Guinea pigs are cute and very intelligent animals. They are great family pets. They can recognize shapes, patterns, numbers, faces, and even commands. But, can guinea pigs see in color? Are they color blind?
Let’s find out.
Can guinea pigs see in color?
Yes, guinea pigs can see in color. In fact, guinea pigs have better color vision compared to cats and dogs.
Studies say that the eyes of guinea pigs contain two cones, which allows them to have dichromatic color vision. Although this type of vision indicates color blindness in humans, this is more than enough for guinea pig vision to identify and differentiate colors around him.
Although still debated, guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) are prey animals that are believed to be sensitive to red, and highly sensitive to green.
Can guinea pigs see in the dark?
Yes, guinea pigs can still see in the dark. but not as good as other nocturnal animals.
Guinea pigs’ eyes are similar to human eyes. They have corneas, scleras, irises, pupils, retinas, conjunctivas, and tear ducts (among others). Ideally, light enters their eyes and turns them into electrical signals, which then travel to the brain. Finally, the brain converts these signals into images that the guinea pigs see.
Therefore, guinea pigs will be unable to process images in their brains due to the absence of light. Furthermore, guinea pigs’ eyes are not adapted for night vision.
But what helps them “see” in the dark is how they use their other senses like their sense of smell and spacial memory to stay away from predators. Their senses can detect movement at distances of up to 50 feet.
How do guinea pigs see?
Guinea pigs have the same eye structure as humans. Therefore, guinea pigs need light to see clearly. On the other hand, guinea pigs cannot see very well at night either. Despite these limitations, guinea pigs have excellent spacial memory and heightened senses. These unique traits help them move around and keep them safe from predators.
Guinea pigs can also see in color. They can distinguish between red, green, and blue.
Finally, guinea pigs have excellent peripheral vision. The Guinea pig’s eyes are set on the side. Therefore, their eyes can have up to 340 degrees eyesight which is better than other animals and humans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are guinea pigs color blind?
No, guinea pigs are not color blind. Although guinea pigs are known to have poor vision at night, it doesn’t mean that they are color blind.
Guinea pigs have spectral sensitivity which helps them see color. Research suggests that their eyes contain two color receptors or cone cells, which allows them to identify different colors.
Additionally, guinea pigs have the ability to see 33 images per second, and can easily adapt to nature. These unique traits keep them alert especially at night.
Q: How far can guinea pigs see?
Guinea pigs are near sighted. Their range of vision is only between 3 to 5 feet away, and the rest becomes very blurry.
Furthermore, guinea pigs also have excellent peripheral vision. This allows them to see in a wide range of up to 340 degrees.
Q: How do guinea pigs see the world?
They are many ways in which guinea pigs see the world.
As mentioned, guinea pigs can see 33 images per second, which allows them to see every time they turn their head.
Next, they have excellent peripheral vision. The Guinea pig’s eyes are set on the side. Therefore, their eyes can have up to 340 degrees eyesight which is better than other animals and humans.
Third, guinea pigs are not color blind. They can distinguish different colors like red, blue, and green.
Finally, although nearsighted, their other senses help them “see” like their sense of smell and sense of direction.
Q: Can guinea pigs see straight ahead?
No, guinea pigs are unable to see straight ahead. Guinea pig’s eyes are set at an oblique angle which allows them to see sideways and up. However, this is also the reason why guinea pigs can’t see straight ahead or back. Meanwhile, the dead angle at their face is covered by their nose and their long facial hairs.
Therefore, the limitations of a guinea pig’s vision are not really a liability to them. In fact, it is believed that their “vision” is far superior compared to other rodents in the cavy family.
Q: Do guinea pigs prefer light or dark?
Although guinea pigs enjoy and thrive in both indoor and outdoor living conditions, they prefer dark spaces mainly because of these reasons:
1. The dark makes them feel safe and secure
Guinea pigs are prey animals. They sleep with their eyes open at times when they need to stay alert or to escape when necessary. This is why they prefer to stay hidden inside their house or in cardboard boxes to prevent them from always fearing for their life.
2. Darkness means having a good night’s sleep
Crepuscular animals like guinea pigs are more active at dusk or dawn. Although you will find them napping throughout the day, guinea pigs tend to sleep very well in the dark because the absence of direct sunlight stops them from constantly worrying about the dangers of wildlife.
3. Dark surroundings mimic nature
Although domesticated guinea pigs can get used to the constant love and affection from their owners in the form of toys, unlimited food, and bedding, guinea pigs will thrive better if their surroundings are as close to nature as possible.
Some studies show animals lose their instincts when domesticated. In addition, they won’t be able to survive in case they are released into the wild.
Therefore, guinea pigs need dark or nighttime conditions to retain their natural instincts.
Q: What colors do guinea pigs hate?
Research shows that guinea pigs are sensitive to the color red. But, they are also sensitive to green.
We cannot really tell what colors guinea pigs hate, or if they really hate colors or not. But, some experiments show that guinea pigs react to certain colors. For instance, a pet owner bought his guinea pig toys with colorful patterns and noticed that the guinea pig reacted very well to them. He seem happy and excited about the toys he received.
Meanwhile, he also bought beddings in the color blue and noticed that his guinea pig finds it calming and soothing which helps him sleep well at night.
Q: Can guinea pigs see their owners?
Yes, guinea pigs can see and recognize their owners. But your guinea pig can’t see you if you’re more than 5 feet away. Therefore, your guinea pig may recognize you by calling his name, or by your scent.
As soon as your guinea pig gets settled, he will slowly learn your daily routine. This will allow him to get comfortable in your home, let his guard down, and recognize you as a friend.
Another interesting fact about guinea pigs is that they can sleep with their eyes open. So if they feel threatened, or unsafe, they tend to stay “awake” so they can escape immediately.
Guinea pigs are exceptional creatures. They are relatively easy to care for, sweet-natured pets. They are also very intelligent animals.
Even though guinea pigs have vision impairments like nearsightedness, they can see in color, have insane peripheral vision, and see 33 images per second.
Moreover, their whiskers, sense of smell, and spatial memory allow them to navigate effortlessly even at night.
So if you’re worried that your guinea pig may lose its way or bump his head on the wall, fear not, for he knows exactly where he’s going without needing any help! If you are worried about guinea pigs vision, I urge you to seek veterinary attention.
Dr. Elly has always loved animals, and she knew from a young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. After studying hard in veterinary school, she practiced in several different countries before moving to North Carolina with her husband and young family. She currently works part time as a veterinarian while caring for her 4 busy children and writing this blog. Dr. Elly genuinely cares about the welfare of her patients. She currently has three dogs, two cats, 5 chickens and 2 rabbits (yes a bit of a zoo!)