Whee only just found this but it gave us a good giggle! Walt Disney – Pigs Is Pigs
How whee came to be know as “pigs” is a mystery that only our dear ancestors will ever know the answer to. One idea is that some of our squeaks reminded hoomans of a pig squeal. Whee are shaped quite like pigs too. Whee have a large head compared to our bodies, a short neck, and a rounded rump (yes ’rounded’ Mummy, not fat as you like to say) Also, like pigs, whee do spend most of our of time eating.
Our name sounds much like whee are pigs in many languages. The German word for example is Meerschweinchen, literally “little sea pigs” (sailing ships stopping to get provisions for the New World would pick up groups of guinea pigs, which provided an easily transportable source of fresh meat. Whee are not to happy about that!). The Welsh term is mochyn cwta (‘little pig’), the French Cochon d’Inde (Indian pig), the Dutch used to call us guinees biggetje (Guinean piglet). In Italian the term is either Porcellino d’India (Little Indian Pig) or Cavia Peruviana (Peruvian Cavy). This is not universal but yes, hoomans do think of us as pigs. Not an insult really. Whee know many pigs who are very nice but whee are not pigs!
The scientific name of our species is Cavia porcellus, with porcellus being Latin for “little pig”. Cavia is derived from Portuguese çavia from the Tupi word sawiya, meaning rat!
The origin of “guinea” in “guinea pig” is even harder to explain, and like the pig part, unknown officially! Whee will leave that for another day. For now, here is a diagram which essentially explains us!
Nutty, Nacho, Buddy & Basil