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Do Guinea Pigs Blink? (Night Vision, Eyesight & Eye Problems)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: March 15, 2022

If you’re wondering if guinea pigs blink, you’ve come to the right spot. Guinea pig blinking can be a sign of many things, and it’s important to know how to identify issues and other eye problems as a responsible pet owner.

Guinea pigs blink just when necessary, and their eyelids keep dust and filth out. A guinea pig’s eyes might become infected when unclean or rough bedding irritates them. When infected, the eyelid can swell and become noticeable.

Guinea pigs spend the vast majority of their time with their eyelids open, even when they sleep!

This has prompted a lot of people to wonder whether or not guinea pigs have eyelids and if they do, how frequently (if ever) they blink.

Do Guinea Pigs Blink?

Guinea pigs do blink even if they don’t do so very often – which is exactly why most people believe they don’t blink at all!

Many guinea pig owners believe that guinea pigs only blink about once every two minutes.

This lack of blinking is due to the structure of their eyes.

A guinea pig doesn’t have to wipe its eyes every minute to keep them healthy and moist, as human beings (and many other animals, especially dogs, and cats) are required to.

Instead, guinea pigs only ever have to blink when there is something that’s inside their eyeball, something irritating, or something that has caused an injury. 

Guinea pigs do have eyelids, but they don’t use them in the same way that humans do.

Guinea pigs leave their eyes open when sleeping instead of shutting them.

If you see your pet sleeping with eyes closed, you’re a happy guinea pig owner because this small animal feels safe with you.

Because guinea pig eyes are almost always open, it may appear as though they don’t have eyelids.

Guinea pigs blink frequently, and their eyelids are used to keep out dust and debris.

If dirty or sharp pieces of bedding irritate a guinea pig’s eyelids, they may become inflamed.

The eyelid of a guinea pig that has an infection will become swollen and apparent.

Contact your veterinarian if your guinea pig’s eyelid is red, puffy, or painful.

What Is the Importance of Eyelids?

The primary function of the eyelids is to protect the eyes.

The eyes are remarkable organs that are both sophisticated and helpful, yet they are also delicate.

Have you ever had a tiny grain of sand in your eye?

You cannot see it but you feel it, and it bothers you so much!

The eyes have biological defenses to keep debris and particles out.

And that is why eyelids are a key component in eye protection.

By using our eyelids to blink, we accomplish two main effects:

  • keep our eyes moist
  • remove debris or foreign objects from the eye, such as dust or dirt

Guinea pigs use the same mechanism for the same reasons.

Yet, they blink less often than we do.

Can a Guinea Pig Close Its Eyes?

Guinea pigs constantly have their eyelids open and how they have adapted to sleep with their eyes open, too.

Even when sleeping, you’ll notice that your guinea pigs are always vigilant and rarely close their eyes.

You are more likely to find your guinea pigs sleeping with their eyes closed if you have given them a comfort zone in their enclosure.

And, since guinea pigs blink, they can close their eyes.

However, a guinea pig blinks rapidly and, according to estimates, just once every two minutes.

Therefore, you won’t be able to catch your guinea pigs blinking if you engage in a staring competition with your pet.

You will blink first and lose!

How Often do Guinea Pigs Close Their Eyes?

Guinea pigs rarely close their eyes.

Usually, they just blink and continue keeping their eyes open.

Most of these small pets sleep with their eyes wide open.

Guinea pigs are prey animals; therefore, having their eyes open is in their nature.

It is considerably quicker to notice potential predators lurking around if their eyes are already open.

However, they will close their eyes when completely comfortable and feeling safe.

Therefore, if you notice your guinea pig closing its eyes, be happy and satisfied that your small animal feels safe and protected in its surrounding.

That just means you’re providing your guinea pig with all the comfort that this small animal needs.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Have Red Eyes?

Normally, guinea pigs don’t have red eyes unless they have lost the pigment from the iris and retina.

That is usually the case with albino guinea pigs.

Otherwise, your guinea might be suffering from conjunctivitis.

Bacterial or viral infections and allergies are the most frequent causes of conjunctivitis.

A sore red-looking eye and ocular discharge (ranging from white to yellow/green) in a guinea pig are typical symptoms of conjunctivitis.

