Guinea pigs are fun little animals to own. They are cute, adorable, smart, and can do tricks as well if you train them over time. Sometimes you might notice them not blinking and wonder if it’s a trick. Do guinea pigs blink?
Guinea pigs have eyes, and eyelids as well. They can and are able to blink perfectly fine. However, at times they may not blink which can confuse their owners into thinking that they cannot blink at all. Well, they are wrong and guinea pigs can and they do blink.
It’s a proven fact that your pet piggy suffers from poor eyesight. Blinking can become a cause of life or death for these poor creatures. They blink when something is irritating their eyes. Here’s a detailed insight into this.
How Do Guinea Pigs Blink – The Complete Answer
Guinea pigs have poor eyesight in general. If they blink, the millisecond that their eyes are closed could mean the difference between life and death.
A fun fact about your pet piggy is that they can sleep with their eyes open! Unfortunately, they have to adapt to this since closing their eyes could simply mean they are lowering their chances of defense against predators.
Their eyes are fascinating since they can live up to 4 to 8 years of age without blinking most of the time.
Want to know more about their amazing capabilities? Read more to find out the answers to all of your questions.
1) Do Guinea Pigs Have Eyelids?
Of course, they do. Without eyelids, you will not be able to blink your eyes and the same goes for your pet piggy as well. The reason why one might ask this question is the fact that some animals do not have eyelids.
Fortunately, guinea pigs have eyelids. The animals that do not have eyelids include fish and snakes.
2) How Do Guinea Pig Eyelids Work?
Guinea pigs have eyelids that are backed by one of the most effective oculomotor systems in the wild.
The oculomotor system in a guinea pig regulates how its eyes move, how they blink, and the frequency of its blinking. The same system allows them to avoid blinking at all.
Sometimes, it can go for an hour, sometimes, it may go for consecutive hours. Simply put a guinea pig will avoid blinking for as long as possible when it senses danger.
However, when it comes to domestic piggies, the frequency of blinking of a pet piggy will be different. Due to no imminent danger, your pet piggy will be more comfortable.
This leads to your pet piggy comfortably and sometimes, they may become too comfortable and start blinking a lot. As long as they stay out of harm’s way and sense no danger, your pet piggy will blink.
3) Why Is Blinking Important?
Eyelids are essentially the protective element that protects the eyes. With no blinking, eyes might become dry and infected. With no eyelids, no living organism would be able to blink.
Blinking is important in a way that they keep the eyes moist and provides you with a way to remove debris from the eye. The same goes for guinea pigs as well.
When they blink, it helps with the irritation in their eyes that they may have due to debris.
4) How Often Do Guinea Pigs Blink?
When it comes to the intensity of blinking for guinea pigs, it’s not too often. Unlike humans that require blinking to be on auto-pilot, guinea pigs only blink when they feel the need to.
Simply put, they will only blink when necessary. Based on this, a guinea pigs’ blinking is not on auto-pilot like humans and they manually blink.
The primary reason why your pet piggy might blink is if something gets in their eye. Blinking helps them clear it out since your pet piggy does not have the ability to touch its face.
5) Do All Guinea Pigs Have The Same Blinking Frequency?
Just like us, every pet piggy is different than the other. They blink at different rates than one another. The factor that determines their rate of blinking is how secure they may feel.
A pet piggy that is comfortable with its surroundings and does not feel threatened will likely have a higher frequency of blinking, But, keep in mind this only applies to domestic guinea pigs.
In the wild, guinea pigs will rarely blink. This is due to the fact that they feel an imminent threat to their life at all times.
The adorable little creature fears if he or she closes its eyes, a predator would jump out of nowhere and attack them.
6) Do Guinea Pigs Blink When They Sleep?
The fear of them being attacked by predators is hard-wired in their brains. No matter how secure they are, they may still feel a threat to their life. Due to this, guinea pigs will sleep with their eyes open and may blink.
As mentioned earlier, they will blink when they feel the need to. It does not matter if your pet piggy is asleep, if it has its eyes open it will blink if there is any irritation in its eye.
When a foreign particle enters a piggy’s eye, it will blink. It is essentially a natural instinct. When their eyes become too dry, they will blink to get them moist which is another reason why they may blink in their sleep.
However, the frequency of blinking when their eyes get dry will be less than when they are awake. This is due to the fact that they require less energy when they are asleep.
