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Guinea pigs: The ultimate Peruvian pet

A beginners guide to Guinea Pigs in Peru (cuy)

You can find guinea pigs everywhere in Peru. They live in grassy areas, areas with rocks, and the edges of forests. A group of them includes around 10 adults–a boar, a few sows, and their children. They are also nocturnal animals. 

When they were first reared domestic, somewhere around 2000 BC, they were given as gifts. Although they were meant to be for food, they were sometimes kept as pets. Even though both of these occurred, even today they are still eaten and are considered a delicacy. Humorously, they were also known as collectors of the evil spirit. A person would rub the guinea pig all over the body of someone who is sick, and when the guinea pig squealed it meant that it had found the specific area of ailment. Personally, this author would most likely refrain from using a guinea to find the ailing part of the body. The most prized of all guinea pigs are the black guinea pig, which makes sense because the black guinea pig is the rarest to find. Throughout time, around the 1700s, they were being shipped from South America to Europe to become pets. Eventually, the guinea pigs would end up in America, where they do not eat them but keep them as pets. 

guinea pigs

Peruvian cutie munching on avocado

For classification purposes:

guinea pigs are part of the kingdom of animalia, subkingdom of bilateria, and infrakingdom of deuterostomia; The chordata phylum, vertebrata (backbone) subphylum, and gnathostomata; Superclass of tetrapoda, class of mammalia, subclass of theria, and infraclass of eutheria; Rodentia order, hystricomorpha suborder, and hystricognathi infraorder; The family of Caviidae; The subfamily of Caviinae; Genus of Cavia; And lastly, multiple species, such as cavia aperea, cavia fulgida, cavia intermedia, cavia magna, cavia porcellus, and cavia tschudii. 

There are many different breeds of guinea pigs,

and they are split into two groups–smooth and rough. At the conclusion of this article will be pictures of various colorings, breeds, and types of guinea pigs. Here are the breeds of guinea pigs: Abyssinian, Agouti, American, Argente, Bicolor, Brindle, Coronet, Dalmatian, Dutch, Fox, Hairless, Himalayan, Lunkyara, Magpie, Peruvian, Ridgeback, Roan, Selfs, Silkie, Satin, Tan, Teddy/Rex, Texel, Tortoise, Tortoiseshell, Tricolor, White, and White-crested. 

lovely cuy pet

Guinea pigs are called Cuyes in Spanish.

Their life span is between five and eight years old.

As far as appearance, they can weigh between one to three pounds and can grow to be around ten inches long. Guinea pigs prefer to live in groups, and those groups could grow to include around 10 of them! With that, they are very social animals and must not be kept in less than a pair. They tend to get very lonely quite easily. 

The girls are called “sows” and the boys are called “boars”. Because they are small creatures, they only need to be fed twice a day. However, they are herbivores so they do not eat meat. They graze, eat hay, enjoy a range of food like some fruits and vegetables, dry food, and grass. Water should always be available. They need at least 40mg of Vitamin C per day. You can even find in some pet stores specially made guinea pig treats. Just do not give them the treats very often otherwise you will have a very hefty pet. 

So, with the food, water, and treats, they need to exercise, which is something that guinea pigs love doing! There are many different ways for them to exercise…using a wheel, a long, run through tube/barrel, and even in a closed and safe room inside the house. A lot of times when they are excited and/or exercises, they make squealing noises (which, in this author’s opinion, is very cute). 

guinea pigs in peru

Can you believe people eat these cuties?

As with any animal, they do have bathroom needs, so their area/home needs to be cleaned at least twice a week. Obviously, the more guinea pigs you have, the more frequent you will have to clean. 

Speaking of area/home, they need an area of around thirty inches wide, thirty-six inches long, and eighteen inches high. It must be in such a way that they cannot escape. If possible, it is better to have a larger habitat. You will need at least one and a half to two inches of bedding. 

Guinea pigs love routine, so staying on schedule would be a requirement. Setting a schedule for eating, resting, playing, etc would be best for them. 

The owner of guinea pigs will need to be aware of any health issues occur. Most problems (if any) would be common, such as diarrhea, teeth that are overgrown, lice, mites, ringworm, scurvy lack of Vitamin C), pneumonia, tumors, abscesses, and problems in the urinary tract 

There are also some things to check for in healthy guinea pigs, such as translucent and bright eyes, a clean nose, thick and clean coat, making sure their nails are trimmed and making sure that their bathroom regions are cleaned on a regular basis, especially for guinea pigs that are long-haired. Basically, keep your guinea pig clean just like you would be liked kept clean. However, they only need completely bathed about once a month. But regular cleaning checks should be done a few times per week. You should use a shampoo made for babies or just guinea pig shampoo, a brush, warm water, a fluffy towel, and if your GP can handle it, a hairdryer on the cool setting. How to groom–short hair just needs a soft brush. Longer hair requires a lot more attention and care, a comb, and a brush. You can even groom some with a toothbrush! 

In conclusion, guinea pigs can be the ideal pet for most people. They are non-allergenic, small, do not weight a lot, love to eat, love to exercise, and love to socialize. 

what do guinea pigs eat?

Let’s go shopping?

Here are some kinds of cuties:

Abyssinian 

Agouti 

Example of short hair Example of long hair 

Argente 

American 

Baldwin 

Alpaca 

Dalmation 

Brindle 

Bicolor 

Coronet 

Himalayan 

Hairless 

Dutch 

Fox 

Magpie 

Merino 

Lunkyara 

Peruvian 

Ridgeback 

Sheba 

Selfs 

Roan 

Silkie 

Skinny 

Satin 

Sheltie 

Texel 

Teddy/Rex 

Tortoise/Tortoiseshell 

Tan 

White 

Tricolor 

White-crested 

Additional Resources:

https://www.omlet.us/guide/guinea_pigs/guinea_pigs/history/ https://www.omlet.us/guide/guinea_pigs/guinea_pigs/breeds https://www.livescience.com/50658-guinea-pig-facts.html https://www.britannica.com/animal/guinea-pig https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/pets/g25751355/guinea-pig-breeds/ https://www.animalwised.com/guinea-pig-breeds-hair-types-and-colors-553.html https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/guinea-pig.html 

Guinea pigs: The ultimate Peruvian pet Reviewed by on . You can find guinea pigs everywhere in Peru. They live in grassy areas, areas with rocks, and the edges of forests. A group of them includes around 10 adults--a You can find guinea pigs everywhere in Peru. They live in grassy areas, areas with rocks, and the edges of forests. A group of them includes around 10 adults--a Rating: 0
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