This page last edited on

11 August, 2008

Guinea Pigs



  Guinea pigs are a member of the rodent family which were first discovered by the Spanish explorers when they arrived in the Andean region of Peru, South America back in the 1500's.  The guinea pig was domesticated by local Indians beginning in circa 2000 BC, according to Wikepedia.  The picture to the left is of Machu Picchu, Peru.  In the wild guinea pigs lived in grasslands and took shelter in ground tunnels or caves. They lived in herds and ate mainly grasses. The Spanish explorers brought them back to Europe where they became a popular pet. There are many websites which attempt to further explain their origins and history so I will not do that here. 

  The name guinea pig doesn't make much sense. Many websites have theories on the origin of the name so take a guess as to what is right, if anything out there! I do think it is an apt name though. In the American English culture we say things like "pig out", "I ate like a pig" all describing a voracious appetite. From having guinea pigs most of my life, I can honestly say they have voracious appetites!! Guinea pigs do not always eat everything you give them but they always come back later and finish it! It is amazing for such a small animal that they can eat so much! No wonder they poop a lot!


  Today in South America, and particularly in Peru, guinea pigs are raised strictly for food as they have been for centuries.  They are called "Cuy." The guinea pig in Peru is considered part of the culture. While this seems horrible to those of us who raise them as pets, for many poor people in South America who live in rugged terrain and harsh conditions, the guinea pig is about their sole source of protein. They are fed scraps of vegetation and raised in some cases in boxes underneath a bed! I don't defend it because I've been a vegetarian since I was 14 - 28 years ago! However, unfortunately most people eat animals even if they are self described "animal lovers" so I believe it is totally hypocritical to slam poor people for eating guinea pigs when almost all Americans have NO concept of how many animals suffer to make it to their plate of "food."  I've always felt that it is far better to raise your own food or hunt for it then to tune it out and let factory farms to the dirty work which is far and above more cruel.  There are plenty of websites that extol the virtues of a vegetarian diet so check them out!  If you are interested in seeing how guinea pigs are prepared for food in Peru, click here to see a photo taken of one at a restaurant in Peru. My boss was  there in June 2006 and said that despite looking for live guinea pigs to take pictures of for me, they only saw dead ones cooked in the restaurants.  He told me that he did "try" guinea pig, called "cuy" but that the meat was "tough, stringy and gamey." He did not like it! He said he must not have been hungry enough, nor does he ever want to be in order to eat cuy again! 


  I hope that my information on guinea pig history was helpful to you.


Guinea Pig Page | Guinea Pig History | Getting a Guinea Pig | Guinea Pig Housing & Bedding | Guinea Pig Feeding & Water

Guinea Pig General Care | CURRENT CLANS:  Greek Boys Clan | Lita Ladies Clan | Old Maids Clan

OLD CLANS:  Giggler Clan | Gweeker Clan | Put Puts Clan | Rheeter Clan


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DISCLAIMER:  This website was set up to SHARE my OWN experience with my reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens and local wildlife and to post pictures and video of them. It was NOT SET UP to offer my opinion or expertise on ANY QUESTION that I am asked and what I post on this website should not be taken as "EXPERT ADVISE" or how to take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens or local wildlife. I AM NOT A REPTILE RESCUE GROUP, GUINEA PIG RESCUE GROUP, VETERINARIAN, REPTILE EXPERT, GUINEA PIG EXPERT, PONDS/FISH EXPERT, GARDEN EXPERT OR WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR! I have limited experience with reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens, therefore, I am NOT QUALIFIED to give out advise or answer questions and you, as a visitor to this website, should not take anything on this website as expert advise or accurate information.  I present this website for fun and fun only - NOT as a reference website to instruct anyone on how to properly take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish or gardens.  I share how I DO THINGS for my reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens and this is not intended for others to take as expert advise or to mimic. Furthermore, my political views are my own and not intended to offend, annoy, hurt or demean any person, entity or organization. I express my views as an American who has the right to free speech under the Constitution of the United States of America. Please feel free to set up your own website and express your views, post your pictures and video and share with the rest of us in cyberspace what your little corner of the world is like. Thank you very much for your kind understanding in appreciating the value and contents of this website.


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