FLAMINGO LAND

Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs, also known as cavies, are small rodents native to the Andes mountains of South America

Physical Characteristics: Guinea pigs have a compact, round body with short legs and no tail. They typically weigh between 700 to 1200 grams (1.5 to 2.6 pounds) and measure about 20 to 25 centimetres (8 to 10 inches) in length. Guinea pigs have dense fur that comes in a variety of colours and patterns, including solid colours, rosettes, and combinations of colours.

Habitat: Guinea pigs are social animals that inhabit grasslands, shrublands, and forest edges in their native range. They are often found in rocky areas with ample vegetation for cover and foraging. Domestic guinea pigs are commonly kept as pets and are adaptable to various environments, including indoor cages and outdoor enclosures.

Diet: Guinea pigs are herbivores with specialized digestive systems adapted for consuming plant materials. Their diet consists mainly of grasses, hay, leafy greens, and vegetables. Guinea pigs require a high-fibre diet to maintain gastrointestinal health, and they also benefit from vitamin C supplementation, as they are unable to synthesize this vitamin on their own.

Behaviour: Guinea pigs are social and gentle animals that thrive in the company of others. They are most active during the day, spending much of their time foraging, grooming, and interacting with their cage mates. Guinea pigs communicate through a variety of vocalizations, including squeaks, chirps, and purrs, as well as through body language such as ear movements and grooming behaviours.

Reproduction: Female guinea pigs, called sows, have a gestation period of around 59 to 72 days and give birth to litters of one to six pups, although the average litter size is around two to four. Guinea pig pups, known as piglets or pups, are born fully furred with their eyes open and can move and nurse shortly after birth. They are cared for by their mother and develop quickly, reaching sexual maturity within a few months.

Uses: Guinea pigs are kept as pets by people around the world due to their gentle nature and ease of care. They are also used in scientific research as laboratory animals due to their docile temperament and physiological similarities to humans. In some cultures, guinea pigs are raised for meat consumption, particularly in the Andean region of South America, where they are considered a traditional delicacy known as “cuy.”

Conservation Status: Guinea pigs are not considered endangered, as they are widely distributed in their native range and are commonly bred in captivity for pets and research purposes. However, certain breeds of guinea pigs may be at risk of extinction due to changes in breeding practices and loss of genetic diversity.

Overall, guinea pigs are beloved pets and valuable research subjects with a long history of interaction with humans. Their gentle disposition, sociable nature, and adorable appearance make them popular companions for people of all ages.

Guinea Pig Gallery

Information

Location - Zoo
Threat Status - Least Concerned

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