Guinea Pigs Fast Facts
Meet our girl gang of guinea pigs here at Wild Discovery! Did you know guinea pigs originated from the wilderness of Peru. It is estimated they were domesticated by the Inca people 3,000 years ago. and were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers. It is unsure where the guinea pig name originated from. Some believe it is due to their squeal-like calls, they may have been sold for one guinea in England, or the fact they taste like suckling pig.
Guinea pigs are herbivores. They would eat grasses, leaves, shoots and fallen fruit.
Because of their pig-like name, male guinea pigs are called boars and females are called sows. They have a short gestation period, two to three months, where they give birth 3 or 4 babies, however, it can be as many as 13. They are born with their eyes open and fully furred, ready to run with the group, and eat solid food straight away. Baby guinea pigs are known as pugs or piglets.
Threats + Conservation
Four species of their wild counterparts are listed as LEAST CONCERN on the IUCN Red List, one is unknown and one is CRITICALLY ENDANGERED with less then 50 individuals left. Their main threats are habitat loss and hunted for food. In their origin countries guinea pigs are seen as a delicacy.
1. Guinea pigs are known as meerschweinchen in German, this translates as “little sea pigs.” 2. When excited guinea pigs bounce in the air, a behaviour known as 'popcorning'. 3. Guinea pigs have 5 different types of fur which makes up their thick coat.