Where did Guinea Pigs come from?

Guinea pigs live in the wild in South America, living in rocky areas, grasslands and forest edges. They live in groups of about 10 adults, and live in burrows, either dug by themselves or by other animals. They are most active at night, when they come out and forage on a wide variety of plant materials.

The guinea pig was first domesticated as long ago as 2000BC in the Andes in South America, in the region now known as Peru and Bolivia. They were originally kept for food, but some may have become family pets for the children at that time. Guinea pigs were not often bought; rather they were given as presents, especially as wedding gifts, or as gifts to special guests or children! They would be kept in the household kitchen, where they would be allowed to run around freely.

At this time the guinea pig also played the role of the evil spirit collector in traditional healing rituals. In Andean medicine the guinea pig was rubbed over the body of a sick patient, and when it started squeaking they believed it had identified the affected area! Black guinea pigs were considered especially holy, as in the wild black is the rarest colour, most wild guinea pigs are brown or grey, similar to the agouti colour we see today.

In the 1700s Dutch and English traders brought guinea pigs over from South America to Europe, where they became popular pets for the aristocracy. It is possible that on the journey over to Europe that they did stop at Guinea, leading people to believe that was where they came from. Queen Elizabeth 1 owned a pet guinea pig, which probably accounted for their popularity as pets from that time.

Guinea pigs are now extremely popular pets. They are very friendly and have no tendency to bite or scratch (if you do get nipped by mistake it is probably because they mistook your finger for a carrot!). They are also very hardy, and if cared for properly they have very few health problems.

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Brittany, 26 November 2017

I have finally got my first guinea pig...... and I am so very happy!! I have wanted one since I was 13, and have done so much research on them over the years. Mr Joker, my piggy, is 4 months old, and is a wonderful mix of colors, brown, white, black and a little grey in tiny places. He is sweet and friendly and I was wrapped around him before I ever got to the register lol... Love the piggies

Taylor, 5 May 2017

I have one black and white piggy named Russell, and he is a bundle of joy!

Maryalice, 5 January 2017

I also have some and they are so cute!

Evita, 23 June 2016

Yay! i love Guinea pigs they are so so so cute i have 2 of them thier names are honey nd sugar Sincerly Evita

Alexis, 27 April 2016

I love them! They are cute and fluffy! I hate how they WERE kept for food, but that was the past lets do the present

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