Cavia aperea f. porcellus
In South America, guinea pigs are regarded as a source of food and fattened up to 4 kg. In other regions of the world they are also eaten. Here, we regard them more as pets, although they are also used in laboratories or as a source of food for other animals in zoos. Guinea pigs are popular with children because they look cute. However, they are often not kept under appropriate conditions – they should have at least two other companions. Cramped cages are not suitable.
Order: rodents, family: caviidae
Green fodder, hay, vegetables, bark; increased need for vitamin C.
They are not able to produce vitamin C themselves and have to get it from their diet.
Domesticated as a food source several thousand years ago in the South American Andes. First introduced to Europe in the 16th century. Nowadays, they are kept all over the world.
Gestation period: 65–75 days, 1–4 young (sometimes more); max. life expectancy: 12 years