If we talk or write about cavies we biological correctly mean the domestic rodent guinea pig Cavia Porcellus a subspecies of Cavia. It is not really clear when and why this animals were domesticated by humans and due to its small body it is very difficult to get any archaeological founds or data. There are various and diametrical evaluations but it seems that Guinea Pigs are domesticated many thousand years ago in South America for joy and of course for food and to get the pelt for clothing.

Guinea pigs are known in Europe for some hundred years. There are several evaluations too how they came to Europe. In german Guinea Pigs are called “Meerschweinchen” (“Sea-Pigs” – not to confound with the sea cucumbers). There is a theory that this name is based from spanish sailors who brought it from South-America to Europe over the sea.

Anyway, this is the typical physiology:

zoological name: cavia cobaya
Origin: South-America
max lifetime: about 15 years
typical lifetime: about 6 to 8 years
Length: 20 to 35 cm
Weight: Female 800 g to 1200 g
Male 900 g to1400 g
Brain size: 4,5g
Number of dugs: 2 (male AND female)
Teeth: 20
no canine teeth
full-grown: after 12 month
sexual maturity: femail 3 to 4 weeks
male 3 weeks / ~ 250g
breeds mature: female ca. 6 month, weight > 700 g
male 4 to 5 month
rutting season: 8 to 11 hours every 14 to 18 days
pregnancy: 62 to 72 days – typical 68 days
born weight: 60 g to 140 g
litter size: 1 to 7 – typical 2 to 4
separate from mother: 3 to 4 weeks
up to 250 g body weight
body temperature: 37,9 °C to 39,7 °C
breathing rate: 100 bis 150 / minute
pulse rate: 200 bis 250 / minute

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