Home Small Pets Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

by Lucy

Guinea pigs are fascinating little creatures, and they make for an amazing pet and companion in the right home!

If you are a new guinea pig owner, you would surely have a lot of questions about your new furry friend. One of the most common questions guinea pigs owners have has do to with how guinea pigs sleep!

Do guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open? Yes, one of the many quirks of a guinea pigs is that they sleep with their eyes open. Guinea pigs rarely close their eyes and sleep standing up sometimes too. This is one of their natural defenses against becoming a predator’s dinner in the wild.

If this little bit of information fascinates you like it fascinates us, keep reading to find out more about why guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open, and how they do it!

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open Or Closed?

You will probably never actually catch your guinea pig closing their eyes, and if you do, count yourself lucky. Guinea pigs hardly ever close their eyes, and this leads to them sleeping with their eyes open.

This can make it difficult to tell when your guinea pig is actually asleep, but there are a few signs to tell if they are sleeping.

A sleeping guinea pig will have their eyes open, but they will be standing very still. They won’t react to things around them and will stand still in the same place for quite some time. If you notice your guinea pig doing this, chances are they are sleeping!

When in the wild, guinea pigs had to learn to adapt to their surroundings. As they are small, they are easy prey for larger predators. To try and prevent being eaten, they would sleep with their eyes open. While they don’t actively see when doing this, it makes them appear awake and therefore they seem to be more difficult to catch than a sleeping guinea pig.

Guinea pigs have a wonderful sense of smell and have fine-tuned hearing as well. This helps them better be able to protect themselves in the wild.

However, the good news is that if your guinea pig becomes comfortable with you over time and feels safe and protected in their enclosure, they might let their instincts go for a bit and close their eyes to enjoy a good snooze!

Here’s a video compilation of guinea pigs sleeping with their eyes open from the It’s Pigs! channel on YouTube so you can see for yourself!

Guinea Pigs Sleeping With Their Eyes Open – From The It’s Pigs! Channel on YouTube

How Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Guinea pigs are very active when they are awake, and to keep up with all of this energy, they do need to sleep (even though sleeping is dangerous for them out in the wild).

Guinea pigs take small naps throughout both the day and night, and between these naps, they are awake and active. A guinea pig who has been with you for a long time could eventually adapt to your schedule and become more docile in the evening, taking more naps when you are asleep.

When sleeping, guinea pigs remain standing or in a position that allows them to get up and go quickly. Their eyes remain open, and while they might not be actively surveying their surroundings, they will pick up on any movement close to them which could alert them to wake up and flee.

It is important for them to always be ready to get up and run the moment they know they are in danger, so they won’t be so snuggled up and fast asleep unless they feel safe and secure, and there is no near threat or danger.

If guinea pigs share a cage together, they might sleep bundled together, as this gives them strength in a group and it makes them feel more protected.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

In the wild, guinea pigs are prey. They are small and vulnerable to larger predators who are out looking for a meal. Guinea pigs are adapted to being on the bottom of the food chain and have natural predators such as canines, birds of prey, and felines.

As they are prey, guinea pigs need to be alert at all times. There is no downtime for them, as downtime might equal becoming a predator’s dinner! Closing their eyes to sleep could be the last time they close their eyes at all!

Due to this, guinea pigs have developed a different sleeping schedule compared to other larger animals, and have adapted to sleep with their eyes open.

Not only do guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open, but they hardly ever blink. The only time guinea pigs blink is when their eyes are dry or when they need to remove some dust or debris from their eye.

Guinea pigs have 340-degree vision, so they hardly have to move their head, not at all really, to be able to see if anything is approaching them from either sight. This is an invaluable attribute for prey to have, which is why they sleep with their eyes open.

One small close of the eyes could have a hawk swooping down to devour a guinea pig, so being able to see and be alert at all times really is life-saving for a guinea pig, who is a considerably small creature compared to others around them, especially the predators that they face!

Can Guinea Pigs Blink?

You might not notice it, but your guinea pig will blink now and then. The reason they blink would be to moisten their eyes when their eyes have become dry and to remove any dust.

They do not blink as much as humans or how often some other animals do. This is because they have eyelids and lashes which protect their eyes from dust and debris, and which help to keep their eyes more moist for longer.

Just like when they sleep, if your guinea pig feels comfortable and protected in their cage, you might find that they blink more often, as they won’t be worried about the threat of predators.

Do Guinea Pigs Have Good Vision?

You might think that guinea pigs have good vision, seeing as though they sleep with their eyes open, but this isn’t necessarily true.Guinea pigs have big sparkly eyes, and while their eyes are cute and large, it does not mean their vision is perfect.

Although they can see in almost all directions around them, pigs are near-sighted, and they are able to see a variety of colors. The way their eyes are placed on their face, sticking out from the side, gives them a better view of their surroundings, which means they can be more alert for when predators approach.

