Domestic Guinea Pig

ANIMAL:
Domestic Guinea Pig Cavia porcellus

Type of Animal:
Cavy

Habitat:
Grasslands, mountains, savannas, forests, bushy areas, coastal areas, homes, labs, grassy plains, burrows of other animals, crevices/tunnels formed by vegetation, farms, cages, grasslands, montane shrubland, scrub, thorn forest, forest margins/edges, swamps, rocky areas, scrub desert, meadows, rocky crevices

Location(s):
Originally from S America. Now domesticated worldwide.

Appearance:
Come in all kinds of colors/patterns/coat textures, small petal shaped ears, stout compact body, no tail

Food/Diet:
Hay, guinea pig pellets, leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, cecotropes (night feces), grasses, legumes, herbs

Status in Wild:
Domesticated

Conservation:
Not Applicable

Lifestyle:
Usually kept in groups of 2-10-either being a male w/ 1-9 females & young, all males, or all females.

Additional Info:

Called:
Male: Boar
Female: Sow
Young: Pup
Group: Herd/Colony

Weight:
Male: 2-3 lbs
Female: 1.5-2.5 lbs
Young: 0.6 lbs

Gestation:
8-9 weeks 

Life Span:
4-8 years

Height:
Male: 4.1 in
Female: 3.3 in

Body Length:
Male: 10 in
Female: 8 in

Main predators are carnivorous/omnivorous mammals, raptors, snakes, crocodilians, & tegus.
 
Also called domestic cavies.
 
Very popular pets, due to temperament & ease of care.
 
Like most rodents, teeth continue growing throughout their lives.
 
Males do well together, provided there’s no females in same enclosure. Males fight to death if females present.
 
Pups born furred & able to run within few hours of birth.
 
Males reach sexual maturity as early as 3 weeks, females at 4 weeks. Males leave group before females. Females can stay w/ mom & group indefinitely provided there’s no related males.
 
Make lots of different noises, such as squeals, chirps, rumbles, & purrs.
 
Very sensitive to loud noises.
 
In S America, they’re often raised for meat, said to taste like cross between duck & rabbit.
 
They don’t sleep for long periods of time, preferring to take short naps.
 
Coprophaghy (fecal consumption) helps in digestion.

Fun Fact(s):
Incas used to sacrifice these animals to Sun God in religious ceremonies.
 
Happy/excited guinea pigs often “popcorn,” which is jumping straight up & down in air.
 
Stretched out animal means it’s relaxed & happy.
 
While they’re called Guinea Pigs, they don’t originate in the African country of Guinea nor are they pigs or even closely related. Name refers to S American country of Guyana & stout piggy-like appearance. 1 theory is they were 1st brought to Europe by Spanish explorers in 1500s via Guinea in Africa or that it was corruption of Guiana.
 
Due to common use in experiments, term “guinea pig” often used to mean experiment subject.

1 thought on “Domestic Guinea Pig

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