CAVY, a name commonly applied to several South American rodent animals included in the family Caviidae (see Rodentia), but perhaps properly applicable only to those belonging to the typical genus Cavia, of which the most familiar representative is the domesticated guinea-pig.
Cavies in general, the more typical representatives of the Caviidae, are rodents with hooflike nails, four front and three hind toes, imperfect collar-bones, and the cheek-teeth divided by folds of enamel into transverse plates.
Capybaras belong to the family Caviidae, the leading characteristics of which are given in Rodentia.
As in the agoutis (Dasyproctidae), the milk-teeth are long retained,, while in the allied cavies (Caviidae) they are shed before birth.
In the family Caviidae, typified by the cavies (or guinea-pigs), may be included a large number of South and Central American rodents, among which the agoutis and pacas are often ranked as a family (Dasyproctidae) by themselves.
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