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Guinea Pigs: The Outstanding History Of Small Animals

It’s not a pig, nor is it from Guinea, but these little critters have incredible history

Also known as a cavy, the guinea pig has been domesticated for a whopping 3,000 years. The species Cavia porcellus originated in South America and it no longer exists in the wild. Bred by the Inca civilisation, these rodents were kept as pets, for food and for offering to the gods. These days, a pet guinea pig’s life is much less about ritual sacrifice and more about cuddles and joy.

There are many different breeds of guinea pig, with many different coat lengths and colours. They’re chatty animals, and as instinctively social creatures they still maintain sounds as their primary method of communication with others.

Guinea pigs purr like a cat when they are content and make a wishlist sound when they are excited.

Guinea pigs are also very active, with moves such as ‘popcorning’ (intense, excitable jumping) to show off. They’re most active at dawn and dusk and are creatures of habit, so changes to routine need to be introduced gradually. They are affectionate though and do like to cuddle. Anyone who has ever seen a guinea pig yawn will tell you just how cute they are.

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