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Guinea Pigs - History

The origin of the Guinea Pig name is lost in history. The Dutch and Spanish brought them to Europe in the 16th century. Guinea Pigs (or Cavies) originated from South America , where today they still live in the wild. They’ve been known since ancient times. The modern Guinea Pig inhabits grasslands and forest areas in Peru , Bolivia , and Ecuador . The Incas there farmed and selected them for food and for religious purposes and as sacrificial offerings . Inca legends state that Guinea Pigs are mystical creatures that can heal the sick and assist the dying. Currently roasted Guinea Pig is a regular food source.

Selective breeding of Guinea Pigs started in Europe in the beginning of the 20th century for the scientific research laboratories and the pet trade. Fossils of Guinea Pigs date back to the Miocene period over 18 million years ago. Guinea Pigs are very popular pets because of their availability, docile temperaments, and a tendency not to bite or even scratch when handled, and have relatively clean habits.

Many parents choose the guinea pig as the first pet for their children, believing a small pet needs only a small amount of care, however, an adult should really be the primary Guinea Pig carer. It is important to understand that these little creatures have many requirements, including a roomy cage, daily cleanup, specialized diet and gentle and frequent handling.


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