Year Photographed: 1993
Native Language: Quechua
The guinea pig is one of the most important animals for the Quechuas, also called cavy or cuy, and is a small tailess rodent encountered from Patagonia to the Guianas, Central America and Cuba. They have a free run of nearly every humble home in Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia, living off greens and table scraps. The meat has a chickenlike flavor, and the animal plays a part in medical cures and religious ceremonies. The warm viscera of a freshly killed cavy is laid on the abdomen to relieve pain. Many are sacrificed in air, water, and sun fiestas.