Commonly known as a Guinea Pig, the Cavy (pronounced K-V) originated in the Andes Mountains region of South America. Peruvian Indians used them for food and as sacrifi cal offerings to their gods. During the 15th century, Dutch explorers introduced Guinea Pigs to Europe. The Cavy was previously thought to be a rodent(related to Chinchillas and Porcupines). But genetic studies show that Guinea Pigs belong to a brand new category of mammal more closely related to cows and humans than to rats and mice.
In their natural habitat, Guinea Pigs live in the open, grassy areas. They seek shelter in naturally protected areas or burrows deserted by other animals. Guinea Pigs are sociable animals, tending to live in groups. They are strictly herbivorous(plant-eating) and do most of their foraging for grasses, roots, fruits, and seeds in the late afternoon and early evening.