Due to this, their eyes will likely get dry at a lower rate during sleep which ultimately makes their blinking frequency lower.
7) Do Guinea Pigs Blink When Startled?
In short, no they do not. Your pet piggy will likely avoid blinking when it is startled. Startling will only put them in a much defensive state of mind due to which they will avoid blinking at all.
Instead, they will become more active and keep an eye out for any possible threats to their life.
8) What If My Guinea Pig Blinks A Lot?
When a guinea pig blinks a lot, it can either be good or a cause of concern. The blinking of a guinea pig depends on the environment and the surroundings he or she is kept in.
If your pet piggy feels secure, comfortable, and safe in its surroundings he or she will likely blink a lot.
This is good considering the fact that your pet piggy is in a relaxed state of mind and does not have to worry about its surroundings or any possible threats.
Here comes the bad part:
If your pet piggy is, unfortunately, suffering from an injury in the eye or something is irritating its eye, he or she will blink a lot. Dust, debris, or injury are some things that can irritate a guinea pig’s eye.
If you notice your pet piggy is blinking with a much higher frequency compared to normal, you should examine your pet piggy.
This will allow you to determine if your pet piggy is too comfortable or miserable.
Pick up your pet piggy and examine its eyes. If you notice any foreign debris or any infection, you should take your pet to the vet.
Clearing it out yourself will likely make things worse. Since your pet piggy already has poor eyesight and eye health, a vet is what your pet piggy needs at this point.
This will lower the risk of you hurting your pet’s eyes more and get your pet piggy the help that he or she deserves.
As mentioned earlier, the primary reason why a piggy blinks a lot is its environment. Here are some things to look for in the environment to get to the root of the cause.
A) Soap Entering Your Pet Piggy’s Eyes:
When it is bath time for your pet piggy, you need to be extra careful with them as if you were giving a bath to a baby. What’s interesting about guinea pigs is the fact that they self-groom.
They are perfectly capable to clean themselves and you will not have to bathe them often. But there are times when they need an extra pair of hands to get them clean.
Now, when you intend to bathe them, you need to keep soap away from their eyes. Even the slightest exposure to soap can create problems for your pet piggy.
It will lead to irritation in the eyes and your pet piggy will be blinking more frequently. Additionally, there are shampoos in the market that are perfectly safe for animals like guinea pigs. Try using them to avoid the risks.
Besides, bathing will also help your pet piggy avoid smelling.
B) Bedding Can Also Lead To Problems:
Bedding is supposed to be safe and relaxing for your pet piggy. However, there are certain bedding types that can create problems for your pet guinea pig. For instance, cedar can be irritating for your pet piggy.
To avoid the risks of putting your pet piggy in distress, you need to get aspen wood bedding. If your pet is not fond of that, you can try using much softer bedding.
The only downside to that will be the fact that it would have to be changed frequently. But, your pet guinea pig gets to stay safe from eye irritation and it will be one less thing for you to worry about.
C) Certain Scents Can Also Become Cause Of Irritation:
None of us expect scents to create problems for animals like guinea pigs. However, there are instances where they can become a cause of concern. Guinea pigs do not like certain scents, these include:
- Oil diffusers
- Scented sprays
- Scented products that are essentially airborne
If you use these around your pet guinea pig, keep an eye out for excessive blinking. If you do notice any such signs, you need to remove all the scents near them.
D) Eye Injuries Can Be A Cause Of Irritation In The Eyes:
Every pet owner wants their pet to be safe and sound. No pet owner would want their pet piggy to suffer from eye injuries. If your pet piggy has an eye injury it is highly likely that he or she will blink excessively.
Even a slight scratch and create problems for your guinea pig. Worried your pet might be suffering from an eye injury? Look out for the following symptoms:
- Eye discharge
In case you see any of these symptoms, stop doing everything. Take your pet to the local vet immediately and allow them to work their magic on your pet piggy!
9) How Well Can A Guinea Pig See?
Guinea pigs do not have the greatest of eyesight. They suffer from poor eyesight even though they have a great range of vision i.e. 340 degrees. They have a complication in their depth perception.
Due to this, they are unable to look at far-fetched things and often see a blurred image of what’s next to their eyes. They can only see things that are just about 1 meter away from their eyes.
