Where do guinea pigs come from?
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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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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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  • Q:

    What do you feed baby guinea pigs?

    A:

    Newborn guinea pigs nurse like all mammals, but even at very young ages they should be started on hay and pellets as soon as they are capable of eating on their own. Young guineas should be given hay without a high calcium or caloric content so that they can graze at a constant pace without owners having to worry about them overeating.

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  • 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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    Can guinea pigs eat cabbage?

    A:

    Guinea pigs can eat cabbage, although they should only be given no more than approximately 1/3 pint per day. The rest of the guinea pig's diet should consist of grass and hay, which both must come from high-quality sources.

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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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