Brazilian guinea pig
|Brazilian guinea pig|
C. aperea has been successfully mated to the domestic guinea pig, Cavia porcellus, though many females become infertile in successive generations. Brazilian guinea pigs are mainly diurnal animals and are narrower and longer than domesticated guinea pigs.
The Brazilian guinea pig is a medium-sized species with an adult length of about 272 mm (11 in) and a weight of 637 grams (22.5 oz). The tail is almost non-existent. The dorsal fur is dark olive-brown mixed with brown and black, and the underparts are a pale grey or yellowish-grey.
The Brazilian guinea pig has a wide distribution in South America at altitudes between 400 and 3,000 metres (1,300 and 9,800 ft) above sea level. Its range extends from Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela to northern Argentina. Its typical habitat is open grassland and savannah.
The Brazilian guinea pig is a herbivore and feeds on grasses and other herbs. It is diurnal, mainly emerging in the early morning to forage and again in the evening. It does not dig a burrow, but makes an intricate maze of surface tunnels that are 8 to 12 cm (3 to 5 in) wide. It has latrine areas beside the trackways where piles of bean-shaped droppings can be seen, as can piles of cut grass stems.
Breeding takes place at any time of year but mostly in the austral summer. The gestation period is about 62 days and females can have five litters in a year. The number of young born averages two and ranges from one to five. The minimum age at which the young adults can breed is thirty days.
The Brazilian guinea pig has a wide range and no particular threats have been identified. It is a common species with a stable population and, as well as living in open savannah country, it is capable of adapting to disturbed habitats. For these reasons, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as "least concern".
- Dunnum, J., Zeballos, H., Vargas, J., Bernal, N., Brito, D., Queirolo, D., Pardinas, U. & D'Elia, G. (2008). Cavia aperea. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- Weir, Barbara J. (1974), "Notes on the Origin of the Domestic Guinea-Pig", in Rowlands, I. W.; Weir, Barbara J., The Biology of Hystricomorph Rodents, Academic Press, pp. pp. 437–446, ISBN 0-12-613334-4
- John F. Eisenberg; Kent H. Redford (2000). Mammals of the Neotropics, Volume 3: Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil. University of Chicago Press. p. 455. ISBN 978-0-226-19542-1.