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What are some facts about guinea pigs?

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Quick Answer

The guinea pig was domesticated from now-extinct wild species once native to South America. A wild guinea pig called the Brazilian guinea pig is still found on the continent; like the domestic guinea pig, it has a blunt snout, a chunky body, no tail and short legs. The guinea pig has proven so popular as a pet, a test animal and food, it is now found all over the world.

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Full Answer

Guinea pigs are hardy and can thrive in a variety of climates. They can withstand places with night temperatures as low as 19 degrees Fahrenheit.

Guinea pigs weigh between 1 1/2 and 2 pounds and can be 8 to 10 inches long, and males tend to be larger than females. Because guinea pigs are rodents, their teeth continually grow, so they must maintain a diet that can keep them at a healthy length. Over the centuries guinea pigs have been cross-bred, so their fur can come in a wealth of colors, lengths and textures.

Like most rodents, guinea pigs start to reproduce early in life. Males are mature when they're scarcely 2 months old and females mature a bit later. Pregnancy also lasts a little over two months, and the babies are weaned for two to three weeks after they're born.

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