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Guinea Pigs Vision: Everything You Need To Know

Guinea pigs are also referred to as cavies short for the name, Cavia porcellus which means, “little pig” are highly intelligent pets that rely on a variety of senses for their survival.

The majority of healthy guinea pigs, and except for a few breeds, are able to apply their vision during the daytime yet when asking the question, can guinea pigs see at night they also utilize their memory, sense of smell, and hearing to protect themselves and survive.

Covering many of a guinea pig’s habits and routines, read on to find the answer to the question, can guinea pigs see in the dark?

Do Guinea Pigs Need Light at Night?

During both the daytime and the nighttime, guinea pigs are able to survive with minimal exposure to sunlight. As guinea pigs are crepuscular animals, which means that their prime time for being active is during dusk and twilight providing any additional source of natural or unnatural light could lead them to become confused.

The main reason for this is that they are prey animals and out in their natural environment, they sleep during the day and then venture out at night for survival. When asking, can guinea pigs see in the dark definitive evidence of whether guinea pigs are able to see in the dark has not yet been gathered?

However, it has been discovered that they do have some limited vision at night. Nonetheless, their ability to recall routes that they have made during the day enables them to maneuver confidently at night and this is something that they are familiar with doing when escaping predators out in the wild.

Some exposure to natural sunlight is beneficial as it provides them with the essential vitamin D. However, limiting exposure to light is important for several reasons.

The first reason is that overexposure to light can interfere with guinea pigs’ sleeping patterns throughout both the day and the night which consists of napping for short stints that can last for up to ten minutes.

Secondly, out in the wild, guinea pigs aren’t prone to exposing themselves to spaces of strong open sunlight. They do not have sweat glands therefore, they are not able to withstand large amounts of heat.

Expert Tip: This is vital to remember as it can put them at great risk of overheating and even death. Having a cool place for them is essential.

How do Guinea Pigs Navigate at Night?

How do Guinea Pigs Navigate at Night?
How do Guinea Pigs Navigate at Night?

With vision similar to that of humans, guinea pigs are unable to see in complete darkness and they rely on a range of other assets to navigate during the night time. Guinea pigs have whiskers, with the technical name being vibrissae and these are an accompaniment to a guinea pig’s strong memory.

The whiskers provide both safety and precautionary functions as the whiskers are to measure distances and also identify anything that might cross their path whilst they are protecting themselves from predators.

Additionally, due to their high intelligence, when they are exposed to light, they also have an exquisite memory and ability to observe and absorb routes and paths and take in their surroundings. This is especially important when guinea pigs are out in the wild so that they can recall their journeys to food and also flee from predators.

Alongside their whiskers and excellent memory, guinea pigs also have an astute sense of smell too which is excellent when it comes to helping them navigate at night. Whilst querying, can guinea pigs can see in the dark, their sense of smell is a sense that should not go amiss.

Their sense of smell has been identified as being 25 times superior to that of humans and its multi-purpose function helps them to search for food, suss out predators and even recognize their owner based on their scent. The guinea pig’s ability to smell their predators before they are in sight also acts as a strong protective measure.

Do Guinea Pigs Have a Good Spatial Memory?

Do Guinea Pigs Have a Good Spatial Memory?
Do Guinea Pigs Have a Good Spatial Memory?

Despite their shy nature, guinea pigs’ exceptional intelligence means that they can not only store and recall their sense of direction but can also recollect a range of other features pertaining to their owners.

Guinea pigs are unable to recall information for more than a few minutes that would likely be insignificant to them and not link to their comfort or survival however, aspects such as their owner’s face and voice are something that they can recognize and recall.

On occasions when guinea pigs are looked after by other owners and considering can guinea pigs see in the dark, their ability for face and voice recognition are especially beneficial for sensing new people and situations.

Guinea pigs are also able to respond to their own name. This level of familiarity between a guinea pig and an owner can not only strengthen the bond between them both but also give the guinea pig a firmer sense of security and wellbeing. As guinea pigs have a tendency towards survival, this is very important

Guinea pigs are extremely perceptive and prior to attempting an activity, they have the ability to identify whether the activity or information will be worthwhile for them to remember it. For example, they will consider if the task or trick will relate to being provided with food or a positive bond before diving into it.

Expert Tip: Guinea pigs are able to learn and recall the steps of tricks such as jumping through hoops and weaving them around your feet where a tasty treat is at hand.

Do Guinea Pigs Prefer Dark?

Do Guinea Pigs Prefer Dark
Do Guinea Pigs Prefer Dark

As many questions have been posted asking, can guinea pigs see in the dark it then wonders as to whether they prefer the dark to the light? With guinea pigs being crepuscular, this means that their main hours for activity are during dusk and dawn so you wouldn’t necessarily assume that they are active at night like nocturnal animals.

It can’t be fully confirmed that guinea pigs do have night vision, and it is possible that this is not the case but thanks to all of their other senses, guinea pigs are perfectly content making their way through the dark. You will regularly hear your guinea pig playing in their cage at night and this further confirms their contentment.

