As a guinea pig owner trying to replicate the feeding pattern of your pet in the wild, it might seem a little difficult. However, this article is here to make that easy for you. Therefore, to fully understand your piggy’s eating habits in the wild, keep reading.
What Do Guinea Pigs Eat In The Wild?
Whether wild or domesticated, guinea pigs are herbivorous animals. As a result, wild guinea pigs are mostly found in the grasslands and mountains of Brazil.
In the wild, guinea pigs love eating leaves, grasses, flowers, and basically anything that grows from the ground. Guinea pigs in the wild also have special treats that serve their taste buds and provide enjoyment. These treats are clover and dandelion.
Understanding the diet and habitat of wild guinea pigs makes it easier to understand domestic guinea pigs and their needs.
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Differences Between Wild And Domestic Guinea Pigs
As much as wild guinea pigs and domestic guinea pigs are similar in looks, they are different in various ways.
However, this range of different factors is different in context and outlook. According to the National Library of Medicine under the National Centre for Biotechnology Information in the United States, wild and domestic guinea pigs differ in emotions, social exploration, psychological adaptation, stress level, and social behaviors.
Although wild and domestic guinea pigs may differ in other traits, their diets are quite similar, as they are both herbivorous, and their food consists basically of things that grow from the ground.
The Eating Pattern Of Guinea Pigs In The Wild
As it has been earlier established, guinea pigs whether domesticated or wild are herbivorous animals. However, guinea pigs are known to graze their food rather than eat in large quantities. According to M.H Cassini and M.L Galante who are scientists in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, guinea pigs in the wild are known to go out in the wild at the twilight hours in order to avoid predators.
In the wild, guinea pigs are known to tread known paths to them. These paths are mostly linked between their food sources and burrows. Guinea pigs can also be found in large quantities in the wild, especially in areas with abundant food.
Since guinea pigs are herbivorous animals, all they eat are products of the soil. While searching for what to eat in the wild, guinea pigs mostly go for plants that are rich in vitamin C and water. Therefore, plants like clover, dandelion leaves, and chickweed, are a go-to.
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What Do Guinea Pigs Avoid In The Wild?
As clearly stated earlier, guinea pigs are herbivores. However, their digestive system is quite sensitive. Therefore, as much as they eat almost everything that grows from the ground, there are certain fruits and vegetables that are not safe for their consumption.
Onions and garlic are very unsafe vegetables for both domestic and wild guinea pigs. This is because guinea pigs get stomach problems from eating these vegetables.
Guinea pigs are also known to avoid meat and gassy food because these foods are not safe for the sensitive digestive system of guinea pigs. Also, plants that are high in oxalic acids are totally avoided because they are specifically problematic for guinea pigs.
Also, wild mushrooms are very well avoided because there are poisonous ones in the wild. In the wild, guinea pigs avoid plants like wild celery, oak tree leaves, daisies, buttercups, wild rhubarb, and many others.
Diet Information Of Wild Guinea Pigs
Wild guinea pigs like their domestic counterparts are herbivores and do not eat meat. But unlike their domestic counterparts, they cannot easily survive on processed pellet foods.
Wild guinea pigs eat all types of fruits, wild vegetables, grasses, herbs, flowers, and leaves, however, in some cases, wild guinea pigs consume, bark, roots, stems, and so on. Also, guinea pigs do not drink water after they have eaten foods with great water content.
Guinea pigs are known to learn what they eat in the wild in the early stages of their life. As a result, it is hard to change their eating pattern once learned. Therefore, guinea pigs do not respond well to a sudden change in their diet.