Do Guinea Pigs See in Color? Can They See in the Dark?

If you’ve ever researched about rodents, you would know that they have poor vision. This is one of the most commonly known facts about rodents.

Some animals have a hard time seeing in the dark, while others are shortsighted. Similarly, some are color-blind and can only see the world in black and white!

So, do guinea pigs see in color? Can they see in the dark?

While guinea pigs fall under the same category as rodents, they stand out with their enhanced sensory capabilities. In contrast to the common understanding of rodents’ poor vision, guinea pigs possess heightened senses. Not only do they boast improved vision, but they also excel in hearing and tactile perception.

To help you understand better, let’s dive deeper into this topic!

Guinea Pig Vision Facts

The scientific name for guinea pigs is Cavia porcellus. This is why they’re often referred to as cavies.

As a matter of fact, cavies are said to have better vision than cats.

Since these little animals are at a higher risk of being attacked in the wild, they have been blessed with a special facial structure and vision.

Guinea pigs are said to have a 340-degree vision which is actually mind-blowing!

This means it is almost impossible for you to ever surprise your guinea pig because it can see you even if it’s facing the opposite way.

In fact, guinea pigs even sleep with their eyes open.

You can even let your guinea pig roam freely in the house if you take proper precautionary measures. I explain how to do that in my article on letting guinea pigs roam free.

One thing is for sure, these animals have really been born with excellent safety qualities that will keep them as safe from predators as possible.

The next most common question that I get asked is, “can guinea pigs see color?”

Now this one’s a little complicated. While guinea pigs can differentiate between colors and identify them too, they cannot see the colors 100% authentically.

Studies have proven that guinea pigs are highly sensitive to the color green. Some also say that they are sensitive to the color red.

Guinea pigs can see colors, but not as well as humans. They have a basic color vision, and while they might have a slight form of color blindness, it doesn’t really affect them much.

Can Guinea Pigs See in the Dark?

Guinea pigs have limited night vision, but they can still navigate in low-light conditions. While they might not see as well in the dark as some nocturnal animals, they can manage reasonably well in dimly lit environments.

Studies still haven’t 100% concluded whether guinea pigs can see well during the night or not.

One thing that is known for certain is that guinea pigs use their whiskers and sense of smell to enhance their sight. Without the combination of these three senses, they won’t be able to survive in the wild.

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As we know, guinea pigs are said to have better vision in the dark than humans, these animals are just fine as pets.

Guinea Pig Eyesight Range

Let’s talk about the degree of visibility in guinea pigs.

It is clear that their eyesight isn’t perfect, but at the same time, we also know that is better than a lot of other animals.

Guinea pigs are shortsighted. They cannot see further than 3 to 5 feet.

But can they see you when you’re standing right in front? Sure, they can!

The vision range also depends on the health of the animal. A healthier guinea pig will definitely be able to see better. They cannot see directly under their nose or mouth either.

This is due to the placement of their eyes on their heads. The long facial structure also keeps their vertical perspective limited.

That is definitely compensated for in their 340-degree horizontal vision. But this does mean that guinea pigs cannot see the food or water they’re consuming. In that case, they can only use their sense of smell and touch to identify what they are eating.

Guinea pigs also lack depth in their vision. They have very limited focus.

What this means is that if they are looking at one object, they won’t be able to see anything else that is in the background or around the main subject.

Such limitations are compensated with other qualities, such as their ability to see 33 images per second, whereas humans can only see 22!

Guinea pigs can also very quickly estimate how big an opening is.

This is why you’ll almost never spot a guinea pig stuck in a hole because all their moves are fully calculated.

They are also blessed with an excellent memory. According to research, guinea pigs use memory more than sight. For example, if they walked on a path once, the next time, they’ll use their memory to walk the path again. Their memory is stronger and hence, helps them survive despite their limited eyesight.

All these facts are mostly based on scientific speculations. Only a few have been verified through experimentation.

Common Eye Infections in Guinea Pigs

Sometimes, the vision of a guinea pig can be worsened due to eye infections.

Unfortunately, eye infections and other sight-related issues are very common in these animals.

Here are a few symptoms to always look out for:

  • Redness in the eyes
  • If the guinea pig keeps scratching its eyes
  • Watering eyes
  • If the guinea pig keeps the eye mostly closed
  • Bulges around the eye area
  • Discharge from the eye

Pink eye is actually a very common infection.

It is basically conjunctivitis of the eye, which causes inflammation of the outermost layer.

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Pus discharge is the most noticeable symptom of this condition.

Now:

Just because it is common doesn’t mean it isn’t something serious.

Pink eye can quickly worsen. Visit a veterinarian immediately before the infection starts causing permanent damage to the eye.

You should also look out for corneal ulcers. It can start from a tiny scratch around the eye and worsen within days.

Hay bedding in cages usually fuels this infection. A corneal ulcer can keep your guinea pig from other everyday activities too.

The severe pain makes the animal give up eating as well. Your vet will prescribe ointment drops at first. But if they don’t work, you may have to go through with grid keratotomy, which is a procedure that is done under anesthesia.

Guinea Pigs Better Vision Health Boosters

As I mentioned before, a healthier guinea pig has better vision. If you want to boost your guinea pig’s sight, you must improve its diet.

Vitamins are the most essential nutrients that enhance eyesight.

Other than their regular meals, you can add in a few treats or extra portions from the following suggestions to help improve their sight gradually.

These foods are high in nutrients that improve the vision of guinea pigs.

FoodNutrient
PelletsVitamin C
Dark leafy greensCalcium
Fresh grassVitamin C
HayVitamin A and Calcium

If you’re afraid that adding these extra foods might make your guinea pig overweight, you can adjust the overall calories.

Reduce the portions of the meals to accommodate these eyesight-boosting foods while maintaining the daily calorie intake.

Here’s another important thing to know: You could be offering the best food options, perfect meal sizes, and whatnot!

Yet, your guinea pig could still be unhealthy.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. Inactivity
  2. Dehydration

Make sure your guinea pig isn’t overeating. Other than that, ensure that whatever the animal is consuming, it is digested too.

For this, arrange physical activities. You can take the guinea pig out for a walk or simply provide activity toys within the cage.

Secondly, provide plenty of clean drinking water. This should be at an optimum temperature. Make sure the water isn’t frozen during wintertime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are guinea pigs considered nocturnal due to their night vision?

No, guinea pigs are not nocturnal animals. They are crepuscular, which means they are most active during the dawn and dusk hours, utilizing their enhanced senses during these times.

Can guinea pigs detect colors in the dark?

While guinea pigs might be able to detect some colors in low light, their color perception is likely less accurate in dark conditions compared to well-lit environments.

How can I create a suitable environment for my guinea pig in low-light conditions?

If you need to keep your guinea pig in a dimly lit area, ensure there are cozy hiding spots, familiar objects, and minimal sudden movements to help them feel at ease and navigate their surroundings comfortably.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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