Raising & Care of Guinea Pigs
By Allen Christian Smith
12 Nov, 2018
The Guinea Pig or Cavy belongs to the rabbit family and is a native of South America. Why they are called Guinea Pigs, no one seems to know, unless their shape suggests a small pig and the name Guinea is a corruption of Guiana, a count
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The Guinea Pig or Cavy belongs to the rabbit family and is a native of South America. Why they are called Guinea Pigs, no one seems to know, unless their shape suggests a small pig and the name Guinea is a corruption of Guiana, a country in South America. In size, shape and texture of fur they resemble a squirrel or rabbit. They have large bodies, short legs, small feet, no tails and a wide range of colors. A full grown Cavy weighs between two and three pounds, which weight it attains at about 18 months of age. The males are usually larger than the females.
When white people first visited the Andean region of South America they found the Cavy domesticated and living in the houses of the Indians, by whom they were used for food. They were introduced into Europe in the 16th Century and since that time have spread all over the world. In South America there are still several species of wild Cavies. These are hunted as game and are considered a great delicacy.
Cavies are wholly vegetarian in diet, eating about the same things as a rabbit. They are very easily tamed, are very healthy and hardy, are not noisy, are clean in their habits, and have no offensive odor. There is probably no animal in the world that is easier to handle. They easily adapt themselves to conditions and seem to do equally as well in city or country, in large or small quarters and a few of them together do as well as a large number of them.
They are practically free from the diseases and epidemics that make the raising of poultry and rabbits so uncertain. Some of them get sick and die, of course, but it is usually due to some local cause or to the fact that they have been neglected or improperly fed or housed, but contagious diseases such as will often wipe out whole flocks of poultry or a pen of rabbits are unknown among Cavies.
All of these things make the raising of Guinea Pigs a very pleasant as well as a very profitable occupation. Less