Both rabbits and guinea pigs are mammals that many people keep as pets, but can they live together?
Guinea pigs and rabbits shouldn’t live together for many reasons such as the possibility of getting diseases from each other and bullying each other. Although both rabbits and guinea pigs are very social animals, they prefer the companionship of their species.
In the past, before neutering rabbits was considered unsafe, guinea pigs and rabbits were often kept in the same enclosure, although little guinea pigs suffered much because of such arrangements.
However, now that neutering buck rabbits and male guinea pigs is safe, there’s no reason to keep these two species together.
Let’s see what are the similarities and differences between rabbits and guinea pigs and see why exactly you shouldn’t think of keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together in the same area.
29 species of rabbits that live around the world in different environments share many things in common.
They are social creatures and live in colonies.
While pygmy rabbits are only 9.3 inches in length and weigh less than a pound, larger rabbits grow to 20 inches and weigh over 10 lbs.
Wild rabbits make their homes in diverse temperature extremes but domestic rabbits need regulated conditions to protect them against heat exhaustion or hypothermia.
In the wild, rabbits are prey animals and many predators (owls, hawks, eagles, falcons, and many others) are a constant threat for these mammals.
Evolutionary adaptations allow rabbits to run for long periods at high speeds and elude potential predators.
Domestic guinea pigs are fairly large. They weigh between 1 to 3 pounds and have a body between 8 to 16 inches long.
Guinea pigs are native the Andes Mountains grasslands and lower slopes of South America.
Just like rabbits, guinea pigs are very social. In the wild, they lived in groups and colonies.
What Are the Similarities Between Rabbits and Guinea Pigs?
Both guinea pigs and rabbits are herbivores and have a plant-based diet.
However, guinea pigs cannot eat rabbit food.
The main diet of rabbits rests on grasses, clover, and some cruciferous plants, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Guinea pigs eat hay, and some raw fruits and vegetables (as not all fruits and vegetables safe for humans are also safe for guinea pigs).
Neither of the two species eats meat or cooked food.
Also, both rabbits and guinea pigs are crepuscular animals.
The busiest time of day for these small animals is at dusk and dawn as the low light allows them to hide from potential predators.
Additionally, both species are very social and need companions to be happy.
Nonetheless, we’d never recommend keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together because these animals prefer the company of their own species.
So, if you’d like to have a companion for your rabbits, keep them in neutered pairs or small groups.
Likewise, guinea pigs do best in small groups (one neutered male with a few females is ideal).
Besides, both species can be really unhappy if kept together in the same enclosure, regardless of how well they get along and like each other because there are also too many differences between them.
Do Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Get Along?
Usually, guinea pigs and rabbits don’t get along but they tolerate each other, which we covered in a different article.
Nonetheless, you shouldn’t attempt to keep rabbits and guinea pigs together as rabbits can easily hurt guinea pigs and even break their back.
Why Guinea Pigs and Rabbits Shouldn’t Live Together?
What makes guinea pigs and rabbits so different that they shouldn’t live together?
There are several very important reasons why you should not attempt to keep these two species in the same enclosure:
Different Communication Skills
Rabbits and guinea pigs cannot communicate well. They use very different ways to communicate with their own species.
Let’s just say that a guinea pig speaks a different language and cannot learn to communicate with rabbits (and vice versa).
For that reason, a guinea pig will often conflict with the rabbit.
Different Sizes of These Two Species
Rabbits are much bigger compared to guinea pigs, which intimidates guinea pigs and encourages rabbits to bully them. When they try to have fun and play together, a rabbit can easily hurt the smaller guinea pig and even cause a serious injury.
Different Nutritional Needs
Despite the similarities in the diet of guinea pigs and rabbits (both species are herbivores), these two small animals have different needs.
So, to make sure that both rabbits and guinea pigs get the nutrition they need, it’s much better if you keep them with their own species.
Besides, guinea pig food should contain vitamin C, which is essential for guinea pigs.
They have to get their daily dose of this vitamin through fresh and raw fruits and vegetables and dietary supplements, rabbits can synthesize vitamin C on their own.
If a rabbit consumes a guinea pig’s food fortified with vitamin C, it may suffer from kidney damage.
Rabbits require all vitamins except vitamin C. Thus, rabbit food is not nutritious enough for a guinea pig.
The Danger of Diseases
Certain bacteria harmless to rabbits can cause serious respiratory disease in guinea pigs.
Bordetella bronchiseptica (as well as Pasteurella) are bacteria that rabbits carry without showing any symptoms or signs of disease.
Unlike rabbits, guinea pigs will become ill. Infected guinea pigs can die from respiratory diseases caused by bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica.
As rabbits are much larger compared to guinea pigs, they need more space.
A rabbit cannot fit in a guinea pig’s cage while keeping a guinea pig in a cage for rabbits and in the company of a rabbit is also not a good idea.
Also, a rabbit can easily hurt the smaller guinea pig by attempting to mate and, in doing so, it can break the guinea pig’s back. Likewise, a rabbit jumps around and kicks around with its powerful hind legs, which can also hurt little guinea pigs.
What you need is a safe environment for both species.
Besides, rabbits and guinea pigs have different needs within their confinement, so it is best to keep a rabbit in the company of another friendly rabbit and a guinea pig with another friendly guinea pig.
In the wild, guinea pigs and rabbits usually live in groups, as groups offer safety and companionship. Our domestic rabbit and guinea pig have the same instincts to live with their own kind.
As much as we’d like to be enough to keep our rabbit and guinea pig happy, we are not.
Kept alone, rabbits and guinea pigs can get sad and depressed. A somber piggy and a sad bunny may suffer from depression and health problems.
Having at least one (neutered) rabbit live with a female or male rabbit, or a neutered male guinea pig with a female guinea pig friend will do wonders for your lonely pet’s mental health.
If you currently own only one guinea pig or rabbit, we recommend getting a friend of the same species, introducing them slowly.
You shouldn’t let your guinea pigs and rabbits live alone. However, you should also not pair them and keep them in the same enclosure even if you think that the space you can provide them is large enough.
There are many reasons why keeping guinea pigs together with rabbits in the same enclosure is not an ideal combination.
The only reason why you would want to do that is to save space.
Once again, we have to remind you that guinea pigs are much smaller compared to rabbits, these two species have different diets because of the different nutritional requirements, so keeping these two species together is not a good idea.
Now that you know that keeping piggies and bunnies is not the best idea, write to us in the comment section below and ask us any questions about guinea pigs or guinea pigs and rabbits.
We will do our best to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.