Guinea pigs are a bit different type of rodents and as such, they require a fair amount of sleep. However, guinea pigs can’t sleep wherever you want them to and they need a special place for that. ž
So, where do guinea pigs sleep? Guinea pigs sleep in the darker space and they use their bedding for that purpose. That means that before you finish your day, you should never leave the lights on since guinea pigs can sometimes display nocturnal behavior.
In this article, we’ll explain where do guinea pigs sleep, how to provide a proper space for sleep, as well as why sleep is important for guinea pigs.
Where do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
We’ve answered this one before – in the bedding that you made for them, in the dark room. That’s why it’s very important that you make high-quality bedding or buy one from the internet. The bedding for guinea pig should be soft, moist-free, and provide a sense of comfort to make them sleep. It also needs to be big enough and if you house two or more guinea pigs, size should be of the utmost importance.
As for the dark place, you can always turn off the lights at night or if you notice that your guinea pigs sleep during the day, move the cage somewhere else. Guinea pigs can usually sleep whenever they want but it’s much easier for them to sleep in the aforementioned conditions. On top of that, guinea pigs aren’t predatory animals and since they can be easily hunted by predators, they really prefer dark conditions for sleep. That’s why your guinea pig will almost never close its eyes.
This instinct comes from the time when guinea pigs were still in the wilderness. It allowed them to always stay ’awake’ and run away from potential predators.
What if Guinea Pig Refuses to Sleep?
Let’s say you made perfect bedding for your guinea pig and all the conditions are fulfilled, yet your small pet still doesn’t want to sleep. What should you do then? Well, here are some of the reasons why it won’t sleep:
Lack of Activity
Lack of activity is one of the main reasons why your guinea pig won’t sleep. Sleep is an ultimate tool for recovery and represents a crucial process in guinea pig’s life. There’s no better way of resting yourself than going for a several-hour sleep. However, guinea pigs are relatively active animals and they require attention and a bit of activity during the day. If a guinea pig is bored and just spends its time in the cage, it’s unlikely that it’ll enjoy its sleep. If you want to make your guinea pig more active, try to spend more time with it and introduce some toys.
Sometimes, its’ enough to put a few toys inside and let the guinea pig play with it. Sometimes it’s not. And sometimes you’ll need to conduct a 30-minute training session with your guinea pig. Not only that you’ll make it sleep better but also teach it some new stuff, which can be useful for both sides. As guinea pigs can sometimes make strange noises and scratch their cage at night, this is a crucial step in stopping this.
Can you sleep when you’re hungry? Me neither. Guinea pigs also replied with ’no’. A hungry guinea pig will let you when it’s hungry and these noises can be heard in the night. To remedy this, be sure to establish a nighttime feeding routine. Before you finish your day, put in some hay and fresh vegetables inside the cage to let your guinea pig know that it can eat if it’s hungry during the night. This will allow the guinea pig to have something to concentrate on – at least for a few hours.
When you put in some hay, also be sure to provide some fresh water for the guinea pig. After making itself full, your pig will probably fall asleep faster. Be sure to firmly establish this nighttime routine and you’ll see results in a short period of time.
Believe it or not, a guinea pig can feel lonely and that feeling can be overwhelming. Of course, guinea pigs lived in the wilderness in packs of 10 grown-up pigs hence this instinct is still prominent. If you have two or more guinea pigs in the cage, this probably isn’t the problem you’re going to encounter. But, if you’re limited to only one guinea pig, the problem can occur.
This can be fixed by getting your guinea pig a cage mate or simply put the cage somewhere close to you, but not too close. A scared guinea pig will most likely start to make noise in order to seek attention and mitigate the sense of fear.
Temperature Requirements for Guinea Pigs
Although guinea pigs prefer darker environment for sleep, the place where they sleep should also not be too cold or too hot. As with humans, guinea pigs love a temperature between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. As they originate from South America, guinea pigs still prefer the summer over winter and as such, guinea pigs rarely sleep in the cold environment. If the temperature is under 15 degrees Celsius, a guinea pig can freeze and even die. On the contrary, a temperature higher than 30 degrees Celsius can lead a guinea pig to dehydration if there’s not enough water.
Basic Requirements for a Guinea Pig Living Space
The draft is very dangerous even for us humans, let alone guinea pig. It can lead to numerous conditions such as flu, muscle cramps, and even increased temperature. The draft is very similar to wind and it happens as the air circulates at the high speed. If your guinea pig is exposed to the draft, it will almost surely get the flu or other serious illness. Before you put your guinea pig cage at the spot you want, be sure to free the house of any drafts.
Check your doors, windows or any openings and close them if you can. This will ensure that both you and your guinea pig don’t suffer from conditions that we mentioned before.
Natural Light During the Day
During the day, your guinea pig needs a lot of natural light (sunlight). As with humans, a synthesis of vitamin D is increased when exposed to the sun. This will ensure that your guinea pig gets its required dose of vitamin D, which is important for heart and muscles. Speaking of vitamins, you can always supplement your guinea pigs with an additional dose of vitamin C and D but be sure not to overdo it.
In some countries, the air is naturally very humid and if it’s very hot outside, it can be very hard to breathe. Guinea pigs love dry conditions and they prefer spaces where the air is not so humid. Since you can’t directly influence the air around you, you can move your guinea pig’s cage to another space where the air is less humid. For example, laundry and bathroom isn’t that kind of space. We use our bathrooms for showering with hot water, which is quite the opposite of what guinea pigs need.
A dark and humid-free space can be your bedroom or the attic. Simply put, this needs to be a place where you don’t use hot water or take showers. Even the basement is a good space if you don’t live above underground water, which can further exacerbate the problem.
Guinea pigs live in places where they don’t suffer from temperature extremes, being it hot or cold temperatures. The room you keep your guinea pigs in should fulfill this condition to keep your guinea pig healthy and reduce the threat of illness. If your room is hot during the day and freezing cold during the night, that room shouldn’t be used for housing your guinea pigs. All in all, a temperature between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius is a sweet spot, just like it is for humans.
Being small animals, guinea pigs do require some special attention when it comes to a place for sleep and living. On the other hand, these conditions are quite easy to fulfill and providing your guinea pig with a quality cage and living space isn’t all that expensive and time-consuming. Be sure to have a place with low humidity, constant temperature, no draft, and lots of natural light for your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs might be rodents, but they aren’t that durable when it comes to temperature extremes and bad living conditions.