As guinea pig parents, you probably already know that guinea pigs are up at all hours of the day, sporadically active throughout with little-to-no set sleeping schedule. They could be up at two in the morning running around with each other, or asleep at eight in the morning and up again an hour later. It’s safe to say that guinea pigs enjoy the dark at least, but we’d even go as far as to say they prefer the dark!
Guinea pigs are prey animals
As you may know, guinea pigs are naturally prey animals and their behavior has everything to do with that fact! Even though they are living at home with you where there are no predators and virtually no dangers to them in that regard, anxious, protective behaviors are still in their instincts! We wouldn’t take it too personally or as a reflection of your treatment of them. Making them feel comfortable is a way that you can bond with them indirectly.
Guinea pigs in the wild are used to living in large herds because there is safety in numbers for them! When they live in groups, they’re able to look out for each other and keep everyone in the herd safe. Guinea pigs are quite anxious animals, but having companions can help them out with that. This is why when you’re keeping guinea pigs at home, it’s always recommended that you have more than one—they thrive and live more happily this way. The more the merrier is definitely the motto when it comes to guinea pigs.
You may notice that your guinea pigs are sleeping in what almost seems like shifts, with some awake while others are asleep, and vice versa at other times of the day. Guinea pigs are also quite generally active at night when you’re asleep too—you might have heard them wheeking or squeaking at each other at random points of time in the night. If you’ve ever checked on them, you’ll probably see that they’re running around and eating as usual regardless of the time.
Part of the reason why they’re so active at night is because that’s when a lot of their predators in the wild would be asleep. Instinctively that makes them more comfortable being out in the open in the cages and doing whatever it is they want to do. This doesn’t mean that they see you as a predator, it just means that they’re still following what makes them feel comfortable in their own home.
We think it’s important to encourage guinea pigs to perform behaviors that make them feel safe and comfortable in their environment. This is beneficial for you and for them—by giving them the tools to perform the behaviors that already come naturally to them, you can build their trust in you at the same time. This helps a lot with bonding with your guinea pig and making them more comfortable around you and your family.
How do you encourage your guinea pig to hide? Make sure there are dark areas of their cage that they can get to and stay in safely whenever they need some time to themselves! Everyone needs a little alone time, even if they love the people (or piggies) around them. This way, you’re the one creating the dark corners, but you’ll always know where they are.
For example, if you make their cage two-stories, you’ll know that your guinea pig can hide in the areas where the second level is right above because there’s a darker section there. You can utilize lots of hideys and tunnels for them to tuck themselves into.
Try out the GuineaDad Liner and GuineaDad Premium Liners! They come with a built-in pocket in the design because we knew that we want to make a product that makes guinea pigs feel more comfortable and safer in their home. We like to tuck hideys into the pocket to make a doubly-dark spot for them to hide in if they wanted to. We have our GuineaDad Crunchy Condo and GuineaDad Queen’s Castle, two of our hidey options.
The GuineaDad Queen’s Castle is a solid wood hidey that is also edible! It’s just as great for teeth maintenance as it is for your guinea pigs to tuck themselves into. It’s super sturdy and long-lasting, so you won’t have to worry about needing to replace it either.
The GuineaDad Crunchy Condo is our cardboard hidey that comes in a pack of 3! Of course, you could just use whatever cardboard boxes you have lying around, but you don’t have a way of knowing whether the ink or the adhesives in the cardboard are safe for your guinea pigs.
When it comes to our Crunchy Condo, everything from the cardboard itself, to the water-activated tape that we provide for assembly is safe for your guinea pigs. The ink on the hideys are food touch-safe ink, and is totally fine for your guinea pigs if they decide to munch on it (and they will!).
Both of these hidey options can be used to conveniently be tucked into the pockets of your GuineaDad Liners. What’s important is that while the hideys allow your guinea pigs to be in the dark if they want to be, there are also two ways to enter and exit the hideys, that way no one gets stuck inside with no way out! Safety is obviously one of the most important goals of ours.
There’s no need to worry about your piggies in the dark!
They’re up and at ‘em in the middle of the night because they want to, and they’ll enjoy any kind of darkness that you can create for them to enjoy during the day as well, whether that’s placing their cage in a more shadow-y area of your living room, or purposely creating dark spots for them to tuck into!
Your guinea pigs will love and trust you even more if you enable the behaviors that make them more comfortable and feel safe. Your piggies will live happier and healthier lives this way!