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Meet our Class Pet!

This week's lesson is about our new pet guinea pig(Cavia porcellus) and her ancestor's geographical origins. The Guinea pig's wild ancestors are Cavia Tschundii, native to the Andes Mountains in South America. Britannica said they were first domesticated and used as food in 5,000 B.C. They live at altitudes of 14,000. These cuddly cuties are part of the rodent family, which is hard to believe. There are 13 breeds. What we know now looks nothing like their wild counterparts due to years of breeding and domestication.

Life Cycle of The Guinea Pig

Young: birth-six months

The newborn guinea pig relies solely on their mother's milk for the first few weeks.

Once they are weaned from their mother's milk, they need plenty of alfalfa.

Adult Six: months- four years

Once they reach adulthood, they need timothy hay and plenty of exercise.

Senior: four plus years

During this period, they need exercise and a specialized diet.

The average life span of a guinea pig is 4-7 years, but given the right conditions, it can live up to 14 years. Genetics plays a huge role in this. Guinea pigs are predisposed to certain illnesses, so the best bet for maintaining a healthy pet is taking care of all their needs and giving them lots of love.

Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they only eat plants. Once mature, they need a diet rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is especially important because they cannot produce it themselves.

They need fresh greens and hay daily. Many vegetables and herbs are safe for guinea pig consumption. Fruits can be given as a treat once a week, but because fruits are high in sugar, they can cause weight gain and loose stools. You can also gather dandelions from your yard!

The Origins of the Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs are a species of rodent in the genus Cavia, with approximately 13 breeds. Their wild ancestors are Cavia Tschundii. They are native to the Andes Mountains in South America and live at altitudes of 1400.

They don't resemble the domesticated fuzzy, cuddly, and cute guinea pigs we know as pets. The Cavia Tschundiis' color is more uniform, mimicking the colors of their surrounding environment. Check out the info on the right with fun facts about their location.

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