Classification of Guinea Pigs
The guinea pig is a member of the largest mammalian order, Rodentia.
The 1700 or so species of rodents outnumber all other species of mammals
combined, making them one of the most successful of groups. Moreover,
most species of rodents are abundantly represented in their respective
ranges, making them more numerous as individuals than most other mammal
As can be expected with such a large number of species, rodents
show a remarkable diversity of size. They may be as small as the tiny
harvest mouse, which weighs less than 10 grams (1/3 oz), or as large as
the sheep sized capybara of the Amazon, which may tip the scales at 30
kilograms (70 lb) or more.
For many years, zoologists have had a great deal of trouble in trying
to classify such a great conglomeration of species into a logical order
and even today, universal agreement on this subject has yet to be found.
The guinea pig has been placed in the suborder Caviomorpha, which it
shares with other species of cavy, capybaras, agoutis, chinchillas and
New world porcupines - a typical classification may read as follows :
||Cavies, agoutis and capibaras
||The wild cavy and the guinea pig
||The guinea pig
||The wild cavy