It is a common misconception that guinea pigs originated from Guinea, when in fact these gorgeous creatures can be found roaming the Andes. The Cavia Aparea can still be found roaming in the wild. Another fascinating fact about cavies is that they are not associated with pigs but are members of the rodent family, along with hamsters and mice.
Guinea pigs were 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 find the occasional lone guinea pig. A typical herd usually consists of a single boar (male), many sows (females) and their young. Usually any young male cavies will be’kicked out’ of the herd once they’re old enough to care for themselves and will try to start their own group or they may try to challenge the existing male leader. In the wild, the average sow will have two litters annually.
Such herds tend to occupy rocky grassland areas in the Andes. Wild cavies will very seldom dig their own burrow, but usually tend to inhabit the abandoned caves other animals have made.
1) They feel more vulnerable to predators.
2) They have fairly poor eye sight and can’t see clearly further than a metre and thus feel anxious about what is ahead of them.
3) There will be less burrows in the open that are covered up and camouflaged, leading to the predators being more likely to discover the burrows.
4) In the open there will be less color, and thus that the cavies are more likely to get sunburnt (especially lighter coloured types).
Wild cavies look very similar to the Agouti guinea pig strain, being a greyish-brown colour with short hair.
In the wild, guinea pigs also stick together as they feel that safety is in numbers. If one places a predator, it is going to communicate with the rest of the herd via a range of squeaks, and the herd will get under floor as quickly as possible. Due to risk of predators cavies have a tendency to be busy in semi-darkness since this is the hardest time to see them.