But, fortunately, their other senses make up for their poor eyesight. They rely on the smell and sounds from their surroundings. This helps them move around and stay alert.
To further aid with their poor eyesight, they also have a very strong memory. It helps them keep track of their surroundings and allows them to roam around.
Due to a strong memory, they remember where they can find food and the tunnels that they use.
Here is a fun fact about your pet piggy:
When a guinea pig is kept in domestic houses, they can remember where there is an obstacle. For instance, they will know precisely where their cages are and can avoid the furniture on their way to get to the cage.
Healthy Foods To Help A Guinea Pig’s Vision
We understand guinea pigs have poor eyesight and may have a problem looking around. Unfortunately, their eyesight is weak since birth and they can only see up to 1 meter away from their faces.
But that certainly does not mean that you cannot help their eyesight and vision. In fact, you can help them keep their eyesight from weakening further and provide it with a boost by feeding them fresh fruits and veggies.
Fruits and veggies contain vitamins that can help your pet see better. Here are some safe and healthy foods that you can feed your furry friend.
If you hand-feed your pet piggy, make sure you stay cautious when feeding him or her sweet foods. They may bite you out of their sheer love and excitation for sweet foods.
When feeding your pet piggy fresh fruits and veggies, make sure you feed them in moderation. Always feed them in small quantities to avoid the risks of overfeeding them.
Overfeeding will expose them to a high concentration of certain nutrients that may become a cause of concern for your pet guinea pig. It will lead to numerous health complications such as obesity and diabetes.
Obesity will make your pet inactive and can lead to fatigue, heart complications, and back pain as well. Additionally, it can also lead to digestive complications and no pet owner would certainly want that.
To avoid all this, you need to feed your pet guinea pig these fruits and veggies as part of their balanced diet. Never overfeed your pet piggy or feed him or her the same treats on consecutive days.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Do Guinea Pigs Close Their Eyes?
In short, yes they can close their eyes. However, the chances of this happening are slim to none. On rare occasions, they will close their eyes. Your pet piggy is an active animal and likes to stay active.
Initially, when you get your pet piggy, they will be new to your house and its surroundings. They will likely stay more active and never close their eyes.
Once they stay a couple of months with you and get comfortable and safe around you, they will doze off. At this point, they will feel secure and will not be worried about getting attacked by predators if they close their eyes.
Give your pet piggy ample time and let them get accustomed to their new house. You cannot rush your pet piggy into getting comfortable around you. All you can do is pet them and give them the love they deserve.
Eventually, they will get accustomed to you and start trusting their surroundings.
2) Why Is My Guinea Pig Blinking Only One Eye?
Your pet piggy may sometimes just blink one eye. As mentioned earlier, the only reason why your pet piggy will blink only one eye is when he or she has irritation in the eye.
If your pet piggy is blinking one eye, he or she may have debris or infection in that eye. Better get that checked out and if things are serious, you need to take your pet to the vet.
On a side note, it is completely normal and there is nothing that you should be worried about.
3) How Often Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
Your pet piggy has the ability to sleep with its eyes open. Due to this, it is hard to track their sleep cycles and determine how long or how often do guinea pigs sleep.
But to give you a general idea, your pet piggy will likely sleep for over 10 hours in a day. They may sometimes take short naps. Each of their nap only lasts for about 10 minutes.
Your pet may sleep with its eyes close when he or she is super comfortable in their living space and feels secure.
4) Should I Give My Guinea Pig Eye Drops?
In short, no you should not. No pet owner can see his or her pet in discomfort. When you see indications of eye injury in your pet piggy, you may be tempted to aid them by giving them eye drops.
Take your pet to the vet and if he or she recommends eye drops, only then you can give your pet piggy eye drops. Other than that you need to avoid giving your pet piggy any medicine.
This will only lead to problems and is entirely unnecessary. So, you should avoid risking your pet piggy’s already weak eyes.
Do guinea pigs blink? Yes, they do blink at times. However, just like humans, they are not automated and only blink when they feel the need to. The primary reason why they blink is when they have irritation in the eyes.
Other than that, they are the masters at suppressing their blinking. The reason why they rarely blink is that they feel insecure. They feel like if they blink, a predator might come and attack them.
So, not blinking allows them to stay active and sharp in the wild and defend themselves better. In domestic households, your pet piggy will be able to close its eyes and blink simply because they feel no threats whatsoever.