It’s 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 nevertheless be found roaming in the wild. Another interesting fact about cavies is that they are not related to 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, although you may find the occasional lone guinea pig. A normal 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 as soon as they’re old enough to care for themselves and will attempt to start their own group or they might attempt to challenge the present male leader.
Such herds tend to occupy rocky grassland regions in the Andes. Wild cavies will very seldom dig their own burrow, but usually tend to inhabit the deserted caves other animals have made.
1) They feel more vulnerable to predators.
2) They have fairly poor eye sight and can’t see clearly farther than a metre and thus feel anxious about what’s ahead of them.
3) There will be fewer burrows in the open which are covered up and camouflaged, leading to the predators being more likely to find the burrows.
4) From the open there will be less color, and so that the cavies are more likely to get sunburnt (especially lighter colored types).
Wild cavies look very similar to the Agouti guinea pig strain, being a greyish-brown color with short hair.
In the wild, guinea pigs also stick together as they think that safety is in numbers. If one spots a predator, it will communicate to 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 active in semi-darkness since this is the hardest time to see them.