Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

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Guinea pigs are adorable to observe, most especially when they are sleeping. Getting all snuggly and warm in their enclosure with their little nose twitching every now and then can make everyone’s day a little better. Guinea pigs are vulnerable creatures and they are very prone to get startled every once in and while, even while they are sleeping.

With this, people wondered, do guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open? Here’s the answer!

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open? 

Guinea pigs do sleep with their eyes open. Not just because they cannot close their eyes but because they do not want to, especially when they are sleeping! Being vigilant is one of the innate traits of guinea pigs.

Guinea pig with eyes wide open and tri-colored fur stays on the ground with dry leaves and a two-colored fence

Guinea pigs are known as prey animals. Therefore, they need to always be alert to attacks and threats. This is the reason why guinea pigs rarely sleep with their eyes closed. If you have observed guinea pigs standing still with eyes open, it may be an indication that they are sleeping even though they look perfectly alert.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Eyes Open?

Guinea Pigs are known as prey animals, like hamsters, rabbits, and other small rodents, they have little to no innate features that they can use to fight back against predators. With this, guinea pigs live their lives constantly fearing a sudden attack from predators.

For them, there is no time to be relaxed and to sleep soundly. This is the reason why guinea pigs prefer sleeping with their eyes open. While they can sleep with their eyes closed, guinea pigs rarely do that because it means dropping down their defenses to zero, and they cannot afford to do that with their lives at stake.

However, there are various things one can do to make guinea pigs feel safer enough to close their eyes during slumber. Knowing and understanding guinea pigs’ behavior and attitude will tell you what to do to make them feel more comfortable in their environment. But before that, here are some of the useful and amazing facts about guinea pigs that you might want to know:

  • Even though guinea pigs do not have sharp claws, they have amazing wide eye vision. Guinea pigs have 340 degrees vision, which is why it is vital for them to keep their eyes open.
  • Guinea pigs rarely blink compared to humans. If they do, they are just trying to moist out their eyes to prevent it from drying out.
  • Guinea pigs have a sharp sense of hearing and smell which are their most powerful tools in avoiding attacks and threats.
  • Despite having 340 degrees vision, guinea pigs have poor eyesight. They cannot see very far. With that, they mostly rely on their other senses in detecting attacks from a distance.
  • It is a common misconception that guinea pigs prefer being active at night. While this depends on the guinea pigs’ mood, guinea pigs are mostly active at night because it is the most vulnerable time of the day. Having poor eyesight, guinea pigs do not go well in the dark. They commonly rely on their other senses at night, which is the reason why they can be very active.

Taking Care of Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are fragile animals, not just because they are at the lower end of the food chain but also because their bodies and minds are sensitive. They can easily get scared and startled which can be bad for their health. Most guinea pigs’ deaths are due to extreme fright. When they feel too scared or trapped in a situation, their heart would suddenly stop beating.

A brown and black guinea pig with eyes wide open beside a white and brown guinea on dry ground

However, this does not mean that guinea pigs can never live a long and happy life. In fact, guinea pigs can live up to 8-10 years! Of course, their lifespan varies depending on the way they are taken care of, their daily food intake, and their living environment.

Guinea pigs’ life can be longer, fuller, and happier when they are properly taken care of. Animal care varies depending on animals. For guinea pigs, providing their needs every day is enough.

They do not need walks like dogs or constant attention like cats. Just give them what they need and minimal interaction and they can live their best lives. Here are some of the things you might need for guinea pigs:

  • Unlimited amount of hay and grass
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Water bottle
  • Access to unlimited fresh and clean water
  • Large cage
  • Grooming kit for guinea pigs
  • Veterinary check-ups and supervision

Guinea pigs should always have unlimited access to hay, grass, and water. Moreover, they should have a proper cage and enclosure that is safe and big enough for them. While guinea pigs do not need baths, it is necessary to have their nails clipped and their teeth trimmed every now and then. This will avoid accidents and injuries for their owners and for themselves as well.

Guinea Pigs’ Diet

The one thing you need to remember about guinea pigs’ diet is to be careful. Guinea pigs cannot eat everything that you want them to eat, especially food that is designed for human consumption. Guinea pigs have a fragile stomach and more fragile organs and body systems to begin with. Thus, it is important to know how to balance their diet, and how to determine what is safe and dangerous for them to eat.

Guinea pigs’ diet is composed of 80% hay and grass, 10-15% fruits and vegetables, and 5-10% food pellets. Hay and grass are important in guinea pigs because it has high amounts of fiber that is beneficial for their sensitive digestive system. Moreover, nibbling and chewing on hay will prevent dental problems for them.

Lastly, commercial guinea pig food pellets should also be included in their diet. These pellets specially designed to give them the right amount of nutrients will help their bodies to fight against diseases. Moreover, it is a good substitute if one has no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Just remember to feed them in small amounts because too many pellets can cause obesity and diabetes.

A tri-colored guinea pig with eyes wide open stays in a cage with dry ground and a two-colored fence

Guinea Pigs’ Enclosure and Environment

Guinea pigs’ comfort mostly relies on the enclosure and the environment that they have. Providing them with the care and proper food diet is not enough for them to feel comfortable. Thus, putting extra effort to make a cozy, relaxing, and safe enclosure will assure that guinea pigs will be happier and healthier. By doing this, the possibility of sleeping with their eyes closed can be possible.

Guinea pigs need a lot of space. If you have only one guinea pig, 30 inches by 36 inches is the minimum size for their enclosure. Moreover, it should be 12 inches high to avoid escapees. Guinea pigs should have separate areas for their nest, bathroom, food, and water. Moreover, putting soft and thick bedding will provide comfort for them since they love to burrow under beddings. 

Lastly, guinea pigs need to have roam time outside of their enclosure. It doesn’t matter if their enclosures are big, they still need to roam around a much bigger area to promote wellness and to boost their intelligence as well. Plus, roam time can be a fun and interactive time you can spend with guinea pigs.

Related Questions

Is it Normal for Guinea Pigs to Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Guinea pigs normally sleep with their eyes open. This is a distinctive trait in them due to their prey instincts. Guinea pigs need to be alert all the time, even when they are sleeping, to avoid sudden attacks and ambushes from predators.

Do Guinea Pigs Like to Sleep in the Dark? 

Guinea pigs rarely sleep at night due to their prey instincts. However, they love sleeping in the dark. When guinea pigs are in the wild, they tend to look for a sheltered, dark spot where they can take a nap while hiding from predators.


Guinea Pigs do sleep with their eyes open. This is because they need to always be vigilant and alert against attacks from predators. Guinea pigs are considered prey animals and are always careful even when they are sleeping.

However, they can also sleep with their eyes closed if they feel safe enough. Thus, taking care of guinea pigs requires attention, love, care, and understanding for them to feel comfortable and safe in their environment.