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