Do Guinea Pigs Blink?

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Guinea pig owners witness their furry little family members perform a variety of odd things virtually every day, but most will never see their guinea pig with closed eyes. Guinea pigs spend the vast majority of their time with their eyelids open — even while sleeping. The odd quirk may make you wonder: do guinea pigs blink?

Do Guinea Pigs Blink?

Yes, guinea pigs blink when needed, usually to prevent dirt and dust from entering their eyes. If they do not blink, the debris and dirt can cause their eyelids to become irritated and even infected.

A tri-colored guinea pig and a two-colored pig are beside each other on a gray floor

The reason that guinea pigs do not blink very often is that they are prey animals, with many natural predators. Thus, they need to stay alert against any impending danger and only blink when absolutely necessary.

Do Guinea Pigs Blink When They Sleep?

As strange as the question sounds, guinea pigs actually sleep with their eyes open. The reason comes down once again to them being prey animals. Even domesticated cavies have this trait as it is in their intrinsic nature to sleep with their eyes partially or completely open.

They will only blink to remove any unwanted particles from their eyes, similar to when they are awake.

In fact, they may blink even less while they slumber compared to when they are awake. This is because when they are sleeping and not very energetic, their eyes dry out more slowly and, thus, they do not need to blink to moisten their eyes.

Understanding Guinea Pig Eyelids and Their Functions

Guinea pigs have a mechanism that allows them to cease blinking for extended periods of time, particularly when they are in danger.

Domesticated and kept as pets, guinea pigs, on the other hand, progressively learn to blink far more than wild guinea pigs.

This is because they are at ease and comfortable and do not feel threatened if they are surrounded by wild predators in nature.

What Do Guinea Pigs Blink When Startled?

Most guinea pigs startle easily. Anything from new human visitors to loud noise can make them scared. However, unlike human beings, guinea pigs do not blink when startled.

A brown and black guinea pig eats green leaves placed on a gray floor

In fact, they keep their eyes wide open to make sure that there are no threats in the vicinity. This is a smart tactic and one of the many traits that help them survive in the wild.

Is Excessive Blinking in Guinea Pigs Ok?

Since guinea pigs do not blink very often, excessive blinking can be a sign of something that is bothering them. If you notice your cavy blinking a little too much, try to investigate the reason immediately to make them comfortable.

Usually, excessive blinking can indicate that the guinea pig has an eye infection or injury. Notice any signs of redness, swelling, or excessive discharge from the eye and take them to the vet immediately if that is the case.

Here are a few other things to keep an eye out for if your cavy is blinking too much:

  • Soapy eyes after a bath
  • Bedding that can cause irritation such as cedar
  • Certain scents around the house such as scented candles and sprays, incense, or oil diffusers

How to Prevent Eye Problems in Guinea Pigs?

Not all eye issues in guinea pigs are preventable. However, you can:

  • Ensure that their cage is clean
  • Try to avoid a fight between guinea pigs that share a cage
  • Pay close attention to your cavy’s eyes and take them to the vet immediately
Guinea pig with tri-colored fur eats onion leaves placed on a gray surface

Do Guinea Pigs Have Good Eyesight?

Even though guinea pigs are believed to have a vision of 340 degrees, they do not have great eyesight. Since they have limited depth perception, they cannot see very far. They are also shortsighted with an estimated range of only one meter.

Thus, guinea pigs do not rely on vision as heavily as human beings and some other animals. They depend on smell, hearing, and a good memory to get themselves around and stay alert in nature.

Related Questions

Do Guinea Pigs Know When You Kiss Them?

Yes, guinea pigs know when you kiss them and even like being kissed by the person they are affectionate towards. However, it depends on the individual pig’s personality; some enjoy kissing while others don’t.

Do Guinea Pigs Recognize Their Owners?

Yes, guinea pigs do recognize their owners. In fact, they are very responsive and interactive with the person who takes care of them. They may show their recognition by emitting welcoming squeaks that are distinguished from other sounds.


Guinea pigs blink as required, usually to keep their eyelids free from contaminants that can cause infections. However, they do not blink very often because they are prey animals and need to stay on alert. Blinking in guinea pigs is more of a necessity than a habit.