Information about guinea pigs that you may not have known!


Origins of the Guinea Pig

      Guinea pigs may be more amazing and special than you may think.  In the wild, guinea pigs are found in South America. They can be found in Macchu Pichu!  It is called 'Lost City of the Incas' and Machu Picchu is a breathtaking archaeological and architectural place.  This incredible city is found high in the Andean mountains of Southeastern Peru. 

       Guinea pigs live on grassy plains, in rocky areas, and on forest edges. They live in groups of about ten adults.  There is one male guinea pig, a few sows, and all of their offspring.  They live in other animals' burrows and in tunnels that they carve through the grass and vegetation.  

        In the wild they are nocturnal but in captivity, they are diurnal which means active during the day. 

        Who would have thought that a tiny cavy (Cavia porcellus) aka guinea pig, could be considered an exotic species? 

        Spanish conquistadors brought guinea pigs home from South America.  They were called little "curiosities".  They were actually thought of as an exotic pet! This really surprised me, what about you? 

      Discoveries suggest that they were pets for different Elizabethan societal classes and not only the elite. They were available to the rich and middle class.  

      Guinea pigs also played an important role as an evil spirit collector in traditional Andean healing rituals. The guinea pig was placed around the body of the sick person and when it made noises, it was thought to be identifying the area that was ill. 

Hope you enjoyed this briefing on guinea pigs! 

Here are a few last tidbits to chew on...!

Guinea pigs are not pigs.  They are is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia.

Guinea pigs may have gotten their name because of the price of a Guinea pig in 16th-century England.  It was one guinea. 

Some researchers say ships leaving the port of Guiana in South America or Guinea in West Africa may have carried the animals to the European market.

Pretty cool right?