Habitat utilization varies with species that are generalists occurring in areas containing an even distribution of resources and more specialized species adapted to arid conditions and sparsely distributed resources. Maras and salt-desert cavies are more common in temperate steppe habitats characterized by

Patagonian maras (Dolichotis patagonum) mate for life. (Photo by Karen McGougan. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
A brown domestic guinea pig (Cavia porcellus). (Photo by Carolyn A. McKeone/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

scattered shrubs and grasslands. Habitat preferences of cavies are more varied, represented by thorn bush, forested areas near water, grasslands, and cultivated lands. Compared to guinea pigs, the cuis lives in more arid habitats, and the rock cavy is specialized for patchily distributed rocky outcrops. Most species prefer lower elevations and none occur above 16,400 ft (5,000 m).

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