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MLA Full: "Viewer Q: Cavy Diet featuring Chili Pepper!" YouTube, uploaded by Animal Wonders Montana, 6 October 2016,
MLA Inline: (Animal Wonders Montana, 2016)
APA Full: Animal Wonders Montana. (2016, October 6). Viewer Q: Cavy Diet featuring Chili Pepper! [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (Animal Wonders Montana, 2016)
Chicago Full: Animal Wonders Montana, "Viewer Q: Cavy Diet featuring Chili Pepper!", October 6, 2016, YouTube, 03:31,
Jessi hangs out with the cavies (mara and guinea pigs), discusses the intrigue of certain rodents and their nutritional needs, and then takes Chili Pepper for a walk outside.

Patagonian Cavy video:

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Hi.  Welcome back to Animal Wonders.  Today, I'd like to hang out with an awesome rodent.


Rodents are a fascinating group of animals and I find that rodents from South America are the most interesting.  The variety of species that have evolved to survive and thrive in a multitude of environments is almost mind-boggling, but then I remember that nature is awesome and mutations in DNA can make incredible things happen, like Chili Pepper here.  He's a Patagonian cavy, or cavy, or mara, whichever you prefer.  He's most closely related to guinea pigs and capybaras, but also pacas, chinchillas, and (?~0:46).  

Patagonian cavies are quite smart and very social.  Chili Pepper spends his days hanging out with his mini herd of guinea pigs and humans.  He's a pretty happy camper.  We've done a video all about Patagonian cavies but today, I want to answer a question from one of our viewers.  

Hydee Garman and her family and friends ask, "Since Chili Pepper is a part of the cavy family, does he have the same nutritional needs as a guinea pig, specifically vitamin C?  Is he cared for like the guinea pigs or does he have different needs?  
Thanks for asking!  Patagonian cavies do need vitamin C in their diet just like guinea pigs and we can keep all these guys together because their diet is exactly the same, a base of grass pellets formulated with vitamin C, commonly called guinea pig pellets, and then we add on some fresh greens like romaine lettuce, cilantro, or carrot tops, and then we add on green peppers and tomatoes, followed by some vegetables like zucchini or carrot and some fruit like a slice of apple.  We then grind down a vitamin C tablet, sprinkle it on top, and then serve it up.  

Chili Pepper loves his fruit and vegetables.  He'll polish those off and then head right over to the grass and hay.  Once he's done with his favorites, he'll start munching on the rest.  

Chili Pepper might look a lot different than his guinea pig friends, but they're actually a lot alike.  All rodents in the cavy family have similar characteristics.  They have very large eyes on the sides of their head and no facial muscles to communicate.  Instead, they use many vocalizations.  They have large noses and large robust bodies.  They also have four toes on the front feet and only three toes on their back feet.  

Patagonian cavies are basically guinea pigs on stilts.  Rodents in the cavy family cannot synthesize their own vitamin C, just like humans, so they have to get it from an outside source.  If they don't get enough vitamin C, they'll develop scurvy, which has many symptoms, including weakness, gum disease, poor wound healing which will lead to infection, and death.  So vitamin C is very important for our cavy friends and us.

It's also important for Chili Pepper to have some fun outside in the beautiful weather.  Come on, buddy.  Let's go explore the forest.  Let's go.  

Thanks for joining us today!  Thanks for joining us today.  If you've wondered something about an animal that we care for at Animal Wonders, go ahead and leave your question in the comments below and I'll try and answer it.  Maybe it'll even be its own video, and if you'd like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel AnimalWondersMontana.  See you next week.


He is a little nervous 'cause it, you know, he doesn't know me.  In the beginning, when we first get an animal, they just have to have a warming up period and get to know that I'm not going to hurt him.