Watching a guinea pig close its eyes is as rare as a hen’s teeth. In reality, a huge percentage of pet owners swear that they have never seen their pig’s eyelid close – even when asleep. There is always a passionate debate surrounding the issue.
How can a guinea pig survive without blinking? Do they even have eyelids?
In fact, guinea pig blinks on very few occasions. In this piece, we will dive right on the matter of contention and expound on the myths that surround guinea pigs blinking.
Do Guinea Pigs Have Eyelids?
Although guinea pigs have eyelids, they do not function like other animals. Naturally, other mammals like human beings blink to keep their eyes moist. It is a totally different story for guinea pigs.
Mainly, the only time that guinea pig blinks is when a foreign body or dust enters the eyeball. Due to irritation, nature instincts prompt blinking as an eradication measure.
Remember that your fuzzy friend is a prey animal. With a very poor vision, blinking exposes pigs to predators in the wild.
Even if a single blink lasts a negligible period, it is enough for a predator to pounce and kill a pig. Therefore, minimal blinking acts as a survival tactic for the timid little animal.
How often do Guinea Pigs Blink?
Usually, guinea pig’s blinking happens when provoked by something. Since they are right at the bottom of the food chain; they have to stay alert almost all the time.
Pigs have a very effective oculomotor system that regulates blinking actions. Thanks to the developed coordination, guinea pigs repress blinking when in grave danger.
Likewise, they can stifle it even when an object disrupts their vision. Even when situations force guinea pigs to blink, it happens so fast for most people to notice. According to a scientific analysis, pigs blink more rapidly compared to rabbits and human beings.
With reduced risks in captivity, guinea pig blinks more compared to their wild counterparts. This happens because the animal feels more at ease and safe at home than in the wild.
There are a couple of eye infections that may prompt your pet to blink often. Consult a vet if you also notice redness, eye closing, inflammation, discharge, and swelling.
Why Does My Guinea Pig Blinks a Lot?
Typically, this is a sign that there is something bothering them inside the eyes. It is common for debris, pieces of hay, and dust to interfere with guinea pig eyesight.
When it happens too often, check on the environment and beddings. Is the cage too dusty or do the beddings remove excess debris?
Plan on a daily and weekly cleaning program and observe if the situation improves. In case of an infection, separate the affected pigs from the healthy ones.
Mostly, guinea pigs’ eye problems can either be bacterial or fungal. Rarely do they affect one, but both eyes. Infections take a couple of days to clear when using reliable treatment options.
Depending on the condition, experts use antifungal or antibacterial prescriptions. In complicated cases, vets perform culture sampling to discern the precise fungus or bacteria at hand.
If the discharge escalates, you can use a warm damp cloth to clean it off and allow the eye to remain open. In very mild cases, regular cleaning of the affected eye resolves the situation.
Other conditions that cause eye irritations include tumors, overgrown teeth, and corneal ulcers. Since these are life-threatening conditions, seek medical help immediately if you detect something unusual.
Why is My Guinea Pig Not Blinking?
It is almost scary to watch a guinea pig sleeping wide open and without blinking. This behavior started way back during evolution. With plenty of predators on their case, guinea pigs had to come up with a lifesaver approach.
The oculomotor system magically allows pigs to regulate their eye movement even when sleeping. The function starts from the central nervous system and allows guinea pigs to hold back their blinks.
This avoids vision disruption when faced with any kind of danger. When an enemy attacks, this helps guinea pigs to hide or run away without interference.
For domesticated guinea pigs, these perils rarely happen. Still, you may notice your beloved pet gazing without blinking. In such a scenario, they are most likely taking a nap or resting. This mostly happens if a guinea pig leaves alone in a cage.
As a sociable animal, guinea becomes lonely and more cautious when living in solitude. If they have playing partners, you may notice that they appear more relaxed and happy. It is common to observe guinea pigs cuddling when sleeping together.
In such a relaxed state of mind, the non-blinking episodes decline. While there is nothing unusual with lack of blinking with guinea pigs, sometimes it may portray fear or insecurity.
Do Guinea Pigs Blink With Only One Eye?
Strange as it sounds, your fuzzy friend may comfortably blink with one eye. There are cases where new pet owners call their vets in panic when they notice the unusual occurrence.
This amazing trait goes back to the oculomotor structure. When something bothers one eye, nature takes its course and tries to remove it. Blinking is the only way that guinea pigs can succeed on this.
Keep in mind that prey animals have to be always on the lookout. So, as one eye cleans itself up, the other has to stay open and alert. Sometimes frequent blinking or squinting in one eye can be a sign of infection. To prevent infecting the other eye and other pigs in the cage, check with a dependable vet.
Now, you have heard it loud and clear; guinea pigs have functional eyelids and blinks when they find it necessary.
Even with this information, you still have to inspect your pet’s blinking behaviors. Excessive blinking or lack of it can indicate an underlying condition.
Luckily, most guinea pigs’ eye conditions resolve with a simple dose of antibiotics. Give your pet a better quality of life by providing a clean environment and optimal medical management.