The guinea pig, which is sometimes called a cavy due to the fact that its scientific name is (Cavia porcellus), is a species of rodent. It is common to hear people inquire, “What is a Guinea Pig?” The guinea pig, however, is not a pig. Despite the fact that they are frequently referred to as pigs, these animals are not in any way connected to the family of pigs. They trace their roots back to the Andes. According to research that is based on biochemistry, these cute little hairy critters are not found natively in the wild and are actually descendants of another species that is closely linked to them.
Guinea pigs were brought to western nations by European traders in the 16th century. Since then, they have quickly become a fantastic home pet in many countries, and small children continue to appreciate them more than any other type of pet. They are likely placid and friendly in temperament, which may contribute to the fact that they are quite timid and simple to care for.
If you have ever asked “what is a guinea pig” you will enjoy knowing that guinea pigs are generally no longer than 8-9 inches, and stand no more than 4-5 inches tall, although there are always exceptions to any rule, this would be a good guide. They enjoy a relatively short life span with the average life expectancy being around 3 years. The average body weight of an adult guinea pig is approximately 200-600 grams, and the gestation period for the female is 68 days. Generally a mother will have a litter of between 1 and 6 babies, and she should be allowed to give birth before she turns 6 months old. Females are known as “sows” and the male is called a “bear”. Not forgetting the little ones, a young guinea pig should be addressed as “Pup”.
Guinea pigs come in a wide range of colours and patterns, and have markings similar to cats. They can have different coloured ears, nose, and feet but some are the same colour all over. I guess it depends on the mating parents as to the final outcome of the designer juvenile fur.
So, “What is a Guinea Pig?” well he or she is a loveable, relatively docile furry animal that eats what you allow it to eat for the first few days, developing a taste for that food, and favoring it in the future. It is quiet, cute and cuddly, very affectionate, and requires little maintenance. It has become a great household pet since the early 1500s and has even taken pride of place at many pet shows. Children love them, older people love them, and they even love them in non-western countries, but unfortunately this is as a food source, and not as much for their value as pets.