|The domestic guinea pig belongs to the family Caviidae which is a family of rodents native to South America. They are also known as cavies and they have been developed from the wild guinea pigs of Brazil and Peru. |
Over 500 years ago the Incas first domesticated guinea pigs and they feature in many South American folklore traditions. They were brought into Europe by Spanish, Dutch and English traders and they quickly became popular as exotic pets among the upper classes and royalty.
In their native regions guinea pigs are still used as a source of food and they play a role in traditional healing methods. They are rubbed against the body of the sick and are considered useful for diagnostic purposes.
Today many breeds of Guinea Pigs have been developed and as well as being a popular family pet, they are also bred for exhibition purposes and are popular show animals.