Guinea Pig Vision: Can Guinea Pigs See in the Dark?

can guinea pigs see in the dark

Our guinea pigs seem to be active all the time—throughout the day as well as during the night. If you wake up in the middle of the night and pass by the room where you have kept the guinea pig cage, you are probably going to hear guinea pig noises, indicating that your piggies haven’t gone to bed yet. This makes guinea pig owners wonder: Are guinea pigs nocturnal? Do guinea pigs have night vision? Can guinea pigs see in the dark?

While Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal? is a topic for another blog post, in this blog, we will discuss all guinea pig night vision. So, continue reading to learn “Do guinea pigs need light at night?” And how well they can see in the dark?

Guinea Pig Vision

Guinea pigs have a unique 340° vision, and their eyes are located on the side of their face, which allows them to observe their surroundings without moving their eyes. Guinea pigs can see 33 images per second, so their vision is not blurred even when they are moving around. Our piggies can also see colors, so the world looks pretty colorful and clear to them.

Guinea Pig Night Vision

Guinea pigs don’t really have night vision and cannot see very well in the dark. However, guinea pigs have adapted to use their superior sense of touch, smell, and spatial memory to navigate during the night. Despite having poor night vision, darkness does not hamper their activity during the nighttime.

Guinea Pig Night Vision

Do Guinea Pigs Have Night Vision?

No guinea pigs don’t have night vision like cats and owls. However, they have learned to use their strong sense of smell, hearing, touch, and spatial memory to safely move around in the darkest of nights without clumsily banging their heads into things.

Can Guinea Pigs See In the Dark?

Guinea pigs cannot see—at least not clearly—in the dark as they do not have night vision. But they have a sharp sense—hearing, smell, touch, and spatial memory—that they can easily navigate their cage even when it’s pitch black.

Do Guinea Pigs Like the Dark?

Yes, guinea pigs like the dark. This neither means that they are nocturnal nor can they see in the dark. So then you may wonder why guinea pigs actually love the dark.

Well, guinea pigs are prey animals and feel the safest in the dark when they are not visible to their predators. While in their cage at home, no predator lurks in the corners; guinea pigs still tend to like the dark as they have not forgotten their days in the wild.

Guinea pig night vision

Do Guinea Pigs Like Night Lights?

Hearing your guinea pig playing around during the night, you may think that you need to put a light n your guinea pig cage to help your piglets move around without stumbling in the dark. But believe us when we say that your furball is not walking into things at night. They are almost as good at navigating through their cage even during the night as during the day.

So, no, guinea pigs don’t like night lights. Let alone light in their cage; they would rather have all the lights in the house shut down as well. Guinea pigs love the dark and would really appreciate it if you could put a cover on their cage during the night to keep it dark and for them to be secure and comfortable.

Leaving a light on in the room where the guinea pig cage is kept is never a good idea. It would rob your guinea pigs of the comfort and security they feel when it is dark and believe they are not visible to any predator. Besides, keeping a light on in a guinea pig cage throughout the night would also disrupt the sleep cycle of your guinea and make him restless. So, no light for guinea pigs during the night.

You must be thinking why guinea pigs don’t want a light at night. They don’t have night vision but a lot of night activity, so the light would help them navigate through their cage. But it seems like they are navigating through their cage without running into hides or food bowls in the dark just fine. How is it possible? Let’s explore how guinea pigs can navigate in the dark.

Why Guinea Pigs Don’t Need a Light At Night?

How do guinea pigs navigate at night? Well, the absence of light makes guinea pigs feel more secure as they are not visible to predators. Besides, guinea pigs might not have night vision, but they have many skills up their sleeves that help them navigate at night without bumping into things. It is the amazing sense of touch enabled by their whiskers, a strong sense of smell, and excellent spatial memory that helps them to navigate seamlessly through their cage at night.

Guinea pig in a basket with four burning candles

Guinea Pig Whiskers

Besides adding to their cuteness, whiskers also act as a second pair of guinea pig eyes that help them see (feel) things at night. Guinea pig whiskers are amazingly sensitive and help them feel things around them when they cannot see them in darkness. They help our piglets measure distances and maintain balance.

Guinea pigs use their whiskers to explore new places, find food and detect looming threats. If you put your guinea pig in a new room, he will fan out his whiskers to collect extensive information about the size, texture, and other details of the room.

Guinea Pig Sense of Smell

Guinea pigs have a keen sense of smell. According to some studies, guinea pigs are believed to have a 25 times stronger sense of smell when compared to petty humans. This strong sense of smell helps guinea pigs forage for food in the wild. It also helps them catch the odor of a predator lurking around.

Guinea pigs are also believed to communicate with other guinea pigs through chemical messages. Guinea pigs secrete various chemicals. Other piglets receive these chemical messages through scent receptors in their nasal cavity.

Guinea Pigs Have an Amazing Spatial Memory

Guinea pigs have wonderful spatial memory. It is believed that domesticated guinea pigs have better spatial memory as compared to their wild siblings. It is believed that being kept in the same habitat for a long time helps guinea pigs remember the whereabouts of their cage. They remember where the food and water bowl are and ways to each hideout and toys.

This means that guinea pigs don’t really need light at night for navigation. They know where what is and at what distance, so they can easily navigate at night without bumping into things.

How Do Guinea Pigs See The World?

The world looks pretty colorful and clear to guinea pigs within a 3 to 5 feet radius; beyond that, it gets blurry.

With their eyes located on the side of their face, guinea pigs enjoy a 340° view, which means they don’t have to move their eyes to see their surroundings. They are not color blind: they can see most colors clearly—way better than cats and dogs. Besides, they also have whiskers and a strong sense of smell to help them around in the dark.

How Far Can Guinea Pigs See?

Guinea pigs have quite poor depth perception and are only able to see clearly within a 3 to 5 feet radius. While the world looks pretty colorful and clear to guinea pigs within a 3 to 5 feet radius, beyond that, it keeps getting blurrier.

Feeling bad for your piggy?

Well, don’t! They have got their whiskers and a strong sense of smell and hearing to compensate for their poor depth perception.

Do Guinea Pigs Have Bad Vision?

Guinea pigs have limited eyesight; they can see clearly only within a 3 to 5 feet radius, and beyond that, everything looks blurry to them. Apart from poor depth perception, guinea pigs have incredible eyesight. Where humans have a visual field of up to 180° and can only see around 24 images per second, guinea pig vision is about 340° wide, and they see 33 images per second.

Besides all that, guinea pigs also have got a strong sense of smell and hearing, not to mention their whiskers act as their eyes in the dark. So, you tell me who has a better vision: humans or guinea pigs?

Final Verdict: Can Guinea Pigs See in the Dark?

No, Guinea pigs cannot see in the dark as they don’t have night vision like cats and owls. However, they can navigate through their cage as easily as during the day because of their strong sense of smell, hearing, touch, and spatial memory. Your guinea pig doesn’t want you to keep the light on throughout the night; rather, they would have you cover their cage during the night to maintain darkness.

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