What Are Guinea Pigs?

Topics: Guinea pig, Caviidae, Ecuador Pages: 1 (342 words) Published: April 23, 2011
The guinea pig (also commonly called the Cavy after its scientific name, Cavia porcellus) is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not pigs, nor do they come from Guinea. They originated in the Andes. Their docile nature, their responsiveness to handling and feeding, and the relative ease of caring for them, continue to make the guinea pig a popular pet.

Guinea pigs are hardy and affectionate and make great companions. However, people often think of them as "low-maintenance" pets, when in reality, they require a lot of care and attention. Guinea pigs can be quite vocal and will often greet you with whistles and shrieks.

Guinea pigs communicate and interact with each other, through behavior and sound. They can also show their feelings towards us humans. Often movement accompanies the sound they are making. As well as looking gorgeous and extremely cute, a guinea pig’s behavior matches their cute looks, most of the time.

The Guinea Pig has its origins in the high mountains of South America. Natives of modern day Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador domesticated the Guinea Pig for use as food. To this day, Guinea Pigs are still raised for food in certain areas of South America. In the 1600s Spanish sailors were the first to adopt Guinea Pigs as pets and brought them back to Europe from South America. Since that time, Guinea Pigs have been bred to produce a wide variety of types of Guinea Pigs. These small furry creatures came to be known as “pigs” because of the squeaking noises they make – Guinea Pigs are not related to pigs. The name “Guinea” is believed to have been derived from the route that was traveled to bring these furry animals to Europe – by way of Guinea. Many other cultures throughout the world have also adopted a derivation of the “pig” name for these animals. The scientific name for the Guinea Pig is Cavia porcellus – translated in Latin to mean “little pig.”...
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