Information about guinea pigs can typically be obtained from a wide variety of sources, including but not limited to book stores, pet stores, your neighbourhood veterinarian, and the internet. It would appear that the popularity of the fluffy, small creature that so many people choose to keep as a pet is continuing to rise. A guinea pig is an adorable, loving, and relatively low maintenance pet that appeals to people of all ages, genders, and stages of life. The notion of having one as a companion animal is heartwarming.
Guinea pigs are thought to have originated in the mountains of South America’s interior; they were first brought to the countries of Europe by traders in the early 16th century. Guinea pigs were first domesticated by indigenous people of Bolivia, Peru, and the Equator for the purpose of using them as a source of food. This practise is still prevalent in many parts of the world today. Even in modern times, several regions in South America continue to include the adorable tiny cavy as a primary component of their diet. Okay, enough with the morbidity; let’s go on to some additional facts about Cavy-friendly guinea pigs.
Spanish sailors were the first to adopt the little creatures as pets, and brought them into Europe. Since then, guinea pigs have been bred to produce as many as 13 different varieties, of all shapes and colours, and they have travelled all around the world to find homes in almost any environment imaginable. Known as “pigs” because of the squeaky noises they make, they are not actually related to pigs at all. They are in fact rodents. The name “guinea” is thought to have come from the sea route that the sailors took to get to Europe from South America. The actual scientific name for the guinea pig is “Cavia porcellus” meaning “little pig” in Latin.
They are nosey, inquisitive little creatures, with a very friendly but shy personality. They are very easily frightened and will almost certainly run and hide from any threat of danger. They generally weigh between 1 and 3 pounds, and live for up to 7 years on average. Unlike other rodents though, the guinea pig will find a mating partner and remain with the partner for the remainder of their life.
Not as agile as other rodents, most guinea pig information would have us believe that they will avoid a lot of jumping, and climbing, preferring to stay grounded and eating or snoozing. They will however travel up and down stairs when necessary and they are known for their excited little jumps when they are pumped about something.
Without having visible tails, they do have tail vertebrae, and they are born with their eyes open, with fur. First hand guinea pig information demonstrates that unlike rabbits and mice, the cute little guinea pig is not born helpless at all. Prepared by fur for the cold, and able to see immediately, they have teeth and toenails that continually grow, and they nurse immediately on mum! At birth they are so small they would fit in the palm of your hand and their feet seem extremely oversized, but after just a day or two they are already nibbling on mum’s food.
As far as all the guinea pig information will tell you is concerned, they make fantastic pets, although require a little ongoing maintenance and care. They are loving, affectionate, and great with children. If angry or provoked they will bite, but not too hard and very rarely. Overall a gained pig of any variety would have to fit into the “ideal pet” category for all ages.