Whenever someone mentions guinea pigs, people usually instantly presume that these pets originate from the Guinea region, right? Well, that is not really true. They are adorable rodents that live quite far from Guinea, which is located in Africa.
Everyone that likes guinea pigs, must be curious to know the origins and the meaning of the name behind these adorable creatures. Their history and origins are interesting and amazing and they are more than just modern-pet rodents.
Where do guinea pigs live in the wild? Guinea pigs originate from the wild regions of South America. These regions are filled with grassland, forest edges and even rocky areas. In the wild, they usually live in groups of 10 or even more guinea pigs. Guinea pigs live in burrows made by them or other animals, they will live in any shelter where they feel safe and protected from predators. Wild guinea pigs mostly show nocturnal behavior and they are quite different from our domesticated guinea pigs. First guinea pigs were domesticated in the Andes, South America, around 5000 BC. This region in present times extends through countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Columbia, and Peru.
The guinea pigs were originally living in quite different conditions than now in modern times. Also, the purpose of keeping them was different than it is now. Before guinea pigs were kept mainly as a food source. Now guinea pigs are our adorable pets but in some countries, they are still sadly used as food.
All guinea pig lovers should explore the guinea pig’s history, stay with us till the end in order to find some amazing facts about your beloved pet! Let’s begin!
The Climate and Living Conditions of Regions Where Guinea Pigs Originate From
The climate where guinea pigs originate from suits them the most of course. In the Andean region, the temperature is lower because of the high altitudes and so is the humidity and atmospheric pressure. Mainly, this is a rainy climate, with mostly dry conditions in the central regions. There is a lot of rain and warm air with average temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius.
It is the same in the surrounding regions. Peru, for example, has a dry and warm climate, sometimes with rainfalls but overall a very pleasant temperature most of the time.
But, in the winter time, very cold temperatures are not good for the guinea pigs. It is said that the coldest temperature they can endure is around 15 degrees Celsius. So, how do they keep themselves warm? They simply gather around, in their packs of several cavies at once, and snuggle together in their burrows.
In these holes in the ground, they feel safe against predators and can quickly escape from danger, by going beneath the ground.
Besides, in these burrow holes, they can stay warm during the winter or even snuggle and keep all of the family together in a safe place. These burrows are especially important for the guinea pig pups and their protection.
Survival in the Wild During the Winter Time
The guinea pigs will always seek some shelter in the winter. Most of the time, burrows are practical at this point, but even more important is the nutrition for survival in harsh conditions. In the winter, every creature needs more calories or special food, the same thing applies to the guinea pigs.
To keep themselves warm, they need to use more energy and this requires very nutritious foods. Most of the time, they depend on many types of grasses, wild plants, and even wild vegetables which are a real treat as well. All these foods give them enough nutrition to withstand the cold weather as well, while they search for safe shelter in the wild.
Guinea Pig Predators | How Do They Protect Themselves in the Wild?
For example, some of the guinea pig predators are:
Sadly, the guinea pigs are small and lightweight and for these predators, this is a perfect catch (also cavies are not too fast, which makes them even more endangered). We, the humans where another treat to guinea pigs – they were bred and even sold for various purposes.
Guinea pigs face many challenges when they live in the wild. This is why they made themselves safe spots for hiding when the outside is too dangerous.
One of these spots are burrows. These burrows are medium-sized holes dug under the ground, and even more interesting, they are almost all made by other animals but guinea pigs find them and create a home out of them.
How Have Guinea Pigs Managed to Survive in the Wild?
Each group would most likely have the male as a leader, and the sows as ‘mothers’, meaning at any time pups would be able to switch their moms, as an adaption for survival when the real mother was absent at the moment.
This made guinea pigs’ survival instinct perfect – being able to rely on ‘another mother’ in times of need and safety.
Whenever a danger approached or was noticed, one of the cavies would ‘whistle’ as a warning sign to other cavies nearby. In the wild guinea pigs are active mainly at dusk, to avoid predators.
However, when a larger animal has already entered the habitat of the guinea pig, they will show submission by head positioned low and produce rumbling sounds – all this to avoid danger or worse. If the guinea pigs have been given the chance to hide, instead of being submissive – they will simply gather fast in the burrow.
Hopefully, you now understand where guinea pigs live in the wild. The point of this article is to learn more about your pet and to create a closer bond between you and your guinea pig.
If you liked this article please share it with other guinea pig owners so that they can learn more about their cute pets. For more articles about guinea pigs please follow our site or our social accounts.
We always try to provide guinea pig owners with fun and interesting content about their beloved pets!
Guinea Pig Tube is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites