Guinea pigs have been domesticated over a long period of time with the Incas being the first to do so around 3,000 years ago.
At the EcoTarium
The EcoTarium is home to two female guinea pigs, Petunia and Clavel. Come see our guinea pigs on the lower level of the museum in the Preschool Discovery Area.
About Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are large tailless animals that belong to the Rodentia order. These rodents used to be native to parts of South America, however they are now extinct in the wild. Some species that are closely related to the guinea pig still live in their ancestral ranges, and it is believed that some guinea pigs have now become feral, much like stray dogs and cats in the United States.
Guinea pigs have been domesticated over a long period of time with the Incas being the first to do so around 3,000 years ago. In South America, they are farmed for consumption. They were brought back to Europe by Spanish, Dutch, and English traders and introduced as a pet. They became very popular among the upper class as an exotic pet of choice.
Guinea pigs can live about five years in the wild and up to fourteen years in human care. They are herbivorous, taking a liking to grasses and leafy greens, as well as the occasional fruit. They are a prey species and likely to be predated upon by larger mammals and birds of prey.