Guinea pig owners see their furry little family members do a lot of crazy things almost every day, but one thing that most guinea pig owners will never see is their guinea pig with closed eyelids.
Guinea pigs spend the overwhelming majority of their time with their eyelids wide open – even when they sleep! This has led to a lot of people wondering whether or not guinea pigs even have eyelids, and if they do how often (if ever) they blink.
Below we detail everything you need to know about guinea pigs blinking, from whether or not they actually do to how to diagnose guinea pig eyelid issues as well as a handful of other things you want to know as a responsible pet owner.
Let’s get right into it!
Do Guinea Pigs Blink?
Guinea pigs do in fact blink even if they don’t do so all that often – which is exactly why most people think they don’t blink at all! Unlike human beings (and a lot of other mammals, especially dogs, and cats) a guinea pig doesn’t have to blink multiple times every minute to keep their eyes healthy and moist.
Instead, guinea pigs only ever have to blink when there is something that’s actually inside out their eyeball, something causing an irritation or something that has caused an injury.
You see, guinea pigs all the way down near the bottom of the food chain. They have very poor vision and even blinking could mean the difference between life and death out in the wild.
This is why guinea pigs constantly have their eyelids open and how they have adapted to sleep with their eyes open, too!
Understanding Guinea Pig Eyelids and How They Work
Like a lot of other rodents, guinea pigs have over time developed one of the most advanced oculomotor systems in the mammal world.
This system is responsible for regulating how our eyes move, how we blink, and whether or not we can take over “manual control” of blinking or leave it on autopilot.
The system in guinea pigs allows them to suppress blinking for hours and hours on end, especially when they feel that they may be in imminent danger.
Interestingly enough, though, domesticated guinea pigs and those that are kept as pets eventually come to blink a whole lot more than guinea pigs in the wild.
This is because they feel comfortable, they feel relaxed, and they feel that they aren’t threatened the way they would be with wild predators all around them out in nature.
What If My Guinea Pig Blinks A Lot?
If your guinea pig is blinking a lot it usually means one of two things:
- Either your guinea pig is incredibly comfortable with you and their surroundings, so much so that they aren’t worried about predators at all or
- That they have some sort of injury, infection, or dust or debris that has weaseled its way into their eyes and needs to be removed
If you begin to notice that your guinea pig is blinking a lot more than normal it’s not a bad idea to have a closer inspection yourself.
If you spot any irritants it’s a good idea to bring your guinea pig to the vet rather than try and clear the issue yourself. As we highlighted earlier, guinea pigs vision is already pretty poor. You don’t want to run the risk of causing injury that could make it even worse.
Final Thoughts: Do Guinea Pigs Blink?
So, there you have it Guinea Pigs do blink they just don’t blink as often as humans and some other pets. Blinking and eye movement, color and clarity can often be a sign of stress or illness. So, remember to carefully inspect them from time to time to ensure their health is 100%.
If you see any signs of irregular eye movements or colors, seek medical advice from your local vet ASAP.