March 11, 2023 by Umair Shahid
Being a parent to a pet guinea pig is an equally burdensome responsibility as taking care of a human child. These little rodents are not only popular pets but also great experimental animals.
According to a survey, the guinea pigs hold the 8th position in making the best experimental animal for scientific experiments. But you must be here to find out do guinea pigs hibernate.? Well, no, they do not hibernate.
Hibernation is the natural physiological process that helps an animal survive during the scarcity of resources.
It helps the animal reserve the body resources and uses them effectively in a time of need. Many rodents and reptiles undergo hibernation in winter, but guinea pigs do not.
Why does Guinea Pig hibernate?
We know many guinea pigs spend alone time in winter. This time of little inactivity is confused with hibernation in guinea pigs. The guinea pigs technically do not have a hibernation period.
During hibernation, the animal slows down the metabolic processes in the body. It is a seasonal heterothermic process. The animals mostly undergo this process in winter.
The hibernating animal goes into a state of deep sleep. During this sleep, their body does not need any food resources, and slow metabolism helps them survive with the energy already reserved in their bodies.
The hibernating animals mostly hide in their shelters to maintain their body temperature.
Hibernation is a natural energy-saving mode for animals. In this condition, the heartbeat slows down, animals go into a deep sleep, and their bodies become cold, conserving all the energy.
Guinea pigs undergo torpor:
The guinea pigs do not use hibernation. Instead, they use a nearly similar method for conserving their body energy in winter. We know this method as torpor.
Hibernation is essentially a series of long-lasting bouts of torpor. Hibernation differs from daily torpor because it is often seasonal and involves much lower body temperatures and metabolic rates. Torpor is a process that involves daily hibernation.
Hibernating animals either feed off their body fat or on specially stored food, whereas animals that go into daily torpor wake up and forage or feed normally. The guinea pigs do not use hibernation to cope with the low environmental temperature.
So, if you still do not understand that do guinea pigs hibernate? No. The guinea pigs conserve their body energy by torpor and not by hibernation. Both processes mainly vary in their time duration.
Frequently asked questions:
- When do guinea pigs feel too cold and undergo torpor?
The best optimum temperature for guinea pigs is 18 to 23 degrees Celsius. They love to stay at this temperature. However, a temperature lower than 15 degrees Celsius can start torpor in guinea pigs.
- Why do my guinea pigs sleep too much even when it’s not freezing?
Torpor is a process that looks like sleeping. However, it occurs if the environmental temperature is below 15 degrees Celsius. The guinea pigs sleeping too much at ordinary environmental temperature shows some health conditions.
The guinea pig might suffer from hypothermia and lethargy.
- How can I take care of my guinea pigs in winter?
Shift your guinea pigs to a place with proper bedding and a warm environment. Reduce the draft and optimize the enclosure temperature. Monitor the guinea pig to avoid any problems because of hypothermia.
Does guinea pig hibernate? The technical answer to this question is a no. The guinea pigs do not hibernate. Instead, they torpor.
Torpor is short bouts of hibernation. The process is similar, but the guinea pigs do not have to accumulate energy before falling asleep. They wake up at regular intervals and eat food to fulfill their energy requirements.
I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.