Guinea Pig

Name

Guinea pig

Scientific Name

Cavia Porcellus

Characteristics

The guinea pig, also called the cavy or domestic guinea pig, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae. Despite their common name, these animals are not part of the pig family, nor are they from Guinea, they originated in the Andes.

There are many theories as to where the name comes from but no definite proof, so the origin still remains a mystery! One theory is that they were picked up by Europeans from the country of Guinea in West Africa.  As this is where the Europeans gained possession of them, it was mistakenly thought this was their natural habitat. Another theory is that the word ‘guinea’ is a mis-interpretation of the word ‘Guiana,’ which is an area in South America that is closer to their natural home.

Guinea pigs have four toes on their front feet but only three on the back. They typically live an average of four to five years, but may live as long as eight years. Guinea pigs make lots of different noises to express themselves, including squealing, chirping, rumbling and purring.

Diet

Guinea pigs are herbivores mainly living on a diet of grass and hay.

Size Fact

Guinea pigs are large rodents, weighing between 700 and 1200 grams.

Food Fact

In some countries guinea pig meat is considered a delicacy.

Fun Fact

Male guinea pigs purr and wiggle their hips when wooing females to mate!

IUCN Red list

The guinea pig is not evaluated on the IUCN Red List

Where do I live?

The guinea pig was first domesticated in the Andes in South America.

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