It’s a frequent misconception that guinea pigs originated from Guinea, when actually these gorgeous creatures can be found roaming the Andes. However investigations have lead us to the conclusion that the guinea pigs we know as pets are the domesticated descendants of closely related species like the Cavia Aparea. The Cavia Aparea can nevertheless be found roaming in the wild. Another interesting fact about cavies is that they are not associated with pigs but are members of the rodent family, together with hamsters and mice.
Guinea pigs were first domesticated as an easy-to-farm food source in the Andes, and are still eaten by several cultures on particular occasions, and even breed them for their medicinal purposes.
In the wild, these naturally very social animals will tend to reside in herds of about 10, though you may get the occasional lone guinea pig. A normal herd usually includes a single boar (male), several sows (females) and their young. Usually any young male cavies will be’kicked out’ of the herd as soon as they’re old enough to look after themselves and will attempt to start their own group or they may attempt to challenge the existing male leader. In the wild, the average sow will have two litters annually.
Such herds tend to inhabit rocky grassland regions in the Andes. Wild cavies will very seldom dig their own burrow, but usually tend to inhabit the abandoned caves other creatures have made. Guinea pigs don’t like to be in the open much for a number of reasons:
2) They have quite bad eye sight and can’t see clearly farther than a metre and so feel anxious about what is ahead of them.
3) There will be less burrows in the open which are covered up and camouflaged, resulting in the predators being more likely to discover the burrows.
4) From the open there will be less shade, and so that the cavies are more likely to get sunburnt (especially lighter colored types).
Wild cavies look very similar to the Agouti guinea pig strain, being a greyish-brown color with short hair.
If one places a predator, it is going to communicate with the rest of the herd by means of a range of squeaks, and the herd will get under floor as fast as possible. Due to risk of predators cavies have a tendency to be active in semi-darkness since this is the hardest time to see them.