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 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:

    Can guinea pigs eat carrots?

    A:

    Guinea pigs kept as pets should be limited to about 1 cup of carrots once or twice a week. The major component of a guinea pig's diet should be fresh timothy hay.

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  • Q:

    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:

    Can guinea pigs eat tomatoes?

    A:

    Red ripe tomatoes are considered a safe food for guinea pigs, but only the ripe fruit should be fed to guinea pigs. Green tomatoes, tomato leaves and stems contain toxic compounds that can make guinea pigs ill.

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