The New International Encyclopædia/Cavy
CAVY, kā'vĭ (Neo-Lat., Port. cavia, from native Indian word). A small South American rodent of the family Caviidæ, allied to the capybara and the agoutis, exclusively neotropical, and represented familiarly by the guinea-pig. The cavies are restless, semi-noctumal, herbage-eating creatures, dwelling in burrows or crevices, increasing rapidly, and furnishing food for both man and beast throughout the plains and unforested highlands of that continent. The largest species (Cavia patchonica), sometimes called ‘agouti,’ formerly spread throughout the plains of all Argentina, but now nearly extinct, resembles a hare standing upon terrier-like legs; it is a foot in height, and rusty-red in general color. It digs deep burrows of its own, and also occupies those of the vizcacha. The restless cavy (Cavia forcellus), or ‘aperea,’ and Cutler's cavy (Cavia Cutleri) are common in burrowing colonies in the La Plata Valley, and seem to be the ancestors of the guinea-pig, though uniformly colored, the former grayish-brown, the latter nearly black. Other species inhabit rocky places to a considerable altitude in Brazil and Bolivia. Consult Hudson, Naturalist in La Plata (London, 1892). See Guinea-Pig; and Plate of Cavies, etc.
|1. JAMAICAN SHORT-TAILED HUTIA (Capromys brachyurus).||4. CARPINCHO or CAPYBARA (Hydrochœrus capivara).|
|2. ALMIQUI (Solenodon Cubanas).||5. VIZCACHA (Lagostomus trichodactylus).|
|3. CHINCHILLA (Chinchilla lanigera)||6. PATAGONIAN CAVY (Dolichotis Patchonica).|
|7. AGOUTI (Dasyprocta aguti).|