Guinea pigs are interesting creatures. There is a lot to learn about these animals if you keep them as pets. Most new guinea pig owners find that their guinea pigs have their eyes open all the time, leading many to wonder if these animals ever blink.
Guinea pigs do blink, but they blink so fast that it is barely perceivable by humans. Guinea pigs do not blink often and only do so to remove debris and dirt from their eyes or to clean them. Guinea pigs usually keep their eyes open at all times for protection from predators.
Guinea pigs are prey animals and have many natural predators. These creatures were not always domesticated and are found in the wilds of several South American countries. This means that guinea pigs have several defense mechanisms that have evolved over many years, including keeping their eyes open as much as possible. Let’s explore how guinea pigs blink a little deeper.
Do Guinea Pigs Blink?
If you have ever observed a guinea pig for a while, you will find that they very rarely close their eyes, and they appear never to blink, either. If you ever take on a guinea pig in a staring contest, you’ll know just how hard it is to outstare a guinea pig.
However, guinea pigs do blink on occasion. They do not blink nearly as frequently as humans do though. Guinea pigs rarely blink, and when they do, they blink so fast that it is almost impossible to notice unless you are specifically looking for it.
Guinea pigs have evolved to keep their eyes open as much as possible to stay alert for potential predators that may be on the hunt. If a guinea pig closes its eyes, they are more likely to fall prey to another animal.
For this reason, guinea pigs have developed the ability to keep their eyes open almost all the time, even sometimes when sleeping!
The mechanism that guinea pigs have for blinking is highly efficient and controlled by very powerful and fast-acting muscles. This mechanism provides guinea pigs with one of the fastest blinks of all rodents.
Guinea pigs blink significantly faster than humans and even blink much faster than other prey animals, such as rabbits, which have a fast blink of their own.
All of this means that guinea pigs do blink, but not often, and when they do, you are not likely to see it happen.
When Do Guinea Pigs Blink?
Guinea pigs rarely blink, and we often don’t notice when they do. This leads us to the question of ‘when and why do guinea pigs blink?’
The blink of a guinea pig is somewhat elusive and difficult to see. These animals usually only blink when their eyes feel particularly dry or when they need to clear something from their eyes.
Guinea pigs are burrowing animals, and they live underground in the wild. This means that they are likely to get debris in their eyes and need a way of cleaning them to prevent harm and keep them healthy.
As with almost all other mammals, guinea pigs blink to remove debris from their eyes and to keep them clear, clean, and healthy. This means that guinea pigs are most likely to blink when they have something in their eye or when the air is drier than usual.
If you want to see a guinea pig blink, watch them closely for a period of time, particularly when the air is dry or when they are digging around in their hay pile.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Keep Their Eyes Open?
Guinea pigs have their eyes open almost all of the time. These animals are rarely seen with their eyes closed, but it does occasionally happen when they are sleeping and feel safe in their home.
Guinea pigs keep their eyes open almost all of the time to stay aware of potential predators. Obviously, this is less necessary for our pet guinea pigs, but they have evolved this way over many years from their wild ancestors to protect themselves from predation.
This is the same reason why guinea pigs have such an acute sense of hearing, are more comfortable in large numbers, like to hide and burrow in their hay, and never sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time.
Guinea pigs are very small, and they have no significant defensive attributes. They are very vulnerable to predators of all kinds, both nocturnal and diurnal, and so guinea pigs must keep their eyes open at all times to ensure their own safety.
Guinea pigs also have a wide range of vision to assist with their survival, stretching nearly 340 degrees around their body. They can also see more frames per second than humans, meaning they can see images more clearly even as they are running or spinning their heads away.
If guinea pigs close their eyes at all, they are likely to succumb to a predator, especially when out in the open. The ability to keep their eyes open all the time keeps guinea pigs safe and helps to ensure their survival.
Do Guinea Pigs Always Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
Guinea pigs are known to always have their eyes open, but what about when they are sleeping? Do guinea pigs close their eyes while they sleep?
Guinea pigs sometimes close their eyes when sleeping if they feel safe to do so. However, it is common to see guinea pigs sleeping with their eyes fully or partially open. Guinea pigs sleep for only short periods of time and have developed the ability to keep their eyes wide open while they sleep.
This ability enables a portion of the guinea pig’s brain to remain active and subconsciously look for movement and potential danger, in which case the guinea pig will wake up and run away.
Keeping their eyes open while sleeping also tricks predators into thinking that they are awake, even though they are asleep. This is all part of the defense mechanisms that guinea pigs have developed to maximize their chances of survival in the wild.
Do Guinea Pigs Close Their Eyes?
Guinea pigs rarely close their eyes, causing many guinea pig owners to find themselves wondering if these animals ever close their eyes at all.
Guinea pigs do close their eyes occasionally. They will blink when something irritates their eyes, but they only fully close their eyes when they feel completely safe and protected.
If you ever see your guinea pig sleeping with their eyes closed, especially out in the open, it means that the guinea pig feels very safe and comfortable in their environment. Sleeping with closed eyes is very rarely observed in wild guinea pigs but is more common in pet guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs do blink, but only to clean their eyes, remove debris, or moisten their eyes when necessary. They do not blink at nearly the same frequency as humans do, and when they do blink, they blink extremely quickly.
Guinea pigs keep their eyes open almost all the time to protect themselves from danger, even while they sleep. This is perfectly normal for guinea pigs and nothing to be concerned about. If your guinea pig seems to never blink or close their eyes, there’s no need to be concerned at all. This is completely normal guinea pig behavior.