Our domestic guinea pig (Cavia arerea porcellus) comes from South America from a wild pig. The genus Cavia unites several very similar species – small rodents, known as guinea or guinea pigs, and in their homeland, as aperea, aporea, gui. Of course, they have nothing to do with the sea and pigs. It also includes Cavia arerea from Brazil and Paraguay, Cavia tschudii and Cavia cutleri from the dry valleys of the Andes, Cavia nana from Bolivia, Cavia fulgida from the Amazon basin.
Wild pigs live in a variety of environments – from swampy lowlands in the interior of the mainland to rocky, dry plateaus. Wild pigs differ from domesticated pigs in a lighter body structure and greater mobility. The color of the fur coat of a wild animal differs sharply from that of domestic animals and has a black-brown color. They move nimbly and quickly, they are most active in the morning and at dusk. They feed at night. Some species dig holes, others build ground-based shelters from plants, while others use natural shelters, for example, rocky crevices. They live in flocks of several or from ten to twenty individuals under the leadership of one of the males. Each flock occupies its own territory, to which an outside pig has no access. They feed on the available parts of plants, from roots to seeds.They multiply intensively at different times of the year, which is dictated by the protection of the species.
Wild pigs were domesticated by humans in pre-Inca times. They were bred throughout the Central Andes, both for ritual purposes and for their delicious meat. These rodents were kept at home and fed with leftovers from the table. This is evidenced by the drawings on the vases and the found mummies of guinea pigs. During excavations at one of the archaeological sites north of the central part of the coast of Culebras I, which originates from the late pre-ceramic period (III-II millennium BC), special rooms for guinea pigs were discovered. There were built tunnels lined with stones, passing between the adjacent rooms. The numerous bones of pigs and fish bones found in them indicate that, most likely, the fishermen bred rodents in rooms convenient for them and fed them with excess fish from the catch. Despite,Since these animals are herbivores, modern Peruvian fishermen still feed them with fish scraps and leftovers from the kitchen. Guinea pig meat to this day remains a source of valuable protein for the poor Indians of the Andes, while the inhabitants of the coast consider it a delicacy.