Yes, guinea pigs do blink, but only when necessary, like in the moments they need to keep dirt and dust out of their eyes.
Even though guinea pigs have eyelids, they don’t use those often, not even when sleeping.
When, Why, and How Guinea Pigs Blink?
Since guinea pigs are prey animals, they are always concerned about their safety, particularly in the wild.
On top of that, these little rodents do not have sharp eyesight, making them fear for their lives all the more.
Not having good vision and being at risk of getting attacked by a predator make cavies afraid of blinking, for doing so may lead to a fatal attack, especially during the night (as that’s when their vision is the weakest).
It may seem unbelievable, but the fact is that guinea pigs rarely blink, which is why most piggy parents do not see their fur child with closed eyes.
Guinea pigs lie at the lowest tier in the food pyramid; they are always on high alert to be able to run away when they sense danger close by.
For this reason, they have to keep their eyes open for as long as they need to get to safety.
That said, even when in a safe zone, cavies do not shut their eyelids because they believe that they are always being hunted down by wild animals.
The same thought process follows cavies into domestic households as they are innately wired to feel vulnerable, even if they are not. That is why guinea owners seldom get to see their guinea pigs blinking.
It must be noted that guinea pigs do not even close their eyes while sleeping, which can alarm new piggy parents.
Naturally, when you see your sweet pumpkin not blinking or shutting their eyes to sleep, you are justified to get worked up and assume the worst.
However, the good news is that not blinking is a natural occurrence (or rather a nonoccurrence) in guinea pigs.
So when you catch your guinea pig sleeping with its eyes open, don’t be startled as that’s completely normal behavior for cavies.
With everything said, as piggy parents, wondering if guineas ever close their eyes or blink is only fair. The simple answer to this question is yes, they do.
Cavies have an exceptionally well-developed oculomotor system, responsible for blinking and eyelid movement, which is why they are able to go without blinking for long durations.
However, whenever any dirt particles or irritants threaten to enter a guinea pig’s eyes, the tiny rodent will open and shut its eyelids to stop that.
Additionally, if somehow a speck of dust ends up in a piggy pal’s eyes, then also they will blink to get rid of the foreign bit in their eyes.
How Much Blinking Is Normal For Guinea Pigs?
As we have already established, cavies rarely blink.
So on the few occasions when they do, a piggy owner may not be able to figure out if the frequency of eyelid movement is within the normal range.
In other words, since you are accustomed to seeing your fur pal not blinking, you do not know how much of the said action is natural and not indicative of an underlying issue.
Normally when guinea pigs have to blink away dirt or debris from their eyes, they’ll quickly move their eyelids only a few times (twice or thrice), and that’ll be it.
But if you notice your guinea pal keeps blinking every other second for a long while, they may have an eye infection.
Picking up on a possible eye problem just by excessive blinking can be difficult, which is why looking for other symptoms may help you catch on an optical condition.
If you notice frequent tearing, swelling, or redness in or around your little one’s eyes, you might want to take them to the vet.
Some other symptoms indicating an eye infection include inflammation or discharge from the eyes and the guinea keeping its eyes close for relatively long durations.
Since cavies already do not have the sharpest eyesight, even the slightest issue can lead to grave consequences, causing your piggy pal to lose their sense of sight altogether.
Therefore, taking prompt action and consulting the vet should be your priority when you notice any of the mentioned signs of an optical problem in your little bun-bun.
Preventing Eye Conditions in Guinea Pigs
Eye conditions are quite common in guinea pigs, such as corneal ulcers, infections, tumors, overgrown teeth, etc.
Being a piggy parent, knowing that your fur child is always susceptible to developing an eye problem can be agonizing.
However, the good news is that you can prevent such a happening with the correct precautionary measures.
Keeping a Clean Cage
Most dedicated pet owners are responsible enough to regularly clean their little one’s quarters. But some may slack a bit, putting their animal friend at risk of developing health issues.
That’s especially true in the case of guinea pigs, as they are generally confined into a limited-sized cage.
For this reason, skipping washing sessions and leaving your fur ball’s hutch dirty can easily lead to medical issues in them.
While that’s true for many healthcare problems, it’s more accurate for eye conditions as an unclean cabinet is more likely to have dust specks floating around, irritating the furry occupant’s eyes.
As a result, your cavy companion’s eyes are damaged.
If you want to keep your piggy pal safe, you need to wash their home every other day.
If that’s too much, extensive cleaning at least twice or thrice a week should be enough to keep a guinea pig’s cage tidy for a minute.
Preventing or Breaking Off Fights
If you have more than one piggy pal, you should closely monitor your pets’ relationship with one another.
While cavies are social and super friendly, they can get aggressive for a bunch of reasons.
For starters, the space your piggy pals are in may not be enough, and they keep bumping heads (literally!), frustrating the rodents to a point where they get violent with one another.
Moreover, boredom, pain, or illness, establishing dominance can incite two guinea pigs to fight.
If that happens, they may damage each other’s eyes during the brawl.
Therefore, be sure that you provide your pair or family of cavies with sufficient room to be by themselves when needed.
Making Your Pet Comfortable
You must be thinking that this point is rather straightforward, and every pet parent knows it, and you wouldn’t be wrong to think so.
However, when we say make your piggy pal comfortable, we mean, shower them with endless love so that they begin to trust you.
When cavies get comfortable in a place and feel safe due to the presence of a human companion, they are more likely to shut their eyes to stop any foreign particles from entering.
As a result, they are less likely to develop an eye problem.
Although getting a piggy pal to trust you can be time-consuming as cavies are inherently untrusting, you need to keep trying until your pet fesses up and accepts you as a friend.
Once you achieve that, your cavy companion’s odd of living a fuller and healthier life will go up significantly.
You must realize that guinea pigs have been at the bottom of the food chain since the beginning, so their nature is shaped on it and will require some time to change.
Simply put, you cannot expect your cutie pie to shift their personality just because you give them love and care for a few months.
Cavies have lived through centuries after centuries with the perennial fear of getting attacked at any moment.
So, you cannot wash away an immensely deep-rooted trait with only some weeks of affection.
Therefore, give your fur child ample time to settle down, then they might begin to trust you and feel safe enough to blink, protecting their eyes from foreign bits.
If you abide by the mentioned tips, your fuzzy bud may loosen up and shut their eyes without the anxiety of getting killed.
This begs the question that if guinea pigs get calm and cozy in a new environment, such as a new owner’s household, will they start sleeping with closed eyes?
Do Guinea Pigs Ever Sleep With Closed Eyes?
No, they do not! Even when they become super comfortable in a place and begin to feel secure, they will not sleep with their eyes closed.
Your cavy companion may start to trust you; they will never get so relaxed that they begin shutting their eyes completely while sleeping because doing so will mean lowering their defenses, which they can’t do.
Typically the nighttime is the duration when predators strike vulnerable prey animals as the latter’s vision is terrible at the time.
That is why guinea pigs are profoundly afraid of the night. Therefore, sleeping with closed eyes remains out of the question for cavies no matter the circumstances.
Additionally, it must be noted that guinea pigs tend to stay as active as possible at night in order to be vigilant at all times.
But even then, they are not nocturnal as they are also full of energy during the day. For this reason, cavies are said to be crepuscular.
Although guinea pigs have movable eyelids, they do not blink much unless necessary.
Don’t get worked up if you don’t ever see your fuzzy fur ball blinking because, firstly, they don’t do it much.
Secondly, they do it incredibly fast (faster than humans), so it’s pretty much impossible to witness blinking in guinea pigs.
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