HomeAbout SiteFavourites




                   The Wild Guinea Pig

All animals belonging to the subfamily of guinea pigs (Cainae Murray) live only in South America. One of the most common wild guinea pigs is the Cavia aperea, which is also called simply Aperea.

There are nine subspecies based on the Aperea. One of them is the Cavia aperea tschudii. Its long hair is coloured dark brown-grey at the top, yellow-ginger, or grey. The hair at the Cavia aperea tschudii's back can be so dark that it can look almost black. The area at the belly of the Cavia aperea tschudii can be coloured from yellow-ginger to white. There's a light spot in the throat area.

Cavia aperea tschudii is the subspecies from which our domestic guinea pigs have ascended. Their domestication is believed to have begun in the times of Inkas, who are the native people of Peru. The wild guinea pigs were first sacrifice animals, then meat. A poor Inka would sacrifice a guinea pig, while a rich Inka - a llama.

The guinea pigs had different colourings even then. But all the guinea pigs which had black on their coats were slaughtered by Inkas straight after birth. The reason might be that they were believed to represent evil.

When Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1592, the first guinea pigs came to Spain and Portugal, and from there - to England and Holland. First they were very rare in Europe, and their price was one guinea in England, which was a lot of money those days. There's a theory that this is where the name for the animal comes from. The animal, its voice and body-building matching a small pig from beyond the sea, the animal which costs one guinea - the guinea pig.

The scientific name for the domestic guinea pig is Cavia porcellus, although it is now called Cavia aperea, variety of porcellus.

The guinea pig has four toes at its each front paw, and three toes on each hind paw, which reminds of the earliest ancestor of horses - the Hyractotherium. Therefore, horses and guinea pigs might have ascended from the same animal.





Copyright(c) 2003 Ekaterina Romanova. All Rights Reserved.