The natural habitat of guinea pigs is in the wild where they are at risk of being attacked by other animals.
Hence, Mother Nature has blessed them with a unique facial structure and powerful vision.
People usually think guinea pigs are colorblind like other rodents, but it’s far from the truth.
In fact, you’d be surprised to hear that these little creatures enjoy a 340-degree vision! They can also see most colors clearly.
Can Guinea Pigs See Color?
Yes, guinea pigs do see color.
According to a study, they have dichromatic vision. This implies that they can see colors but their vision may not be as good as ours.
Nevertheless, guinea pigs are one of the very few animals that can differentiate between two or more colors.
Research suggests that these creatures are usually more sensitive to one color than others.
While there is no scientific proof to this, it is believed that most guinea pigs are sensitive to green color, meaning that they can identify green color more accurately than any other color.
How Well Can Guinea Pigs See?
Did you know that guinea pigs can see 33 images in a second while humans can only see 22?
Guinea pigs indeed have a wide vision range but their eyesight is quite limited.
They can’t see clearly if the objects are at a far distance and even if they do, the vision lacks good detail.
The reason for their fairly poor eyesight is that they face difficulties while perceiving depth.
This is why guinea pigs partially depend on their memory and other senses, including hearing and smell to move around.
While these senses are more developed than vision, their memory, in particular, is excellent.
They can accurately remember the location of food sources and tunnels in the wild.
Even at home, they use their memory to find their way safely around furniture and other obstacles.
In addition to this, guinea pigs have tactile hair on their muzzles, which help them figure out how large an opening is as well as find their way in the dark.
That being said, the eyesight of guinea pigs is still better than what dogs, cats, and many other animals have.
How Far Can Guinea Pigs See?
The eyesight range of guinea pigs mainly depends on their breed and health.
However, the average range varies from three to five feet. You can expect a healthier guinea pig to see more clearly.
Furthermore, the objects placed farther from three feet may look blurred to them.
Even if you try walking towards your guinea pig from a distance, you’ll notice that they’ll get frightened despite the fact that they know you.
They may only realize it’s you when you come closer than three feet.
Other Senses That Guinea Pigs Rely On
The sense of hearing in guinea pigs is quite impressive. They can hear sounds at a much higher frequency than humans can.
This extraordinary ability helps them stay aware of their environment and identify potential threats. It also makes it easier for them to find direction.
However, this also means that loud noises in your house may stress them out.
Guinea pigs also have a highly developed sense of smell. They use it to recognize and communicate with fellow guinea pigs and even humans.
It is said that they can easily find their food by following their smelling instinct.
Hence, the sense of smell serves as a crucial aid for their vision, as they can’t see everything clearly.
Straight vs. Sideways Vision in Guinea Pigs
With a 340-degree horizontal vision, guinea pigs can see everything around them.
Even if you stand at their back, they’ll be able to see what you are doing.
Their eyes are sideways and they have a long, slender face, which allows them to enjoy an all-round view.
On the downside, their unique facial structure limits their vertical perspective. Hence, they can’t see objects that are directly in front of or underneath their nose.
It means that when you serve them food, they may not be able to see it. Instead, they’ll use their sense of smell, touch, and taste to locate their food and eat it.
Improving Vision in Guinea Pigs: Eye Infections to Look Out for
Eye infections in guinea pigs can worsen their vision.
Unfortunately, these infections and other vision problems are quite common in these little creatures and so, you must be able to quickly identify the symptoms before they get worse.
Common Symptoms of Eye Infections
- Watery eyes
- Redness in the eyes
- Frequent scratching of the eyes
- Pus discharge from the eyes
- Bulges around the eyes
- If the guinea pig keeps their eyes closed most of the time
One of the most common eye infections in guinea pigs is pink eye.
Conjunctivitis is also a common condition that causes inflammation of the outermost layer of the eye.
Treat pus discharge as a warning sign and consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible.
While most eye infections in guinea pigs are not too serious, they can quickly worsen, posing the risk of permanent damage to the eyes.
Hence, you must get an infection treated before it starts spreading.
Another condition that you should look out for is a corneal ulcer.
Starting from a minor scratch around the eye, it can get worse in just a few days. If you have hay bedding in your guinea pig’s cage, it might trigger this infection.
Corneal ulcer causes a lot of pain and thereby, your pet might not feel like doing anything, not even eating their food.
You should immediately take your pet to a vet if you notice these symptoms. The vet may give some ointment drops as the first line of treatment.
However, if it doesn’t get better, your guinea pig might have to go through grid keratotomy, which is a treatment procedure done under anesthesia.
Vision Boosters for Guinea Pigs
Since healthy guinea pigs enjoy better vision, you can improve your pet’s vision by boosting their diet.
Essentially, vitamins are the best nutrients for improving their eyesight.
Moreover, you can feed them some extra portions or treats in addition to the regular meals to promote their vision function gradually.
You can use guinea pigs’ food palette to give your pet a daily dose of vitamin C. Fresh grass is also a good source of vitamin C.
Moreover, dark leafy vegetables help increase the calcium level in guinea pigs. Hay is also an excellent option, as it is packed with calcium and vitamin A.
Make sure you adjust the daily calories to prevent your guinea pig from getting overweight.
The best way to go about this is by cutting down the portions of regular meals for accommodating these extra food items.
In case you feel your guinea pig is unhealthy despite consuming all the healthy food in ideal meal sizes, you should ensure that they are active and properly hydrated.
Not drinking enough water or not participating in enough physical activity may take a toll on the little creature’s health.
Guinea pigs often overeat. Take the animal out for a walk, play with them at home, or simply give them some toys in the cage so that whatever they eat gets digested too.
Apart from this, always keep clean drinking water for your pet at an optimum temperature to make sure they stay hydrated at all times.
To sum it up, guinea pigs have a decent vision and they can see in full color. They also enjoy a wide vision range around them, except for directly under their nose.
To make up for their limited depth perception and long-distance eyesight, they use their whiskers as well as their memory and the sense of smell and hearing to move around.
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