The guinea pig or Cavia porcellus belongs to the family of the Caviidae or half-hoofed, a family to which also the Maras and Capybaras belong, the largest rodents in the world. In the wild the guinea pig lives in groups of 4 to 20 animals, one bear with several sows and young. The wild guinea pig or Cavia aperea is a lot smaller than the guinea pigs with us and is dark brown (agouti) in color. The guinea pigs are actively looking for food during the day. They shuffle close together, preferably through tall grass so that they do not stand out too much for any predators. They are quick and very alert and when there is danger, they warn each other by whistling and beeping. On that signal they leave like lightning to hide in the bushes or in their burrows, usually abandoned burrows of other animals or natural burrows between rocks. If a guinea pig is nevertheless surprised by a predator, they will sit still 'before death'. Guinea pigs are nestlings, which means that the newborn boy can go with the parents after a few hours. They are hairy, can see and hear and nibble on roughage the first day, even though they naturally also have to drink breast milk.

The guinea pig is originally from South America, more specifically the Peruvian Andes, and has been kept there as a pet for a long time. For example, mummified guinea pigs show that the Incas already kept guinea pigs. In addition to being a pet or sacrificial animal, guinea pigs are still being bred for meat there.
It is suspected that the guinea pig was brought to Europe in the course of the 16th century by the Spaniards and later by the Dutch. European colonists and ngos have introduced the animal to Africa.