The guinea pig, also called the cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. They originated in the Andes, and earlier studies based on biochemistry and hybridization suggested they are domesticated descendants of a closely related species and, therefore, do not exist naturally in the wild.
Guinea pigs are grazing animals. In the wild, grasses form the basis of their diet. Guinea pigs digest their food very quickly, so they need to feed regularly.
Guinea pigs – or cavies, as they are also known – originated in the Andean grasslands of South America. They were introduced to Europe in the 16th century where they quickly became popular as pets.
The guinea pig is more than just a food source to the Andean people. Guinea pigs are also used in religious practices and folk medicine.
Guinea Pigs are not pets in the Andes. In the Andes Guinea Pigs are a source of food.
Guinea pigs are a prey species. They must be able to hide in a secure place, away from the sight and smell of predators such as foxes, cats, dogs, ferrets and birds of prey.
Guinea pigs are active animals. They are active during the day and night and need frequent opportunities to exercise.
The guinea pig is considered to be a good pet. It is considered as a social animal, it hardly bites and it can be tamed as well.
A guinea pig is approximately 10 inches long and about 2-3 pounds. It has a round and stout body and no visible tail. It has a life span of about 5-7 years.
Domestic guinea pigs have been produced by selective breeding, and differ chiefly in the color and texture of their fur, which may be short and soft, short and bristly, long and curly. Others have rosettes of fur along the length of the body.
The origin of the common name "Guinea Pig" is uncertain. The "pig" comes from the fact that these small animals are round and plump like a pig, and they have a pig-like squeal. The "guinea" is believed to be because many of the first specimens came to England from South America on slave ships from Guinea.