No doubt, guinea pigs are popular as pets living in many homes around the world. However, these creatures have their natural homes in the wild.
You’re maybe wondering – where are guinea pigs found in the wild?
Guinea pigs are found in different areas of the South American continent living in the wild. Moreover, that’s where they originate from naturally.
You’ll find them living in these countries and regions below:
- Northern Chile
- Northern Argentina
Additionally, cavies live in different kinds of environments in their habitat. They are all homes to guinea pigs – forests, swamps, scrub deserts, grasslands, and bushy and rocky areas.
These creatures are found living both on high and low elevations. There, they live in burrows and tunnels made by other animals or ones they make themselves.
Now you know these creatures originated from the wild. You might also want to know if wild guinea pigs still exist.
Keep reading below!
Do Wild Guinea Pigs Still Exist?
No, wild guinea pigs do not exist anymore. Cavies now live in different places around the world as domestic animals.
Of course, they were once wild but that changed as years passed. It’s amazing how these creatures can now bond with humans. They truly make great pets for kids!
However, some guinea pigs’ relatives still exist in the wild. They include:
- Capybaras (largest living rodents)
- Rock cavies
- Patagonian maras
These animals are also members of the same Caviidae family as guinea pigs. Nevertheless, you can’t find these creatures living the domestic lives that guinea pigs now live.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Don’t Live in the Wild Anymore?
Guinea pigs no longer live in the wild due to their domestication many years ago.
They were first domesticated in the Andes (western part of South California). And this was around 2,000 BC.
Owing to this domestication, the population of wild guinea pigs continued to decrease until there were none left.
Domesticating them has made them the kind of animals that serve many purposes. Originally, meat was the main reason for breeding these animals.
In addition, other use for guinea pigs came up like animal testing and experimentation. Moreover, they’ve eventually become very common small pets for families.
As these uses kept on growing, people kept collecting them and breeding them to suit these needs. That’s why it’s hard for you to see one living in the wild.
Even the guinea pigs we know today aren’t like what they used to be in the past. They have a nature that doesn’t fit living in the wild.
READ MORE: ARE GUINEA PIGS EXTINCT IN THE WILD?
What Country Eats Guinea Pigs
Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Columbia are all the main countries that eat guinea pigs. In addition, Peru eats more guinea pigs than any other country that eats guinea pigs.
Every year, Peruvians eat about 65 million guinea pigs. Furthermore, in Peru and other guinea pig-eating countries, guinea pigs or cuy are popular delicacies.
In addition, the breeding of guinea pigs in these countries is mainly for food. This is quite different from countries like the US or the UK which see guinea pigs as more of pets than food.
ALSO READ: DO THEY EAT GUINEA PIGS IN PERU?
To sum up, guinea pigs are found in many countries on the South American continent. You can see them in highland to lowland areas in their habitats.
You should also remember that these creatures no longer live in the wild. The reason is that guinea pigs were domesticated many years ago.
Some of their native countries eat guinea pigs and breed them mostly for food. They include Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Columbia.
Moreover, guinea pigs we’re also domesticated for other reasons, especially to be the popular small pets we know today.
Of all the countries guinea pigs are native to, you can see they’re neither from Guinea nor New Guinea.
So, why are they called guinea pigs? Click here to know why these creatures bear such names.