You probably wonder to yourself, why you hardly ever saw your guinea pigs blink. How often (if ever) do guinea pigs blink? This is a very interesting topic. We, as humans blink 15-20 times each minute! and it seems our guinea pig hardly does it if at all…
Your guinea pig will not blink so often. They actually hardly blink. Most of the day, it will be with his eyelids wide open – even when sleeping, yes! Unlike us humans, they don’t need to blink 15 times each minute in order to keep their eyes moist, so if they do blink it can be probably due to some dust got into their eyes, or dry weather conditions.
We will go into detail about everything you need to know about guinea pig’s eyelids and blinking. How often do they blink and why they are sleeping while their eyes are wide open. Sometimes it can be an eyelid issue and we need to know how to diagnose it and treat it.
Let’s have a closer look at this in detail!
Do guinea pigs have eyelids?
Yes, guinea pigs have eyelids. They also do blink, but they do it so fast, you can hardly notice. In fact, according to one scientific study, guinea pigs blink much faster than humans or rabbits.
They will usually use their eyelids to clear away dust or dirt inside their eyes, or if the weather is very dry, to keep their eyes moist.
However, even if they blink, it’s rare and you won’t see them blink often, or close their eyes at all.
Can Guinea Pigs Blink?
Yes, guinea pigs can blink, but as we said, you will not see them blink very often, if at all.
However, when they do blink, it can be due to dry weather conditions, or due to some dust got inside their eyes.
The main reason for Guinea pigs not blinking very often is that they lie at the bottom of the food cycle and when in the wild, they are surrounded by predators most of the time. We could expect them to be always in “alert” mode, ready to escape or hide from a coming predator, so closing their eyes is not a valid option in that situation.
Their eye movement and blinking behavior are well controlled by a very advanced Oculomotor System so they can even decide when to blink, or when not. Usually, when they feel secure, they let themselves blink and when they feel in danger, their eyes always stay open.
Their eye vision also doesn’t make their life easier. Guinea pigs don’t have good eye vision at all, thus a vision disruption, even if it’s for a fraction of a second, can be ended not on their behalf. Blinking can actually become a matter of life or death for them in the wild.
However, If you set a nice, comfortable area for your guinea pig, you might see him close his eyes, meaning he feels calm and secured.
Do Guinea Pigs Close Their Eyes?
Yes, they do. Not so often though, and if they would blink, it will be for a fraction.
If you just introduced your guinea pig to another one, or to a new environment then you will probably see your new guinea pig is always in alert mode, tense, and will rarely close his eyes. However, as time goes by and your new guinea pig gets to know you, touch you, and cuddle with you, he will feel much more comfortable and you might get the chance to see him close his eyes.
If you have not yet read my article on How To Introduce A New Guinea Pig then I will encourage you to go ahead and do so. You will get to learn more about their behavior, and how exactly you should make the introduction to your new guinea pig in the most suitable way.
Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
You probably thought that guinea pigs hardly sleep as you always see them with their eyes wide open. Let me tell you, you probably already saw your pet asleep while not knowing this is the case. The fact is that Guinea pigs sleep with their eyes wide open! Scary, I know.
Guinea pigs were at the bottom of the food chain and years of evolution helped our guinea pig develop a magical Oculomotor System allowing them to fully control their eye movements, yes, you guessed right, even when they are asleep!
Think they should have been hiding or escaping predators all the time. They needed to be always on guard, with their eyes wide open, ready to run.
However, If you provide your guinea pig a comfort zone, you may catch them asleep with their eyes closed.
You may see your guinea pig sleep with his eyes closed also when cuddling near his cage mate. Again, It means he feels very comfortable and relaxed near his friend. So, If your guinea pig is alone, consider bringing him a new friend.
Is it normal for Guinea pigs to Blink?
Yes, It’s completely normal to have your guinea pig blink their eyes. They just do it so fast that we usually can’t catch it up.
Remember that most of the time they are in “alert” mode, trying to see if there is a predator around, so they hardly will blink, but if they do, it’s completely normal and means they feel safe and relaxed in their environment, or they just trying to put some dirt from their eyes.
If My Guinea Pigs Blinking A lot?
Sometimes you may see your guinea pig blink their eyes very often. This may be due to some dust cover their eyes, some dirt got inside their eyes, or the weather is too dry and they are just trying to moist their eyes.
However, if you’ll find your guinea pigs blinking their eyes very often, it’s not a good sign. Maybe they are unable to clear the dust from their eyes, or they have some eyelid issues.
Often times large debris can cause red and swollen eyes in guinea pigs.
Don’t try to use any kind of eye drops, it’s a mistake which can cause serious damage to your guinea pig eyes. The best way will be to take the guinea pig to the closest vet.
So, Let’s summarize what we learned here. Do Guinea pigs have eyelids? Yes. Do they often blink? No, They hardly blink at all. Blinking, in general, may put them in serious danger out in the wild, so they developed that advanced mechanism of controlling their eye movements, even when they are sleeping! So remember, when you see them not moving for a while with their eyes wide open, They are sleeping.
However, If you build a strong bond with your guinea pig, letting him feel secure and relaxed, you might have him close his eyes when he sees you around him.
We do need to remember that if they blink more than often, it may be a sign of a medical issue and it’s time to go over your near vet ASAP.