Here are 40 Guinea Pig Facts to give you some common - and not-so-common - information about guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs were first domesticated in South America 7000 years ago - around the year 5000 B.C. This is the time when the wheel was developed in ancient Mesopotamia!BBC News
Guinea pigs are used as food in South America, especially in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. They are cooked whole, grilled, or deep-fried. In Peru alone, an estimated 65,000 guinea pigs are eaten annually. The meat is high in protein but low in fat and cholesterol.CBS News
The oldest painting depicting a guinea pig in Europe was painted by an anonymous Flemish- or Dutch-trained artist and was believed to have been painted in 1580. It depicts three Elizabethan children. One holds a guinea pig and one holds a finch.The Guardian
In South America, guinea pigs used to be used as sacrifices to the Gods. A 17th century native chronicler, Guaman Poma de Ayala, wrote that the Incas sacrificed 1,000 white guinea pigs along with 100 llamas in Cuzco's main plaza each July "so that neither the sun nor the waters would harm the food and the fields."
South American Indians still use guinea pigs as tools in divination to this day. A healer, or sobador, takes a live guinea pig and rubs it all over the body of the sick person until the guinea pig dies. Then the guinea pig is cut in half, and his organs are studied to give information on the sick person's illness. The Vacuum
Guinea pigs were used widely as test subjects in medical research, especially in the late 1800's. However, the medical community today does not use the guinea pig as much. According to the National Library of Medicine, each year researchers publish 50,000 studies using mice, 36,000 using mice, but only 1,300 using guinea pigs. Slate
In Switzerland, it is illegal to own just one guinea pig. There is even a rent-guinea-pig service where you can rent a guinea pig to keep your guinea pig company.Spiegel International
Penicillin is toxic to guinea pigs because their gut is normally lined with gram-positive bacteria. Penicillin destroys this vital bacteria, and as a result, the guinea pig gets very sick or dies. If you think your guinea pig is in need of some healthy bacteria, use a guinea pig probiotic.
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