Do Guinea Pigs Live In the Wild?

It is estimated that guinea pigs were first domesticated about 3000 years ago. Therefore, over that time, guinea pigs have stopped being found in the wild.

That said, while guinea pigs are extinct in the wild, some that have escaped domestication may be found outside of human care.

In those cases, they may turn to certain areas, such as other animals’ homes. Here’s what you should know about guinea pigs’ stories in the wilderness.

Where Do Guinea Pigs Go When in the Wilderness?

If you do find a domesticated guinea pig in the wild, it’s probably an escapee, or it was abandoned. Therefore, it could be a good idea to give it a home, especially if it’s alone.

This is because guinea pigs may not be able to survive in the wild on their own. If you can’t give it a home, you could get in touch with an animal rescue facility.

The facility could give the animal shelter and possibly find it a home.

With that said, here are some areas where you may stumble upon a guinea pig in the wild.

You May Find Them in Abandoned Homes of Other Mammals

One place where you might find a domesticated guinea pig is an abandoned home of another mammal. So, for example, it could be staying in a rabbit’s old burrow.

It may pick an abandoned homemade by other small animals as they are likely to be safe from predators in such spaces.

You May Spot Guinea Pigs During Dawn or Dusk

You are more likely to find guinea pigs in such areas during the night. This is because they are hiding from predators.

They may go outside to find food during the day. However, they are most active during dawn or dusk. This quality is known as being crepuscular.

They may also be active at night to stay alert of other predators lurking. However, they are likely to stay awake and active within areas of shelter.

You May Find a Guinea Pig in Its Own Burrow

You may also see that guinea pigs may make their own burrows. They’ll dig into the ground to create areas of shelter. This way, they can stay clear of predators and also harsh weather.

It’s likely that a guinea pig may create its home near sources of food. As a prey animal, it cannot travel long distances in search of food because there’s a high risk to its safety.

Guinea pigs are active animals. So, they need to engage in some activity to stay mentally and physically healthy. Therefore, digging holes in the ground to hide in is one common activity.

As prey animals, they are also typically shy.

Therefore, excavating the ground for shelter increases their chances of safety and reduces potential interactions with predators.

You May Find Them on Low Shrubs

Some guinea pigs can be good at climbing. Therefore, they may climb some shrubs and go from one to the other.

You May Find Them in Areas with Dense Vegetation

Considering guinea pigs most likely won’t travel far for food, they may be found in areas with dense vegetation.

Also, for those who don’t know, these animals are herbivores. This means that they only eat plants. Guinea pigs typically eat hay, grass, some herbs and plants, twigs, and bars.

So, you may find a guinea pig where such foods are in abundance.

They May Also Choose to Stay Near a Water Source

While they could be living near a water source, they may not do that if the vegetation is damp with light rain.

Guinea pigs may not need a separate water source if the foods they eat are moist.

You May Find Them in Forests or Swamps

Considering they need food and water, you may find guinea pigs in either a forest or a swamp. Both of these areas provide food and water (or moist food).

In addition to that, these areas also have a lot of hiding spots, which is crucial for guinea pigs’ survival.

You May Find Them in Rocky Areas

It’s possible that you may find a guinea pig in a rocky area, hiding among some of the crevices of the stones.

That said, you’re unlikely to find them in rocky areas that are very hot.

High temperatures are not suitable for guinea pigs.

You May Find Them Under Brush Piles

There’s a chance that you may spot a guinea pig hiding under brush piles.

Brush piles are mounds of woody materials found in natural landscapes.

These brush piles have small spaces that guinea pigs can get into.

Therefore, when under these brush piles, they may not be visible to predators or other large animals that may threaten their lives.

Where You Won’t Find Guinea Pigs in the Wild

There are some areas where you won’t find guinea pigs. This is because these spaces are inhabitable to them.

So, if you find one or more guinea pigs in these areas, try to rescue them as soon as possible.

You Won’t Find Guinea Pigs in Open Areas

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find guinea pigs in open areas in the wild.

As prey animals, they won’t go into such areas because there’s no cover to hide from predators.

Therefore, they may stick to areas with dense vegetation and rocks instead. They’re likely to stay visually hidden from predators that way.

You Won’t Find Guinea Pigs in Areas with Extreme Temperatures

The optimal temperature range for guinea pigs’ survival is between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, you most likely won’t find guinea pigs in temperatures above or below that.

Snowy areas are especially unsuitable for guinea pigs.

Moreover, you may also not find these animals in areas with harsh weather, such as heavy rain, etc.

Why You Should Protect a Wild Guinea Pig If Its Alone

As mentioned above, guinea pigs have been domesticated for a long time, causing them to struggle to live in the wilderness without support. Guinea pigs that are alone are at even greater risk.

This is because guinea pigs are herd animals. Therefore, they typically need social interaction to stay mentally and physically healthy.

Without a companion, they may start to feel depressed, which could lead to physical complications. So, if you spot one, you could follow it to see if it’s actually alone.

Check If There Are Other Guinea Pigs with It

Try to keep your distance and check if there are other guinea pigs when it returns home.

Doing so will also help you locate other guinea pigs that may need your help.

Try to Find the Guinea Pig(s) a Home

Thus, it’s crucial that you find that guinea pig home.

It’s also best to do so with many guinea pigs. As they are not wild animals, they most likely won’t live long in the wilderness.

Unless you know how to effectively trap a guinea pig, don’t try it yourself. Instead, get in touch with professionals who can do that.

Just make a clear note of where you spotted the guinea pig(s) in the wild.

Where Do Guinea Pigs Originate From?

Before guinea pigs were domesticated, they originated from countries in South America.

The climates of those countries were the most suitable for their survival and wellbeing.

That said, these animals are now bred in different parts of the world.

If you’re keeping a guinea pig as a pet, it’s best to know what type of environment is ideal for it to survive and be happy.

Where to Find Domesticated Guinea Pigs’ Cousins

It’s also important to note that while domesticated guinea pigs are extinct in the wild, they have some cousins that do exist in the wilderness.

Those animals are also known as cavies like domesticated guinea pigs.

Some of them are endangered, with only a few left in the world.

So, knowing where those are found could give you some indication of where domesticated guinea pigs could be found.

Most domesticated guinea pigs’ cousins, such as the Brazilian guinea pig or the Shiny guinea pig, are found in South America.

Countries like Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador are common places where these animals are found. These animals are found in areas with high altitudes and low altitudes.

Some can survive at 16,000 feet above the ground. Of course, this varies from one species to the other.

In addition to that, it also depends on the temperatures and other weather conditions of those areas.

As highlighted above, guinea pigs need a climate that’s not too hot or cold to survive and thrive.  

Last Few Words

There’s a very low chance that you’ll find domesticated guinea pigs in the wilderness. Due to their domestication, they may not be able to survive in the wild effectively.

Moreover, their chances of survival are even lower when they are alone and in open areas.

So, it could help to get in touch with an animal rescue facility to save that guinea pig’s life.

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