Q:

Where do guinea pigs come from?

A:

Quick Answer

Guinea pigs, or cavies, originated in the northern and western parts of South America. They were originally domesticated about 5,000 B.C.E. and are now found worldwide as pets, laboratory animals and as a source of meat.

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Where do guinea pigs come from?
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Full Answer

Guinea pigs are no longer found in the wild; some biologists believe that the domesticated variety never existed in the wild and is the result of hybridization between closely related cavy species. They are highly adaptable and can tolerate a broad range of altitudes and a wide range of temperatures. Guinea pigs have been a traditional food source for natives of the Andes Mountains; they have also used guinea pigs in folk medicine and in social and religious ceremonies.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How long do guinea pigs carry their babies?

    A:

    The gestation period of a guinea pig is between 59 and 73 days. Female guinea pigs may be sexually mature and capable of pregnancy as young as four weeks old. Guinea pigs typically carry between one and four babies, although they have been known to carry up to seven.

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  • Q:

    Do guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open?

    A:

    Guinea pigs usually sleep with their eyes open. The animals very rarely close their eyes, even when asleep. They rest their heads on the ground to sleep and sometimes sprawl with their legs outstretched.

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  • Q:

    How do you care for guinea pigs?

    A:

    Guinea pigs require a cage, bedding, food and water for basic care. The animals should also have plenty of exercise and regular health care checkups from a veterinarian.

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  • Q:

    What foods can guinea pigs eat?

    A:

    Guinea pigs can eat a wide variety of produce and are most happy when provided with leafy greens and colorful bell peppers. Carrots, apple slices, berries and other fruits should be used sparingly due to their high sugar content. High-quality hay and pellets round out the guinea pig diet.

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