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Guinea Pig

Originally the wild guinea pig came from the coast of South America, where the Incas (16th century) kept them for food. They were then brought by Spanish sailors to Europe where they became domesticated. In their native environment these little animals would live in colonies on grassland, their natural food.

A black and tan guinea pig in the petting pen

A black and tan guinea pig in the petting pen

This small rodent has a thickset body and a very small tail. The smooth haired breeds are like the wild guinea pigs (or cavy) of South America, though they have a slightly more pointed face and are speckled grey brown in colour. The little animals we are used to seeing have been bred for colour, length of hair, curly hair and so on – many breeds have been created. What you see here is a small example of the range that it is now possible to have.