Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate? All You Need To Know

Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 07:32 pm

Keeping guinea pigs requires dedication and attention, so we can enable them to be happy and satisfied in the best way.

Guinea pigs have their habits, and over time we find out precisely what they mean and what are the characteristics of some of their ways of behaving.

Often when we see our guinea pigs we wonder if they are hibernating or not.

Do guinea pigs hibernate? The answer is that guinea pigs do not hibernate but can slow down their metabolism, allowing them to conserve energy, especially in the winter when temperatures are lower. However, saving energy cannot fully help them if the temperatures are too low, and the danger of hypothermia can occur.

In today’s article, we will learn more about hibernation, low temperatures, and ways to enable the guinea pig not to be cold.

Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate?

Guinea pigs do not hibernate, and they may sleep longer than usual. During this kind of sleep, they reduce their functions and slow the entire metabolism.

When the guinea pig does all this, it saves energy, mostly used when it’s cold.

Although this way of saving energy is positive for the guinea pig, when the weather is too cold, they cannot last for a very long time; they will start to get sick or even die if we don’t do something to warm them up.

What is hibernation in animals?

A state of hibernation is when the animal lowers its body temperature, leading to a decrease in the energy it uses and a decrease in heart rate.

Animals usually do this during the winter period, when they spend this period underground, and it is almost impossible to wake them up.

Those animals that hibernate usually eat larger amounts of food in the summer, so they have stored more reserves of food and fat that they use during hibernation.

What is deep sleep or lethargy in animals?

Deep sleep or torpor is when animals are at ease and sleep in a deep sleep to protect themselves.

But, unlike hibernation, they can wake up if we warm the room where they are. Guinea pigs use deep sleep to protect themselves from cold temperatures.

At the same time, our pets look like they are sleeping or hibernating. Guinea pigs do this wherever they are cold, whether in nature or in their cage.

do guinea pigs hibernate

What temperature is recommended for guinea pigs?

Guinea pigs are very sensitive to temperature changes; during significant temperature changes they can get seriously ill, and in the worst case they can die.

The ideal temperature for guinea pigs is between 65 F and 75 F. If the temperature drops below 60 F or less, the guinea pigs are in great danger.


Guinea pigs come from South America and are used to living in hot and dry weather, so cold weather is not their favorite.

Although guinea pigs can handle cooler temperatures more easily than warmer ones, the disease risk is still too high.

In a situation where guinea pigs are cold, they sleep for a long time, but do not hibernate. At the same time, your pets will look very lazy, with a slow reaction, and their heart rate may drop drastically.

You will quickly notice this phenomenon because guinea pigs are generally very active and like to play. Guinea pigs cannot withstand freezing temperatures for a long time, and hypothermia can occur.

Hypothermia is a phenomenon when the body temperature in the guinea pig’s body becomes very low, leading to serious health problems and even death.

At the same time, the guinea pig loses its body temperature faster than it can produce it.

Whenever you notice any symptoms like lethargy, reluctance to eat, or lack of desire to run and play, then something is wrong with your pet and you should take it to the vet.

How cold can guinea pigs take?

If the temperature in which the guinea pigs have kept drops below 50 F, the guinea pigs will have many health problems.

Any temperature below 50 F is a great danger to the guinea pig, where it can get hypothermia.

We recommend never letting the temperature drop below 50F, as the guinea pig will not be able to last long in that cold and will likely either have a lot of health problems or die.

How to take care of guinea pigs in winter?

In the winter months, we have to pay a lot of attention to the room heating where we keep the guinea pigs.

To provide sufficient heating to the guinea pigs, we need to do the following steps:

  • extra bedding such as hay or wood shavings to help keep the guinea pigs warm.
  • keep their room temperature between 65 and 75 F.
  • cover their habitat with a blanket, but leave an opening for air.

It is crucial when you warm the guinea pigs not to overdo it, i.e., not to make them too hot, because too hot is bad for them, just like too cold.

When is a guinea pig cold?

Several symptoms occur when a guinea pig is cold.

Here are some of them:

  • If the temperature in the room where you keep the guinea pig is less than 65 F.
  • The guinea pig’s ears, nose, and feet are cool to the touch.
  • The guinea pig may shiver as a sign that it is cold.
  • If they sleep more than usual, this is especially true during daily tasks when they are usually most active.
  • Lethargy and slow movement

All these symptoms indicate that your guinea pig is cold, and you need to do something to warm him up and make him happy and playful again.

As we said, too cold and too hot are harmful to your furry pet, so we need to be very careful about the temperature in his environment.

do guinea pigs hibernate

read more: Do Guinea Pigs Like Sand Baths?

Should we keep guinea pigs outdoors in winter?

It is not recommended to keep guinea pigs outdoors in winter.

It is too big a risk for their health; in the last resort, see if you can at least place their home in a garage or something similar, even though it will be cold there in the winter.

It is essential to keep a guinea pig in an open space to provide it with a covered habitat, i.e., protection from snow, rain and wind.

read more: Can I Keep Guinea Pigs In My Bedroom?


Guinea pigs do not hibernate; they sleep longer than average to conserve energy to cope when cold.

At the same time, the guinea pigs become slower, and their heart rate decreases, but if we warm them up, they will wake up.

Guinea pigs cannot live in cold temperatures for long, meaning their optimum temperatures are between 65 and 75 F; anything below this is either too cold or too hot for them.

When the guinea pigs’ temperature is below 60 F, they begin to get sick and eventually die.

When the temperature in their environment is very low, we should warm them with thicker bedding in their habitat or cover them with a blanket around their home.

In any case, guinea pigs have a hard time managing in cold weather, so we should always provide them with an average temperature; that’s the only way they will be healthy and happy.


Do guinea pigs freeze to death? Yes, guinea pigs can freeze to death. If the temperature drops below 60 F, the guinea pigs will freeze and begin to get sick, ultimately resulting in our furry friends’ end.

Can guinea pigs survive in the cold? Yes, guinea pigs can stay in the cold, but only if they are well protected; we need to warm them up. Whether with blankets or thicker bedding in their cage or by maintaining the heat in the room by warming them, it is the only way our pets can withstand the cold weather in the winter period.

Do guinea pigs go stiff when they hibernate? No, guinea pigs do not go numb, nor do they hibernate.

They can only sleep longer than usual, and it is their way of maintaining and conserving energy so that they can endure when they are cold.

read more: Can Guinea Pigs Get Hiccups? All You Need To Know