Cuy Guinea Pig | The Domesticated Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs are known in America as gentle-natured, adorable-looking ideal pets. They are usually of small size and very easy to handle. But cuy guinea pigs are quite different from these aspects, both in appearance and reason of breeding. 

Cuy guinea pigs are domesticated animals originating from South America. They are larger than the normal-sized guinea pigs, as they are used as livestock for many traditional food items in those regions. They are also kept as pets in South America.

Cuy Guinea Pig

Apart from that, cuy guinea pigs are also used for scientific experiments and medical purposes. They are a staple food in South America, and now some people in North America also eat Cuy-based food items.

Cuy guinea pig has more potential or usage than just being pets. Let’s learn more about them.

Cuy Guinea Pig: Basic Facts

Cuy Guinea Pigs Are The Largest Guinea Pigs!!
Cuy Giant Guinea Pigs
OriginGenus CaviaFamily Caviidae
Binomial NameCavia Porcellus
OriginateAndes of South America. (Peru, Ecuador, etc.)
Size8 to 9 pounds
Lifespan5-7 years
Cost Around $10
UsageTo find out if medicines made for humans work or not, as food items, pets, or for other experimental purposes.

Unlike other guinea pigs, the cuy guinea pig was domesticated by indigenous people in the Andes to use as meat. It’s quite a common scenario in South American food items to have cuy guinea pigs. 

It has been said, based on research, that although these guineas are of Cavia species, like normal American guinea pigs, they were not originally a part of the wild. They were bred and domesticated a very long while ago to be used as livestock.

Cuy Guinea Pig

Although they have likewise features to other guinea pigs, their large size comes off as a bit weird to American people. This is quite obvious as they are not quite accustomed to the size of these guineas. 

But keeping cuy guinea pigs as a pet is common in South America. Though, handling them is not easy. So if you want to keep these special guineas as pets, knowing more about them will surely help you out on your quest. 

Speaking of different species of guinea pigs, you may get interested to learn about Rex Guinea Pig | Facts, History, Health Problems, and Everything

Traits And Characteristics Of Cuy Guinea Pig

Traits And Characteristics Of Cuy Guinea Pig


Almost all guinea pigs are known to be calm and shy. They have different types of fur on their body based on different species. They are cute and adorable with their small feet, ears, and nose. 

But since cuy guinea pigs are domesticated and quite big in size it may be a bit hard to handle them. They would definitely need more socializing with their own kind and more food than an average guinea pig. 

Cuy Guinea Pig Behavior


Cuy guinea pigs are rodents. And providing rodent food is actually quite easy. They usually eat any type of vegetables, grass, twigs, weeds, cereal, raw food, etc.

They drink water. You can feed them like any other rodents. There won’t be issues regarding their foods, at least.

Raising Cuys

Cuy guinea pigs is for meat. So they need to be taken care of differently and more cautiously. They often get raised on big farms in Peru and Ecuador. 

Guinea pigs typically get pregnant at 4-5 weeks old. But cuy males and females are separated on farms and get to mate at 8 weeks old. Childbirth typically happens after 2 months and on average there are 2 to 4 guinea piglets per litter.

The kids are kept separated for 1 month from other guineas and then raised together away from their parents. They are raised in big cages on farms. You can keep up to 15 guineas in a cage, depending on their size. 

Raising Cuys

They are fed with different types of vegetables, weeds, twigs grass, and water. They are also fed artificial raw food and nutrition-added food items. After this step, they are ready for processing as meat.

Apart from other things, it’s also important to know What Is The Perfect Temperature for Guinea Pigs? This is also going to help in taking care of them. 

As Food Items

Cuy guinea pigs are a highly celebrated food item in South America. Although in North America they were adored much after getting introduced by merchants, they are not that apparent on plates, yet. 

Back in South America, cuy guinea pigs are grilled, fried, and roasted. They have a traditional way of cooking which is quite unique and requires special skill and patience. 

 Cuy Guinea Pig Is Used As Food Item

They put potatoes in the first layer of special stones, then goes meat items like pig, chicken, lamb and often cuy guinea pigs in the next layer, and then sweet items like different fruits go on top. This way of cooking is called Pachamanca. 

There’s also a festival held in the town of  Churin in memory of folk saints. The festival is known as “jaca tsariy.” Townsmen decorate their animals in different shades of color and eat Cuy meat as a form of celebration. 

Read More: Teddy Guinea Pig: Fact, Personality, Health Issues, and Caring

There’s also a painting in the historic cathedral in Cusco, Peru. It’s called Last Supper, made by Marcos Zapata in 1753. In this unique and mysterious picture, Jesus is seen to have supper with his 12 disciples with bread and wine with a cooked guinea pig. 

The painting and the festivals are proof of how ancient guinea pig meat is and how sacred it is to South American people.

If you want to know more about South American cuy guinea pig food items, this might be helpful. South American Food – EXOTIC DELICACY in Cusco, Peru! | Peruvian Food Tour!:

Cuy Guinea pigs As Pets

Cuy guinea pigs are cute like any other guinea pig. It’s easy to feed them, and they don’t take much handling to grow up.

But they are quite big. So they need to be fed a lot more than any normal-sized guinea pig. Also, taking care of their cage might also be strenuous. 

Cuy Guinea pigs As Pets

It has also been noticed that compared to other guinea pigs, cuys are not that fond of human contact. They can get pretty annoyed and anxious by us. Also, they need to be socializing a lot with their own kind. 

So you might have to take care of more than one cuy guinea pig, which is, again, more strenuous. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Cuy guinea pig for sale?

Cuy guinea pigs are for sale. But they are not that common in America as pets. But they are getting popular in North America. There are many people in South America who keep them as pets and also breed them to be used as livestock.

2. What is a cuy guinea pig?

Cuy guinea pig originated in the Andes and of the Cavia genus. They are of the same kind as normal American guinea pigs, but they were not found naturally in the wild. They were specially bred by indigenous north Americans to be used as livestock. 

3. Is eating cuy guinea pigs illegal in America?

It’s not illegal to eat guinea pigs in America. But it’s still not taken well by society as they are most popular as pets. There was also an incident where a New Yorker called 911 to see someone grill a guinea pig in a park. 


Guinea pigs are quite popular for their characteristics, features, traits, and behavior. Their unique fur coating makes them look adorable. The way they look when they are munching on some food is a personal favorite of many guinea pig fans.

But these adorable animals can also be used as food. Cuy guinea pig is used as livestock and originated in South America. There are many food items based solely on cuy guineas.

Regardless, they can also be kept as pets. You can also open up a cuy guinea pig farm in legal places to produce meat. No matter what, they need to be studied so that you can take proper care of them.

Lisa G

Meet Lisa G, the founder and author of With over 3 years of experience studying and observing various species of rodents. Lisa has established herself as a credible expert in the field. Her passion for these often-overlooked animals shines through in her in-depth articles and engaging writing style. Follow her blog to learn fascinating facts and gain a new appreciation for the furry creatures that share our world.

One Comment

  1. Sherri Toy says:

    I would love 2 buy a cup. I hv raised many guinea pigs over the years- all have lived about 8 years. I give them wonderful homes & feed them well.-Sherri

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