Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Guinea-pig, a popular name for any species of the Rodent genus Cavia, involving an error in each word, for they are natives of South America, not of Africa, and are in no way related to the swine. They are timid rabbit-like animals, with short limbs bearing four toes on the front and three on the hinder pair; the ears are short, the lip is not cleft, and the tail is rudimentary or wanting. The Restless Cavy ( C. aperea), from which the domesticated form (C. eobaya) is probably derived, and from which the latter differs little except in its varied'colouring, lives in small companies on the banks of the La Plata, ranging northwards as far as Brazil. The great plains of South America are the home of allied species. Other forms are the Bolivian Cavy (C. bolivensis), the Rock Cavy (C. ntpestris) from Brazil, and the Southern Cavy (S. australis) ranging to Magellan Straits.