Guinea Pigs Cavia porcellus are nosey creatures but are very friendly and are related to the rodent family like rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters but are more closely related to porcupines, capybara and chinchillas. The definition of rodent is to knaw and this group of mammals has teeth designed just to do this. Guinea Pigs come in lots of different colours and can be long or short haired. They are able to breed all year round but generally only have up to 5 litters a year.
They will give birth up to 6 pups at a time, but 3 is the average. (The largest recorded litter is 17.) Because pregnancy is quite a long time for them they can become very large and misshapen. When the babies are born they are born with their eyes open and their fur on and are able to eat solid food within a few hours of being born although mother’s milk is still more important. They are thought to have been first domesticated as early as 5000bc in the Andean region of South America. The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped these animals and often used them in their art.