. Torpor allows them to stay warm. During this period, guinea pigs do not eat or drink and tend to hide and burrow in places. But mostly, you will find them active for longer hours of the day.

However, in Torpor, they may suffer from hypothermia. If the temperature drops too low, it can lead to death. Keep your guinea pig warm and comfortable. Please provide them with extra bedding and heated pads during winter. To know more about your guinea pigs’ care, stay tuned!

Guinea Pig Winter Care

Ensure you take extra care of your guinea pigs during winter months. Please provide them with a warm and comfortable environment, as rapid changes in temperature can be dangerous for them. According to a survey, the number of small mammals pets, including guinea pigs, has increased from 2.4 million in 2007 to 2.8 million in 2012.

A heated pad is an effective way to keep them warm. Besides, rice stuffed in warm socks or a hot water bottle is also a good source of warmth. An insulated and covered heated hutch is so warm and cozy. Plastic lunch boxes with a thick layering of fleece, old towels, and blankets used in bedding keep guinea pigs warm.

Guinea pigs are warm-blooded animals, and their survival is challenging in cold temperatures. If you do not keep them warm, they will become sluggish as their bodies cannot produce enough heat. Check your guinea pigs’ temperature regularly. Keep your guinea pigs indoors, especially during cold seasons.

Why is Your Guinea Pig Not Active?

If you notice that your guinea pig’s behavior has changed and it is not participating in normal behavior, something may be wrong. As guinea pigs do not hibernate, any fear, discomfort, illness, injury, or unfavorable social circumstances might be the reason for their abnormal behavior.

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It will help if you pay attention to the abnormal behavior of your guinea pig. Please pay attention to its behavior and ensure all the needs are met. Seek the help of veterans as soon as possible. During the hibernation period, inactivity decreases appetite, and a drop in body temperature is standard. But as guinea pigs do not hibernate, these behaviors are a matter of concern.

Do not keep your guinea pig outside in hutches. They will become cold and ill even in warm weather. They may get heat stroke in high temperatures, and they can freeze to death in cold weather. Even predators can attack them outside. Provide them with a safe and secure area if you wish to keep them out.

Get to know more about guinea pigs here:

Final Verdict

Do guinea pigs hibernate? In this article, I have covered the main concerns about your guinea pigs. Now, as you know that guinea pigs do not hibernate; keep them warm and comfortable during cold weather.

Any unusual or decreased activity is a matter of concern. Focus on fulfilling their needs and looking for veterans assistance if they show any unusual habits.

As Guinea pigs do not hibernate, pay attention and make sure that all the needs of guinea pigs are met. We are only a comment away if you want to share any experience or queries! Visit own your pet to learn more.

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Frank Kane

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been head-over-paws for all creatures, great and small. I’m on a mission to help other pet lovers better understand, care for, and enjoy life with their furry, scaly, or feathery friends.