Guinea pigs are crepuscular, which means they’re most active during dawn and dusk. They’re also active during night, but certain conditions must apply during night, in order for your guinea pigs to stay healthy and happy.
Here’s a walkthrough on how to settle your guinea pigs for the night in just a few easy steps.
1. Top off their food and water
Guinea pigs are active throughout the night, but tend to be more quiet than during the day. In order to get them settled and prepared for the night, you need to top off their supply of food and check their water.
Before going to bed, you should check up on the following:
- Leave a decently sized pile of hay for them to munch on.
- Refill pellets if they already emptied the bowl.
- Scatter their veggies a bit, and sort out anything that’s gone bad.
- Refill their water bottle/bowl, and make sure it works.
2. Spot cleaning
Guinea pigs produce a lot of poop during the night, and if you’re using fleece liners the evening is a good time to do spot cleaning to keep your guinea pigs clean and comfortable throughout the night.
If you’re using bedding such as wood shavings or paper, evenings are also a good time to pick up any foods that are gone bad, remove urine stained hay, and perhaps aerate any wet areas by mixing wet shavings with dry shavings.
3. Make sure they’re either too hot or cold
If you’re keeping your guinea pigs in their own room, make sure it’s properly ventilated and temperature remains stable throughout the night. Guinea pigs are quite sensitive, and don’t handle temperature changes and drafts very well.
An ideal temperature lies between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and they should be able to go inside houses and/or beds inside their cage to stay out of the open during the night.
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Cover Their Cage at Night
Guinea pigs are active during the day and night, and if you happen to find yourself awake at night, you’ll usually see them walking around their cage quietly, while eating and relaxing.
However, guinea pigs are neither nocturnal or diurnal, but crepuscular, meaning they’re most active during dawn and dusk, but they’ll usually stay active day and night with short naps in between activities.
You may have considered covering their cage at night, in order to imitate a somewhat “natural” environment for them. However, they don’t really need to have their cage covered, but they certainly needs peace and darkness in order to stay well.
Below are some reasons why you should not cover their cage at night.
1. Guinea pigs don’t “sleep” through the night
While guinea pigs are usually less active when it’s dark outside, they usually lay idle during night instead of sleeping. Their daily and nightly schedule are somewhat similar, with small naps in between activity.
2. Guinea pigs are prey animals, and the shadow from a blanket may frighten them
Another important reason why you shouldn’t cover their cage at night, is the whole situation that comes out of it: being prey animals, guinea pigs are frightened by any shadows suddenly appearing out of nowhere, and a blanket simply acts as one big shadow that may startle your pigs and as such cause unnecessary stress.
3. Guinea pigs don’t need darkness to sleep or rest
While guinea pigs generally need darkness, they do quite well being in a place where lights are dim during evenings and turned off at night. It’s probably more important for them to be in a quiet room at night (and day), so make sure you’re offering them a peaceful spot in your house.
Settling Your Guinea Pigs for Day and Night Are Equally Important
Guinea pigs are active during day and night, and their cage needs to be in a nice and quiet spot. Ideally you’d place their cage in a room by itself, so they aren’t exposed to a lot of sounds and movements from you and/or kids throughout the day.
Because they are prey animals and skittish by nature, the peace is important for them in order to relax and stay comfortable all the time.
Related: Signs That Your Guinea Pig Is Happy