Out in their natural habitat guinea pigs will retreat to cooler and darker areas away from the strong and natural sunlight as this will protect them from both predators and overheating so this would suggest that only receiving steady amounts of fair sunlight is appropriate for them.

Natural exposure to sunlight also promotes health benefits for guinea pigs too. With the preference for being out in the dark, guinea pigs will often be active after sunset and through the night however, this does not necessarily mean that their activities will run throughout the entirety of the night.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Sleeping in the Dark?

Guinea pigs are prone to sleeping during both the day and the nighttime
Guinea pigs are prone to sleeping during both the day and the nighttime

Adhering to their crepuscular lifestyle, guinea pigs are prone to sleeping, predominantly napping, during both the day and the nighttime. The time that they spend napping does vary.

Although it is often for no longer than 10 minutes, and offering them a quiet environment that is dark will improve their ability to sleep for longer periods of time and more so than they would sleep throughout the day.

The reason for their improved sleep with these conditions is that it allows them to feel safer which reflects that they do like sleeping in the dark.

Guinea pigs rarely close their eyes and you will even find them sleeping with their eyes open during both the daytime and the dark. It is not impossible for a guinea pig to close their eyes when they are sleeping, but you are not likely to witness this as it is only something that they only do when they feel completely safe.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Darkness?

Guinea pigs are not diurnal or nocturnal animals
Guinea pigs are not diurnal or nocturnal animals

If you are wondering, can guinea pigs see in the dark, you might be wondering how comfortable they are remaining in a dark environment? Guinea pigs are not diurnal or nocturnal animals but they do remain most active during the dark. They are comfortable both living and being active in the dark but some exposure to light is required.

Venturing in the dark does not daunt guinea pigs and it is something that they are familiar with and not easily intimidated by navigating through tunnels and holes that come naturally to them.

With their vision not being their most reliable sense at nighttime and difficulties with depth perception, such as seeing farther than 3-5 feet ahead, they still remain confident utilizing their other senses. Their navigation system is also transferable to their cage environment so that they can enjoy the activities available to them.

Providing additional light is not essential for guinea pigs yet owners do need to adhere to guinea pigs’ sleeping patterns that consist of a routine of twelve hours of light followed by twelve hours of being in the dark.

So that their natural needs are fulfilled and they are provided with consistency and they aren’t confused or over-stimulated by bright lights. Given that the light that is provided does not result in your guinea pig becoming too warm and it mirrors their diurnal pattern then they will remain happy and healthy.

Importantly, if your guinea pigs do remain in an environment where there is no natural light then lamps or ceiling lights will definitely suffice. Other types of lights such as fairy lights are also suitable but it is vital that you set a timer to ensure that it does not permanently remain on.

Do Guinea Pigs See Colors?

Guinea pigs are not color blind
Guinea pigs are not color blind

A guinea pig’s eyes are located on the side of their face equipping them with 340-degree vision. With the help of this powerful survival feature, guinea pigs don’t even need to move their eyes to be able to observe everything going on in their surroundings making them even more perceptive to any threats or when rummaging for food.

With a guinea pig’s vision being likened to that of humans, although not necessarily quite as clear nor strong, both guinea pigs and human’s eyes consist of the cornea, sclera, and iris. Guinea pigs are not color blind and their eyesight is at the top of the league in comparison to other rodents.

It has also proven to be better than dogs, cats, and other animals. A guinea pig’s vision does consist of some slight defects that include not being able to identify every color with total clarity yet they can make out different colors. However, it has been recognized that their strength lies with distinguishing the colors, red, blue, and green.

Many guinea pigs have the capacity to see colors but lethal white guinea pigs are born blind in either one or both eyes, therefore impairing or eradicating their vision including their ability to see colors. Often, people assume that albino animals are blind yet authentic albino guinea pigs are not actually blind.

Expert Tip: In order to maintain a guinea pig’s decent vision, it is important to ensure that they are provided with regular visits to the vets.

Guinea pigs can experience a range of complications with their eyes and these can transpire to further infections such as conjunctivitis.

So it is always best to keep all aspects of your guinea pig’s eyesight in check to keep their vision at its best.


Guinea pigs are both self-aware and alert animals. Out in their natural habitat and when living as a pet, they continue to utilize their connection and familiarization with their owner, their features such as their vision, whiskers, and their strong sense of hearing.

For any more questions about can guinea pigs see in the dark, please simply leave a comment.

Most breeds of the guinea pig are able to use their vision during the day yet as the question, can guinea pigs see in the dark, continues to be explored, based on research and observations of the guinea pig, the answer about the exact clarity of their vision at night and in darkness, suggest that they rely on their perception and memory more than their sight.

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About Ava Wellington

Hi, my name is Ava and I am a editor for GuideYourPet. I love pets, and am the owner of 2 horses and 2 dogs! I have loved pets all my life, and have owned everything from bearded dragons to snakes! I am excited to help you take the best care of your pet!