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Guinea Pig Behavior: What You Need To Know

Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal

Guinea pigs are little furry animals which are commonly kept at homes as a pet. If you plan to bring a new friend to your home, you might ask questions like are guinea pigs nocturnal or diurnal? What are their common behavior traits which you can predict? So, to understand the behavior patterns of this furry companion, continue reading the article.

Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal?

Before getting to the answer, you need to understand what nocturnal is. When we say the word nocturnal, the first animal that comes to your mind is an owl. You may know that owl hunts at night, rather than sleeping.

Most nocturnal animals have senses to hunt and remain active throughout the night and sleep during the day. Some animals are diurnal, and they can only remain active in the daytime. Few can do both. Cat is one of the animals that can do both. They can successfully hunt at the day as well as night.

Moreover, nocturnal animals are the most dangerous creatures. They are fewer in number than the diurnal animals. This is why nocturnal animals take advantage of the night time and moonlight.

As most animals sleep during the night, nocturnal animals get the upper hand in the forest. They can kill their prey while they are sleeping. So, are guinea pigs nocturnal? No, guinea pigs don’t fall in the nocturnal category.

Are Guinea Pigs Diurnal?

If not nocturnal, are guinea pigs diurnal? It is a common behavior pattern to remain active in the daytime and sleep during the night, and most of the animals are diurnal. The common diurnal animals include birds, reptiles, and mammals, although each of these types of animals is quite different from the other.

Interestingly, even the plants are diurnal. This means they open their flower in the daytime and close them during the night. Chimpanzees also fall into this category. When it comes to the guinea pigs, they don’t fall into this category either.

Guinea pigs are animals that have crepuscular behavior. This category includes animals that remain active at night and day. Your little piggy can do its work the whole day, whether the sun is just above its head or moon is shining in the sky. There are a few crepuscular animals on earth. This is why many people don’t even know about this category. But now you know why your guinea pig is always moving its eyes in dark and light.

Guinea Pig’s Common Behavior Traits

Guinea pigs are one of the most common pets. They have certain behavior patterns that you can pinpoint in every guinea pig. Let’s learn about the common behaviors or habits of these animals.

Running and Hiding

They try to run away and hide as quickly as possible when you try to pick them up. It’s their natural defensive mechanism that you need to understand. In the beginning, you may face these problems a lot. But later, when they get accustomed to your presence, they will feel delighted to play with you and enjoy cuddles.

Food Requirement

When these little furry creatures get hungry, they can stand on their hind legs, especially when they are confident that you will give them a treat. Guinea pigs become excited when they need food and focus their eyes on the owner so that he notices its eagerness.


When your little piggy gets excited, happy, and have a mood to play, you will see it jumping, hopping, running, and turning into other direction quickly. Your pet will do these actions repeatedly. The little ones show these behaviors often, but they do not jump high like the adults.


You piggy freezes when they sense danger. After hearing a sudden sound that is not familiar or noticing something uncertain in the environment, it will stand motionless and freeze. It is a natural reaction of most animals to become invisible so that they can save themselves from danger.

The most interesting thing is that you can hear a low vibrating sound when your piggy freezes. They do this because of the fear of the predator.


Another thing you can notice in their behavior is their sniffing habit. They do this to learn about the surroundings and finding food sources. Plus, you can also catch them sniffing in the air while scratching their hands. They do this when they are watchful and curious about the things around them.


You may also feel like other owners that your little furry friend lick you because of affection. But it’s not always true. Guinea pigs can sometimes lick because of the taste of salt on your hands. Some pigs also lick their fur to groom themselves.

Teeth Chattering

If you find it cute that your piggy is chattering after you try to play or communicate with it, you may not know a thing about your pet. Genuine pigs chatter their teeth to show their anger towards anything. If this anger is directed at you, try to keep yourself away or avoid doing what bothers them.


Guinea pigs seldom bite, and if they do, it is only because of some reason. The most common reason can be:

  • If your pet is upset, defensive, angry, frightened, or annoyed.
  • It can be because of an accident; for instance, if you are giving food to them, they can think your finger as food and bite it by mistake.
  • They can bite you because of any skin problems such as mites, which causes severe discomfort. This can change their behavior and lead them to bite things around them and even you.

Bottom Line

Now you know whether guinea pigs are nocturnal or diurnal? Why they bite and scratch? Do they lick because of affection? There are also other behaviors and habits of guinea pigs, which you can commonly catch. For instance, they can suffer from stress and depression, and they can also stand on their hind legs for some particular reasons. Make sure to learn how to react when your piggy exhibits these behaviors.

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