Guinea Pig Care and Welfare
Cavies originate from the plains of South America. They live in family groups amongst long grass, which they tunnel through. Hiding in the long grass is important for their survival as they have many predators, including birds of prey, wolves, coyotes, snakes and wild cats. Grass is the primary component of their diet, although they will also eat other leafy plants. These animals are a member of the order Rodentia and the family Caviidae. This means that they are rodents and belong to the same family as a variety of other pets, including rats, mice hamsters and gerbils. However, they are more closely related to members of the family Caviidae. Cavies are a group of South American rodents characterised by their large heads, chunky bodies and lack of a visible tail. As well as guinea pigs they include mara, capybara and several species of cavy, such as the yellow-toothed cavy. Their small size and short legs, together with their docile nature make guinea pigs easy to handle. However, it is important to remember that, as with other prey species, they are easily frightened and very prone to stress. It is therefore essential that they are approached calmly and quietly.