Guinea Pig Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Guinea Pig

Scientific Name:

C. porcellus

Wild Status:

Most Guinea Pigs are Least Concern - Santa Catarina's Guinea Pig is Critically Endangered




Originally found across South America (no longer in the wild)


Burrows of other animals

Life Span:

4-8 years


Roughly 8-10 inches fully grown

Cool Facts:

  • Guinea Pigs are large, tailless rodents.
  • Compared to the rest of their bodies their heads are significantly large.
  • As a result of selective breeding, there are a variety of hair colors, coat textures, and length.
  • They are extinct in the wild and can now only be found in captivity & the pet trade.
  • Very social animals, and are best kept with a partner or group, and given tons of attention!
  • When they are excited, they will jump up and down and make high pitched vocalizations (known as "Popcorning")
  • They are unable to synthesize Vitamin C, so it is important to make sure their diet is rich in fruits & veggies with high Vitamin C.


Guinea Pigs are pretty adorable animals...and contrary to the name, they are NOT pigs, and they are NOT from Guinea!  Guinea Pigs originated in South America, and were first used for food, as they were easy to breed and care for to create an abundance of meat. Now they have been domesticated as house pets and are no longer found in the wild anywhere. Grass and hay are the natural diet for a Guinea Pig, and some of their predators include coyotes, hawks, snakes, and humans when we hunted them for food! Their main communication is through vocalization, so make sure to pay attention when you hear them making sounds! They were first domesticated around 5000 BC and have been a part of human society for a very long time! When it comes to remembering where the food comes from, Guinea Pigs have great minds - they can learn complex paths & mazes to find food, and can remember a path they've learned for months.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Rodentia Family: Caviidae Genus: Cavia Species: C. porcellus

Conservation & Helping:

Most Guinea Pigs are of least concern on the endangered species list, however one species, Santa Catarina's Guinea Pig, is Critically Endangered. There are only 40-50 of them estimated left in the wild, all in one location. People have free access to the island, so hunting and habitat loss are the biggest presumed threats.

For Teachers and Educators


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