Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs – History

Picture source: CavyMadness © 1999-2003 Nhan and Tammy Rao

Picture source:
CavyMadness © 1999-2003
Nhan and Tammy Rao

Fossil records of the existence of Guinea Pigs date back to the Miocene period over 18 million years ago. Guinea Pigs (or cavies) are known from ancient times. They originated from South America, where today they still live in the wild. Guinea Pigs inhabit grasslands, rocky areas, and areas near forests. The Incas farmed and selected them for food and as religious icons. Legends hold that Guinea Pigs are mystical beings that can heal the sick and assist the dying. Currently in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, the roasted Guinea Pig is a typical food. Long after the Spanish brought them to Europe in the 16th century, selective breeding of Guinea Pigs began in Europe in the beginning of the 20th century. The origin of the Guinea Pig’s name is lost in history.

Weight: Males are 900-1000 gram; females are 700-900 gram.

Length: From 8 to 14 inches.

Life Span: 3-6 years.

Guinea Pigs – Personality

Being herbivores, Guinea Pigs don’t need the intelligence of scavengers. In the wild they survive through the use of effective herd communication and very rapid reproduction, but are able to establish the safest routes and learn them perfectly. Being the common prey for all predators, Guinea Pigs are always alert and ready to run away. When a herd feeds, one animal assumes the duty of a guard. Guinea Pigs can be trained to perform easy tricks, but only when food is involved and with many repetitions. The potty training of Guinea Pigs is rather easy, because they consider the cage a safe place and will litter in familiar territory.