|Domestic guinea pig|
Guinea pigs as pets[change | change source]
In many parts of the world, people keep them as pets. In Peru, Bolivia, and several other countries, they are raised for food. The first people who domesticated the animals, did it for food. Besides being a pet and a source of food, in some places people think guinea pigs keep bad spirits away. In Quechua, the language of some the native tribes of Peru, they are called quivi. The Spanish-speaking people of the region call them cuy (plural: cuyes).
Name[change | change source]
This perception of pigginess occurred in many languages other than English; the German word for them is Meerschweinchen, literally "little sea pigs" (sailing ships stopping to reprovision in the New World would pick up stores of guinea pigs, which provided an easily transportable source of fresh meat), the Russian and Polish word for them is similar, "morskaya svinka" (Морская свинка) and "świnka morska" respectively, meaning also "little sea pig" (it comes from archaic use of the word to mean "overseas"). However, this perception of pigginess is not universal to all languages or cultures. For example, the common Spanish term is 'conejillo de Indias' (Indian bunny rabbit).
Housing and breeding guinea pigs[change | change source]
Guinea pigs need large open air cages in which to romp and frolic. They should have a diet of 1/8 cup of high quality grass-based guinea-pig pellets daily, as per manufacturer’s instructions. They should also have unlimited grass hay, and at least one cup of a variety of veggies. Guinea pigs like to be held in hand. Guinea pigs should be kept in cages larger than 7.5 square feet or 10.5 square feet for 2 pigs. They should always have a friend as guinea pigs are social animals. Breeding guinea pigs are not recommended as the rate of pregnancy complications is high.
Other uses of the term[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- Weir, Barbara J. (1974). "Notes on the origin of the domestic guinea-pig". In Rowlands, I.W.; Weir, Barbara J.. The biology of hystricomorph rodents. Academic Press. pp. 437–446. .
- Nowak, Ronald M. (1999). Walker's mammals of the world, 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press. .
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