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Guinea Pigs

Animal Essentials

Scientific Name:
Cavia porcellus
Park Location:
Muddy Duck Farm
Origin:
World wide
Habitat:
Long grass, abandoned burrows

Amazing Facts

Guinea pigs have poor sight, but well-developed senses of hearing, smell and touch.
The common guinea pig was first domesticated as early as 5000 BC for food.
Guinea pig is also used as a metaphor in English for a subject of experimentation.

Guinea pigs originated from South America where several different species can still be found. The ancestor of the domesticated guinea pig is thought to be the restless cavy, Cavia cutleri.

The restless cavy lives in big family groups in the long grass, being protected from predators by overhanging stems. They don’t burrow for themselves but instead use abandoned burrows from other animals.

Young cavies are not born in the safety of a burrow but out in the open. They are born fully furred with their eyes open and within two days after being born they are eating the same food as their parents.

Today many different breeds of guinea pig exist through the careful breeding and selection carried out over many years. Guinea pigs are nosey, friendly characters but they still retain some of their original habits, for example, very few guinea pigs will dig and they will rummage around looking for food.

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