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.
Where do guinea pigs sleep? Guinea pigs sleep in a dark area, using their bedding for that purpose. They need to have comfortable bedding and a shaded area, especially if they like to take naps during the day. Also, never leave the lights on at night since guinea pigs can sometimes display nocturnal behavior.
In this article, we’ll explain where guinea pigs sleep, how to provide a proper space for sleep, and why sleep is important for guinea pigs.
Where Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
Guinea pigs usually live in burrows that other animals have abandoned in the wild. They use this as a hideout away from predators, and at the same time, do their naps.
On the other hand, pet guinea pigs sleep in the bedding you made for them and in the dark room. That’s why it’s very important to provide high-quality bedding or buy one from the internet. The bedding for a guinea pig should be soft, moist-free, and give 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.
Here are some of the best bedding for your guinea pigs:
- Fleece bedding
- Natural kiln-dried wood shavings
- Good paper-based beddings
- Vet bed
- Cloth beddings
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 predators can easily hunt them, they prefer dark conditions for sleep. That’s why your guinea pig will seldom close its eyes.
This instinct comes from when guinea pigs were still in the wilderness. It allowed them always to stay ’awake’ and run away from potential predators.
Why Is My Guinea Pig Refused 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 a 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, but sometimes it’s not. 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.
A hungry guinea pig will let you know 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 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 packs of 10 grown-up pigs in the wilderness. 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 putting the cage somewhere close to you, but not too close. A scared guinea pig will most likely start to make noise to seek attention and mitigate the sense of fear.
Temperature Requirements for Guinea Pigs
Although guinea pigs prefer a darker environment for sleep, the place where they sleep should also not be too cold or too hot. Just like 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, they 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 pigs. 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 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 the 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, vitamin D synthesis 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 the 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, further exacerbating the problem.
Guinea pigs live in places where they don’t suffer from extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal?
Guinea pigs are crepuscular animals. They are mostly active during dusk and dawn. Also, they are active throughout the day, but they also take naps.
Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
Guinea pigs do sleep with their eyes open, and they don’t usually lie down. As prey animals, their instinct is to stay alert and run away from predators. However, they might completely close their eyes if they are highly comfortable with their surroundings. In the same way, when they eventually lie down, it’s either their comfortable or maybe there is something wrong with their health.
How Long Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
Guinea pig sleeps on an average of 9 -12 hours per day. Unlike humans that sleep for hours, they take several short naps that usually last for 6-10 minutes for the whole day.
Being small animals, guinea pigs do require some special attention 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 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 regarding extreme temperatures and bad living conditions.
List of Sources
Caring for Your Pet Guinea Pig
A Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig (Cavia Porcellus)