Your guinea pig will rely more on their hearing and sense of smell when worried about predators or when checking out an environment. These two senses have become much more finely tuned to better protect them when out in the wild, and along with their eyesight, can help protect them while they are asleep.

Prey needs to have a few finely tuned senses to be able to make it out in the wild, but vision is not one of the guinea pig’s strongest!

How Much Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Guinea pigs like to have short naps throughout the day, and they have these naps often. One reason for this is that they have a fast metabolism, which means they go through a great deal of energy quite quickly, and need naps often to be able to keep up and replenish this energy.

In order to have enough energy and in order to function normally, guinea pigs need around 9.5-10 hours of sleep a day. This is quite a lot of sleep, especially because you have probably not noticed your guinea pig sleeping.

Guinea pigs do not sleep for hours and hours at a time. They only need around one hour of REM sleep to regain the energy they need for the next few hours, so you will only ever notice your guinea pigs sleeping for around 1-2 hours at most.

They will have these hour-long naps multiple times throughout the day, and hopefully, they’ll accumulate around 9-10 hours of sleep a day.

There is some evidence to show that as guinea pigs have become more domesticated, they have adapted more to our sleeping patterns, and they might sleep for a longer period or for longer at night.

When Do Guinea Pigs Prefer To Sleep?

Some animals are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are awake at night, whereas some are crepuscular, which means they are most active in the early morning and in the evening.

Most animals have a certain type of sleeping pattern, but guinea pigs are a little more complicated than this!

Guinea pigs have no real sleeping pattern. They do not necessarily sleep more during the day or at night and tend to have lots of little naps both in the daytime and nighttime. They take these naps when they can, and when they feel like they need to build up some more energy

Can Guinea Pigs Close Their Eyes?

Just because you might not see them do it does not mean guinea pigs can’t actually close their eyes!

Guinea pigs do need to blink. They often need to moisten their eyes and to remove any little particles that might fly into their eyes. Not being able to close their eyes could have some serious consequences!

They just do not close their eyes as often as other animals, as they feel very vulnerable and threatened if their eyes are closed. Without being able to see the environment around them, they are left open to attack by predators.

Don’t worry if you do not see your guinea pig closing their eyes, and don’t try to force them to close their eyes. They are very capable of closing their eyes and keeping them closed, they just choose not to because of their natural instincts and the drive they feel to stay alert and to protect themselves from danger around them, even if they’re perfectly safe.

If you watch your guinea pig closely enough, you should catch them blinking!

Can A Guinea Pig Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Guinea pigs can sleep with their eyes open, they most often just sleep with their eyes closed. Some guinea pigs that feel super comfortable with their owners and their environment might feel safe enough to fall asleep with their eyes open, but it won’t be for long.

As guinea pigs become more domesticated, they are losing a little bit of their instincts, but their instincts are still very present and still very apparent. If your guinea pig is comfortable enough to fall asleep with their eyes closed, it is a sign that you have given them a stress-free and happy home!

However, do not feel bad if your guinea pig always sleeps with their eyes open. It does not necessarily mean that they do not feel comfortable, they might just have a strong natural instinct to protect themselves, and that is absolutely fine.

There is no need to panic if your guinea pig doesn’t close their eyes when they sleep – it is how they should be acting and it is a completely natural thing for them to do.

If your guinea pig is displaying any worrying behaviors, however, you should phone your vet for some advice.

What Should I Do If I Notice Something In My Guinea Pig’s Eye?

As guinea pigs keep their eyes open most of the time, there is a good chance they will get something stuck in their eye at some point.

If you notice a piece of hay or bedding stuck in your guinea pig’s eye, or on their eyelid, you might be slightly concerned. Blinking might not remove this large debris from their eye, and it can become quite irritating for your guinea pig.

This could lead to their eye becoming red and inflamed, and sometimes even swollen. As tempted as you might be to try and remove this debris, it is best to take them to a vet who is experienced with guinea pigs.

Trying to remove anything from your guinea pig’s eye might cause more irritation or even infection, which could be life-threatening for them. Instead, trust a professional to help your little friend out!

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs do sleep with their eyes open, and only close their eyes to blink now and then. A guinea pig who feels super safe and comfortable in their home and with their owner might close their eyes to sleep at times, but this is not a common thing.

If your guinea pig is super still but with their eyes open, chances are they are fast asleep! There is no need to worry if you never see your guinea pig closing their eyes – it is completely natural!

Related Questions

How Do I Know If My Guinea Pig Is Sleeping?

One way to tell if your guinea pig is sleeping is to check their whiskers and ears. If their ears and whiskers are twitching and they are sitting completely still, they are most likely sleeping, even if their eyes are open.

Do Guinea Pigs Like To Cuddle?

Guinea pigs do like to cuddle, but some guinea pigs will be cuddlier than others. You will need to socialize your guinea pig from a young age to get it comfortable being around you, and over time it will become more familiar and comfortable with you.

Up Next: Best Travel Cages For Guinea Pigs

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