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This South American rodent is a caring and communicative pet. With a life expectancy of 5-7 years they will require companionship longer than other small pets as they do have a tendency to get lonely if left too much to their own devices. Not known for being big eaters, guinea pigs should get a nice variety of commercial guinea pig food, vegetables and hay. Feed them in sturdy crock or ceramic bowls that they cannot chew up, and make sure they food is well away from the area of their habitat in which they choose to potty.
Guinea pigs are a small South American rodent that is a sometimes household pet. They may live as long as 9 years and commonly live an average of 5 to 7 years.
There is also the popular notion of subjects of experiments being called "guinea pigs". I have to say, though, having worked in all sorts of research labs, and with a variety of research animals, that I never saw or heard of actual guinea pigs being used. The real subjects for experimentation are usually mice, rats, and dogs. I even knew of chinchillas being used, but never saw any guinea pigs.
Despite their name of Guinea Pig, they are not pigs and they are not coming from Guinea. They come, in fact,from the Andes Mountains (South America).
It is assumed that these animals were first domesticated more than 7,000 years ago.
In Western societies, the guinea pigs were introduced in the 16th century, by European explorers.
Besides their use as a food source, shamans of old South American tribes were using them in their religious rituals or folk medicine.
The most common diseases that shamans were using guinea pigs, either for diagnosis or to determine effective treatment, were (and still are, for the isolated tribes in the Andes) typhus, rheumatism or arteritis.
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