Are guinea pigs common

The guinea pig

Interesting facts about parentage and origin

The guinea pig is one of the most popular pets among rodents and inspires people of all ages with its behavior and appearance. The origin of the guinea pig's name is well known, as it can squeak and grunt like a real little pig.

© Zoonar / R_Photo | A guinea pig
With regard to the origin of the guinea pig, most small and large keepers and breeders should also be aware that the guinea pigs originally found their way to Europe from Latin America, where they soon became very popular. It was probably Dutch merchants and seafarers who introduced the first guinea pigs to the Netherlands as early as the 16th century and later exported them to other countries in Europe.

The popularity of the guinea pigs was based not only on the fact that they were and still are welcome playmates for children, but also because of their tasty meat.

It is a little more confused with regard to the ancestry and domestication of the guinea pig. As the top class, the mammals come first and within this class follows the order of rodents, to which our guinea pigs also belong. However, with a systematic classification according to the order of rodents, the first thing that follows is another subordination, namely that of porcupine relatives. Only after the porcupine relatives does the guinea pig family follow. This does not end the system, however, because the guinea pig family is divided into several genera. True guinea pigs also belong to these genera, but so do the capybaras and the pampa hares.

The common guinea pigs belong to the genus of real guinea pigs. Common in zoology does not refer to a particular character, but means as much as usual. The Tschudi guinea pig belongs to the common (common) guinea pigs as a subspecies and our house guinea pig is derived from this.

So much for ancestry, it becomes even more unclear with regard to domestication, as the information in the sources varies greatly. Some scientists are of the opinion that the guinea pigs were domesticated around 9,000 years ago, others put it as a period of 4,000 years. How this domestication took place is also hidden in the dark. Occasionally, some authors believe it is possible that the guinea pig domesticated itself by seeking refuge in human dwellings and living on food waste. According to this view, however, the house mouse would also have to be considered a domesticated species. In contrast to the house mouse, the guinea pig was not classified as an animal pest by the people of that time, but as a farm animal that enriched the menu as a roast. Domestication of the guinea pig as a frugal meat supplier would then only have been a small step.

next: Grooming the guinea pig | Diseases