guinea pigs evolution in the wild

Guinea Pigs evolved in a grassy plain habitat and evolved to avoid predators (so they are prey animals, not attackers). They ate, reproduced, and coped with the elements on the grassy plain. They evolved many adaptations to achieve these goals.

Cavies are social animals, preferring to live in herds. This adaptation provides more eyes, ears and noses to sense the approach of danger and to sound the alarm so that others can rest. This way, no one animal becomes exhausted by sentry duty. Also, when many animals flee together, it forms a confusing jumble of shapes, and a predator has a harder time focusing on a single individual to catch. In herds, young guinea pigs are better protected than if they were off by themselves.

Guinea pig babies are born fully covered with hair, their eyes are open, and they are able to stand and run shortly after birth. This is because they must be able to stay with the herd in order to be safe. Guinea pigs use flight to avoid predators, Guinea pigs are small and live down in the grasses. They combine flight with out-maneuvering their enemies and talking cover. They are fast, agile and can turn without pause through memorized tracks of grass tunnels and along all the ups and downs of the terrain. They can wedge themselves into tiny cracks and crevices where they hide until it is safe to come out. At times, guinea pigs may lunge at a predator to hold off an attack but, even so, guinea pigs remain vulnerable. As Guinea Pigs have a short life span they must make up for this by being capable of reproducing at an astounding rate, which they do.

Guinea pigs have incisors for clipping mouthfuls of vegetation and molars for grinding, with a gap in between. The food that they eat is hard and coarse, which wears down their teeth. To compensate cavy teeth constantly grow. Cavies are best adapted to food that is highly fibrous and of relatively low nutritional value (grass hay). Guinea Pigs, therefore, have a large calcium to help digest their food arid can pass large amounts of partially digested food through their systems in order to get what they can from it and then move on to the next mouthful. Guinea pigs eat their own droppings for beneficial vitamins.

An animal must manage its body temperature. A great deal of heat is lost through the skin. Two animals of the same shape but of different sizes will lose heat at different rates. The smaller one will lose heat more rapidly. This is because, shape being equal, the smaller animal has a larger surface-to-volume ratio. Since a sphere has the smallest surface-to-volume ratio of any other shape, small animals such as guinea pigs can reduce heat loss by having a more spherical body. Could guinea pigs have lost their tails in order to be more compact and to lose less heat?

Another way for an animal to stay warm is to have a higher metabolic rate. A guinea pig has a fast heartbeat and eats more in relation to its weight.