If you are the first-time owner of a guinea pig, you may be wondering if you need to leave a light on for them at night. On the other hand, since they live in a cage and don’t need to be able to get around while you are asleep, won’t the light bother them?
Here’s what you need to know about night lights and pet guinea pigs.
Should I Leave a Light on For My Guinea Pig at Night?
You don’t need to leave a light on at night for your guinea pig. While they can’t actually see in the dark, they can rely on their sense of smell and their spatial memory to find their way around their cage.
In fact, turning the light off will be beneficial for them, as it will simulate the wild, making them feel more safe and secure, and it will help them sleep better.
A guinea pig’s whiskers are very sensitive, and they can detect both changers in air current and identify objects in the cage. They will use them when they are exploring something new, and they will also serve as their beacons in the dark. They are highly unlikely to step on each other, be unable to find their food bowl or water bottle, or fly head first into the wall.
Their noses are also highly attuned and much more sophisticated than our own, so they will know exactly where their midnight snack is located. Add to that the fact that domesticated guinea pigs have a highly developed spatial memory, and you can stop worrying about your guinea pigs being left in the dark.
Piggies can remember where the corners of their enclosure are and exactly where their food and water can be found for months at a time. Even if you have recently changed their cage, they will be able to feel and sniff their way around it without any trouble.
Since guineas have poor depth perception, they can’t see all that well in the daytime either. They are very bad at judging heights, which is why they are so afraid of being lifted, and why they aren’t great at jumping up to surfaces.
Why Shouldn’t You Leave a Light On For Your Guinea Pig at Night
Guinea pigs are crepuscular animals, which means they are at their most active at dawn and at dusk. Since they are prey animals, and have very weak defense systems, and can easily be hunted down by most predators.
This is why, in the wild, they will venture out when it’s neither completely light nor completely dark, as opposed to when most predators are out and about. Since guinea pigs are small, they are also more difficult to spot in the semi-darkness.
If you were to leave a light on for your pet guinea at night, they might feel intimidated. They will be perfectly aware that the sun should have already gone down, and may choose to hide if there is an unnatural source of light surrounding their habitat.
If you turn the lights off, they will be able to rest better and feel more at home, and they’ll happily chirp up at dawn, ready to take on a new day.
The Benefits of Turning the Light Off During the Night
Since guinea pigs can easily find their way around their dark cage at night, there is no reason for you to leave a light on for them.
There are however several benefits to turning the light off:
- They will feel safer. Since guinea pigs are prey animals, they tend to be extra vigilant and hide at the slightest hint of danger. They need a dark, enclosed space they can retreat to during the day, and they need darkness at night.
- They will sleep better. Guinea pigs only sleep a couple of minutes at a time, and they nap both during the day and night. If you ensure the room they sleep in is dark, i.e. there is no unnatural light source, they will feel more secure, as it will also be calm and still.
- It simulates the wild. Guinea pigs know that the sun is supposed to rise and set at certain intervals. If the sun never actually sets, they are going to be very weirded out. Since they have no way of understanding the concept of electricity, don’t freak them out by leaving a light on.
Should I Cover My Guinea Pig’s Cage At Night?
You shouldn’t cover a guinea pig’s cage at night, as they don’t require total darkness to sleep in, but they do require plenty of fresh air.
If the room they are in is particularly cold for whatever reason, you can consider covering a part of their cage, so that they don’t feel too chilly. Make sure there is proper ventilation and that they aren’t in complete darkness.
Can Guinea Pigs Get Scared Of The Dark?
Guinea pigs are not afraid of the dark. In fact, they can feel quite comfortable in it, as they are then hidden from predators.
While guinea pigs can’t see in the dark, they can use their whiskers and their sense of smell to find their way around their habitats. They will also rely on their fantastic spatial memory.
Do Guinea Pigs Prefer The Dark Or Light?
Guinea pigs prefer the dark at night, and the light during the daytime. As they are prey animals, they will be most active at dawn and dusk, but will want to see the sun go up and down, so to speak.
When night falls, guinea pigs will prefer to be in the dark, as they can then hide from predators more easily. During the daytime, they like to see the sun and perhaps even bask in it a little bit (as long as it doesn’t get too hot).
Do Guinea Pigs Like To Sleep In The Dark?
Yes, guinea pigs like to sleep in the dark. While they don’t actually sleep, but nap for a couple of minutes at a time, they prefer to do it in the dark, where they feel more protected from predators.
They will seek out darker, more enclosed areas of their cage when napping, both during the day and night. This is what evolution has taught them: stay low, make yourself as small a target as possible, and don’t fall into a deep slumber, so that you can stay aware of any potential dangers.
Wrapping It Up
You don’t need to leave a light on for your guinea pigs at night, as they will be perfectly fine in the dark. They will nap better and feel more secure, knowing that a predator can’t easily spot them.