Do Guinea Pigs Blink?

Guinea pig seems to read a book with glasses in front of open eyes.

Humans blink around 15 to 20 times every minute, which means that they blink around 1200 times an hour and a little over 19,000 times a day, on average. Females tend to blink even more.

The question that bugs many owners is whether or not guinea pigs actually have similar features.

Blinking could serve a lot of purposes, but is it any use for guinea pigs? Blinking can help clear our eyes from small particles from dried tears or dead cells.

Not only does blinking keep our eyeballs from drying out, the process also refreshes oxygen and nutrients in our eyes to maintain their health.

Because of this, blinking can prevent eye infections as well as give our brains a little bit of rest and allow us to refocus.

There are many things that might happen to our eyes if we don’t blink. While we don’t get oxygen and nutrients to our eyes, blood vessels and our corneas could swell because of lack of oxygen.

When our eyes dry out because we don’t blink, we can get eye pain and blurry vision as well as increase our chances of eye infections.

Humans can blink more or less depending on different variables. If we start blinking less, it’s likely due to our reliance on computer screens.

Computer vision syndrome can cause us to blink up to 66 percent less often if we are looking at computer screens all day.

If we blink more often, likely there is no serious issue with your eyes, but you might have strained eyes, anxiety, or you might be fatigued.

Blinking is such a common activity for humans, that we don’t often pause to consider if other creatures on our planet can blink.

The cold-blooded animals of the world like snakes, fish, and other lizards don’t blink because they simply don’t have eyelids.

Many mammals, such as farm animals and wildlife, do have eyelids, and therefore they blink for the same reasons us humans do.

We just assume that most animals have the ability to blink. If you’re a lover of guinea pigs like we are, you might be wondering now if guinea pigs can blink.

Before we get to that answer, let’s take a look at why guinea pigs are so great.

Guinea pigs, while not actually from southeast Asia like their name implies (they actually from the mountains of South America), are known for their sweet personalities and many color and hair length variations.

They may be white or tri-colored and have short hair or long, flowing locks.

In the wild, these animals live in herds, and domesticated, they are extremely social animals that need to live with other guinea pigs to have a fulfilled and happy life.

Guinea pigs typically feast on vegetation and require a lot of vitamin C since the only way they can get this vitamin is through their diet.

Like their pig namesakes, females are called sows, and males are called boars. They can live upwards of fifteen years in the proper conditions.

They have a total of 14 toes (4 on each front foot and 3 on each back foot), and their teeth never stop growing.

Guinea pigs are adorable, social, and easy to care for.

But can they blink?

Here’s the secret: Guinea pigs do, in fact, blink.

So, naturally, they do use their eyelids to blink. However, while humans blink thousands of times a day to keep their eyes moisturized, guinea pigs don’t have this same necessity.

You can stare at your guinea pig’s eyes for hours, and you might never see your guinea pig blink. This is why so many guinea pig parents, and other people, think that guinea pigs don’t blink.

Close up of guinea pig eyes wide open.

Guinea pigs will not blink unless they have to. Since guinea pigs are so small, they are easy prey for many animals, especially in the wild.

They have developed the ability to keep their eyes open, so they can see predators. Their vision is incredibly poor, so having this ability to keep their eyes open could keep them alive in the wild.

If your guinea pig blinks a lot, it might mean a few different things. Since guinea pigs developed the ability to keep their eyes open for long periods of time, it’s unusual for guinea pigs to blink frequently.

If they blink more often than you think they used to, it might mean that they are comfortable around you and in their homes.

When they’re comfortable and cozy, they don’t have to worry about keeping their eyes open because they don’t think that they are in danger.

If your guinea pig blinks a lot, it also might mean that they have an infection or an injury to their eye.

When this blinking persists for several days, and they seem lethargic and don’t move very much, consider taking them to the vet to make sure that nothing serious is wrong.

You might be able to see if anything is in your guinea pig’s eyes as well, but it’s still not a good idea to try to clean your guinea pig’s eyes by yourself as you could potentially cause even more damage.

Since their eyesight is already poor, you don’t want to make it worse.

If there are no health issues, then you’ve just done a great job at making your guinea pig feel super comfortable and relaxed.

Do Guinea Pigs Have Eyelids?

Guinea pig eyelids might be different than human eyelids, but they are still technically there.

When you’re looking closely at a guinea pig’s eyes, it might not seem like they have eyelids because they don’t appear to have eyelashes, and the top lid doesn’t hang down at all; it doesn’t even look like it’s there.

Humans and many other mammals have eyelids that partially cover the iris of the eye.

These overhanging eyelids (and the eyelashes lining them) offer additional protection from debris and other things that can scratch delicate eyeballs.

When people are trying to get a better look at something, they lean close and open their eyes wider.

As we’ve mentioned before, guinea pigs are low on the food chain, making them vulnerable to predators. If guinea pig eyes are wide open, they have a better chance of seeing danger and hopefully escaping it.

Do Guinea Pigs Close Their Eyes?

As guinea pigs can blink, they can definitely close their eyes. Like humans and other animals, they have ocular muscles that allow them to close their eyes when they need to.

Guinea pig sits in yellow flower bed.

If you put your finger near your guinea pig’s eye (don’t touch it), they will close their eyelids to keep your finger from their delicate eyeball.

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep with Their Eyes Open?

One of the most interesting things about guinea pigs and their eyelids is that, along with developing the ability to keep their eyes open for long periods of time, they have also developed the ability to keep their eyes open while they are sleeping.

The main reason for this is that, again, poor guinea pigs have many predators in the wild. While they don’t have the same predators in captivity, this instinct has remained.

Guinea pigs will sleep with their eyes open in hopes they will be able to wake up and see a predator quickly without having to focus first and then dash to safety.

So, if their eyes are open for hours upon hours, how do they keep their eyes from drying out. How do they cope with this?

Do Guinea Pigs Cry?

Guinea pigs do cry, but not for the reasons you might think. They are very emotional and social creatures, but they won’t cry because of these emotions.

They won’t cry if they are happy, sad, or scared. Instead, they will cry because they have to.

Guinea pigs will not close their eyes unless they have to. This means that they have to have some way to keep their eyes healthy.

While humans blink to moisturize their eyes and keep out debris, guinea pigs will “cry”. They will shed tears to keep their eyes from drying out.

If their eyes are irritated, they will produce tears to flush their eyes clean. Their tears will lubricate the eyes as blinking does for our own human eyes.

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs are incredibly unique creatures with a lot of flare and personality.

They can be vocal and social or quiet and aloof, but each guinea pig has developed ways to survive whatever setting they are in.

While guinea pigs don’t have to worry about natural predators in captivity, their natural instincts to keep their eyes open the majority of the time won’t necessarily go away.

Like many other animals, guinea pigs have developed ways to cope with these instincts to maintain their health. In this case, guinea pigs will shed a tear rather than blink, but they still can do it.

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