Guinea pigs are a great pet to have around, and they are interesting creatures. One of the things you may notice is their eyes. If you are around them often, you may wonder why they never blink. For humans, we often blink, but do guinea pigs blink too?
Do guinea pigs blink? Yes, guinea pigs do blink. You may not notice them blinking since they don’t often blink as humans do. They will not blink unless they need to clear something from their eyes. Otherwise, they will not blink.
Do Guinea Pigs Blink?
Guinea pigs can blink their eyes when they’re awake, asleep, or feel threatened. They also like to scoot around by stretching their back legs out behind them and pushing with their front paws. These movements require blinking; otherwise, their eyes would water from the uneven pressure. And let’s not forget that a lot of these guys are found in dry conditions like deserts, where tear production is especially important for protecting against dust particles.
So, back to the blinking. Guinea pigs do blink like humans, but not in the way you’re probably expecting. Instead of individually opening and closing their eyelids, they simultaneously blink by raising the upper lid slightly. For this reason, it’s also possible for them to blink one eye at a time if necessary.
While guinea pigs don’t see very well in bright light, they can see clearly when the room is dimly lit or dark. When it’s dark, their eyes can adjust to some degree to see in the dark. They can be quite sensitive to bright light and can even be temporarily blinded by it.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Blink?
It might be a way for them to show their contentment and happiness when a human is nearby and paying attention to them. Petting or holding a guinea pig will prompt the animal to partially shut its eyes, like it’s dozing off or just happy to have your company. But if it’s agitated or feeling threatened, it may also blink rapidly while hissing at you and showing its teeth.
In the wild, things are a little different. Guinea pig eyes are sensitive to sunlight, and they cannot be completely protected from it by cupping the eyelids together as humans can. It’s also not as easy for them to make sure they’re always facing the shade of a tree or rock in their natural habitats. So, this may be one reason why they close their eyes more often than people realize.
Do Guinea Pigs Have Eyelids?
Yes, guinea pigs do have eyelids. Most of the time, you won’t notice their eyelids since they will rarely close their eyes completed. This will make it hard to tell if they have any eyelids at all.
Another reason is the speed of their blinking. Guinea pigs blink or close their eyes very fast. According to a study done by the NLM, guinea pigs blink at a speed that’s much faster than humans or rabbits.
Therefore, you will never notice their eyelids most of the time.
Importance of Eyelids and Blinking
Eyelids are important to the guinea pigs as it is a protective element. The eyelids protect the eyes from the elements and keep them clean.
After a while, the eyes tend to get dried. The dryness can irritate the guinea pigs, and they will need to keep it moist. By blinking with the eyelids, it will moisten their eyes.
Another importance for the eyelids is to remove foreign materials from the eyes. Dust, dirt, and other debris will usually get into their eyes. This can be very irritating for them.
With their eyelids, they will blink to help remove the foreign objects from the eyes.
So, why don’t they just close their eyes at night then? Actually, they do. They’ll usually sleep with their eyes shut at night and when they’re relaxed. But when they’re active on a playtime outing or running around the cage, they’ll open their eyes widely and flash them around quickly to keep aware of what’s going on and to make sure nothing is sneaking upon them.
But, their blinking seems to be more of a side effect of physical behavior – like running, scooting, and stretching – rather than an important way to protect against foreign material. With that in mind, it’s apparent that these guys don’t have a reason to physically close their eyes for long periods of time, so they don’t do it. However, there seems to be a slight emotional component associated with blinking in guinea pigs (keep reading to find out more).
Why Do My Guinea Pig Blinks A Lot?
It’s not normal when your guinea pig blinks a lot. They will rarely need to blink. If you notice your cavies blinking more than usual, it means that something is causing irritation in their eyes.
Below are a few things you can check:
A guinea pig will usually never need a bath. These creatures can keep themselves clean by frequently grooming throughout the day.
If you do need to give your cavy a bath, it’s important to know how to bathe them properly.
When giving your guinea pig a bath, soaps may get into their eyes, which are known as “soapy eyes”.
Even a small amount of soap will cause significant irritation to their eyes. This irritation will cause them to blink a lot as it is trying to rid the soaps out of their eyes.
If you must give them a bath, be sure to use a shampoo that is safe for guinea pigs. Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Shampoo is what I recommend, which you can buy from Amazon.
Another reason for your guinea pig to blink frequently is an injury to their eyes. They will tend to blink a lot followed by scratching the injured eye.
If their eye is injured, look for some of the signs below:
- Eye discharge
If you notice any of the above in your guinea pig, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian for further examination. If not, an eye injury could lead to a loss of eyesight for your guinea pig.
The bedding that you use could cause your guinea pig to blink their eyes often. There are a lot of different bedding materials available on the market. Some types of bedding such as cedar can cause irritation.
The best material for bedding should be aspen. This is a high-quality wood shaving bedding that’s proven safe for them.
Guinea pigs are usually not bothered by most scented products in your home. However, each guinea pig is different and could have an allergic reaction to the products.
If you notice they are blinking a lot, below are some scented items to look out for:
- Oil diffusers
- Fragrance Spray
When you use any of the above products and your guinea pig is blinking often, it’s recommended to change the product out for a gentler one.
Guinea pigs do blink, but not very often. In a day, they may only blink a couple of times. The only time they will blink more often if there’s a problem with their eyes. Be sure to watch them closely when the blinking is too frequent. Not taking care of the problem in time could lead to loss of eyesight.