If you notice anything abnormal going on with your guinea pigs eyes, take your pet to a vet immediately to prevent bigger issues.

Also, you may want to check out this video that explains “fatty” or “pea” eye in guinea pigs.

Why do Guinea Pigs Blink so Much?

Your guinea pig may blink their eyes frequently when you’re not looking.

Possibly, some dust is in their eyes or the weather is too dry and they’re just attempting to moisten them.

However, if your guinea pigs are closing and opening their eyes frequently, it’s a bad sign.

Perhaps they can’t remove the dust from their eyes or have some eyelid issues.

Large debris can induce redness and swelling in the eyes of your guinea pig.

Other reasons for frequent blinking may include overgrown teeth or corneal ulcers. 

Therefore, as excessive blinking points to an eye infection, the best solution is to take your guinea pig to the nearest vet immediately.

Don’t apply any type of eye drops to your guinea pig’s eyes, as this could result in permanent blindness.

Do Guinea Pigs Have Good Eyesight?

For instance, they have very sharp hearing and can detect high-pitched noises that we can’t hear.

They also have a keen sense of smell, which they use to find food and to recognize their owners.

Your guinea pig can’t see well, but this small animal also utilizes the sense of hearing and smell to find food.

When your guinea pig hears a sound, it perks up and tries to figure out what caused it; listening and smelling are the ways to figure out if a friend or foe is approaching the guinea pig’s cage.

Therefore, guinea pigs have poor eyesight, but they make up for it in other ways.

While they may not be able to see you approaching, they’ll be able to hear and smell you!

What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Guinea Pigs Eyesight?

The eyes of a guinea pig are located on the sides of the face, allowing a 340-degree view, in all directions.

Guinea pigs are prey animals at the bottom of the food chain so they must keep an eye on their surroundings.

Another benefit of guinea pigs’ eyesight is that they can see more images per second.

Unlike human beings, a guinea pig sees at least 33 images per second, which prevents their vision from becoming blurry when they quickly turn their heads.

In comparison, we can see only 22 images each second.

They have excellent smell and hearing, so they use a combination of senses to navigate and move around at night.

The advantages of a guinea pig vision:

  • 340-degree view
  • 33 images per second
  • Color

The weaknesses of a guinea pig vision:

  • clarity limited to 3 to 5 feet
  • poor depth perception

Are Guinea Pigs Colorblind?

Guinea pigs are not colorblind.

In fact, a guinea pig can detect color, so these small animals know when things are red, green, or blue.

Your guinea pig can see the moving images on your phone and is attracted to them, especially to bright colors and light.

Therefore, although a guinea pig is attracted to motion and lights, this small animal doesn’t understand what’s going on on the screen of your phone or TV.

Do Guinea Pigs Have Night Vision?

Although guinea pigs have 340-degree vision, don’t forget that their eyesight is very poor.

Besides, these small pets don’t need light during the night to move around, as they rely on other senses, hearing, smell, and touch, which allows them to navigate perfectly well within their habitats.

Likewise, guinea pigs have a very good memory, which allows them to move in their guinea pig’s cages without bumping into objects.

So, guinea pigs cannot see in the dark and don’t have night vision, but that doesn’t prevent them from staying active throughout the night although they are not nocturnal animals.

Final Thoughts

Now you know that guinea pigs have eyelids and that your guinea pig blinks rapidly and rarely, just once every two minutes or so, just because its eyes don’t require rapid and often blinking to keep remain moist and clean.

Most guinea pigs also sleep with their eyes open, so you won’t catch your guinea pig’s eyelids moving.

So, guinea pig owners who want to start a staring competition with their pets should be ready to lose.

Guinea pigs blinking often or keeping their eye(s) closed is not normal.

So, if your guinea pig’s eye is closed, your small pet blinks often, or has swollen or red eyes, take your pet to a vet immediately.

You’ve also learned much about guinea pigs’ vision.

Although they have very poor vision compared to many other animals, especially compared to predators, guinea pigs developed their other senses (the sense of smell, hearing, and touch) that allows them to overcome their eyesight weaknesses.

Author

Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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Last update on 2022-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API