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The domesticated guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) is a small, burrowing rodent that is native to South America. When excited, this little animal squeals like a pig. Many people keep this cute rodent as a household pet. The guinea pig's life span is about 6 to 8 years.

Anatomy: The guinea pig has a compact body; it has short ears, short legs, and long claws, but no tail. The coat color can be white, brown, yellow, and/or black. The fur can be short or long, and straight or curly. The guinea pig averages about 11 inches (28 cm) long and weighs about 2 pounds (0.9 kg). Like all rodents, the guinea pig's front top teeth continue to grow throughout its life. It must gnaw on hard things to keep wearing the teeth down. There are four toes on the front feet, but only three on the back feet.

Diet: The guinea pig eats grasses, herbs, and other plant material.

Origins: The guinea pig was bred from the wild cavy, which lives in grasslands, woodlands, swamps, plains, rocky areas, and deserts in much of South America.



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