Do rabbits and guinea pigs get along is the question that many guinea pigs and rabbit owners ask as they want to find out whether they can keep these two species together.
While rabbits and guinea pigs may get along well and share many similarities, they also have many differences such as their size, behaviors, and modes of communication, which suggests that it is not a good idea to keep these two species together in the same enclosure.
Rabbits and guinea pigs usually don’t get along because they cannot communicate well with each other.
Besides, as rabbits are much larger, they can injure the fragile bodies of guinea pigs and even break a guinea pig’s back.
Likewise, although both species are herbivores, they have completely different dietary needs.
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Rabbits and Guinea Pigs: What Are the Difference Between Them?
First, let’s have a look at rabbits and guinea pigs.
Rabbits are small mammals with fur bodies, short and distinctive tails, powerful hind legs, and long detective ears.
The long ears of rabbits are an adaptation for detecting predators, and the ears may be turned in any direction.
Rabbits have a sensible hearing, which gives lots of information about their environment and alerts them of any danger.
Male rabbits are known as bucks, and female rabbits, are also known as does.
Different species of rabbits live worldwide in different environments.
They also have straight-growing teeth; a rabbit’s front teeth grow at a rate of 3mm a week!
Rabbits have a unique digestive system; they solve their digestion problem by a process called hindgut fermentation.
Food goes through their gut and special droppings are produced.
Rabbits re-eat and re-ingest these droppings.
Domestic rabbits and wild rabbits vary in their lifespan, typically they live for eight to twelve years or even more.
Rabbits love to keep themselves very clean and neat; they help each other just like cats do.
Pet rabbits can be taught to respond to any command.
Guinea pigs are South American rodents belonging to the cavy family.
Guinea pigs have a robust body with short limbs, large heads, and eyes, and short ears compared to rabbits.
Their feet have hairless soles and sharp claws.
Guinea pigs are fairly large as compared to other rodents and weigh between 500 and 1500 grams.
Their tail is not visible externally.
Most guinea pig pets live between three to eight years.
A guinea pig gets injured when picked up carelessly; they have to be handled very carefully.
Picking them with one hand under their hindquarters and the hand supporting their chest and abdomen is the very best way.
What Are the Basic Needs of Rabbits and Guinea Pigs?
Rabbits need lots of space as they are active animals who hop, dig the ground, and stretch out fully when lying down.
Guinea pigs also need lots of space for the same reason.
They need a lot of time for full exercise every day to remain fit and muscular.
They, therefore, need a wide-open and free place.
The cage has to be secure so that the animals don’t get away and should also keep other animals such as cats and dogs at bay.
You should regularly clean your rabbit and guinea pig cages to maintain their healthy environment and eliminate the odor that arises due to poor hygiene.
Therefore, change their bedding frequently and make sure they always have enough fresh food.
A Healthy, Well-balanced Diet
Good quality food and fresh and clean water should be given to these small animals regularly.
The nutritional value of guinea pig food is different compared to rabbit food.
Rabbits are cheerful and playful and prefer to be with a group of other friendly rabbits.
It’s not suitable for a rabbit to remain alone; this may lead to weird and strange behaviors.
Guinea pigs may also feel lonely without company. Although they bond with their owners and love spending time with them, they also need the company of their own species.
Therefore, if you’re just planning to become a guinea pig owner, you should consider adopting a pair of guinea pigs of the same sex or a neutered male and a female just to prevent a bunch of baby guinea pigs from running around every couple of weeks.
Make sure your animals are protected from pain, suffering, injuries, and diseases.
Monitor your pets and consult a vet immediately, as soon as you notice any changes in their behavior or symptoms of the disease such as lethargy, diarrhea, bloating, or lack of appetite.
Keeping Rabbits and Guinea Pigs as Pets
Rabbits can be as good pets, just like cats and dogs.
They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and personalities.
You want a calm and quiet but energetic and friendly rabbit.
The ideal rabbit pet is also gentle, active and bonds easily with the owner.
Males rabbits tend to be more easy-going and relaxed, while females are “the boss” of any household.
Rabbits can live alone, but, as social beings, they need a company of their own species to be happy, just like human beings do.
Guinea pigs are popular pets because they are cute, friendly, curious, and lovable.
They don’t bite and scratch when handled gently.
Guinea pigs require intense affection and attention, and they need to be handled with care as they get injured easily.
They also need clean housing and a healthy diet.
Therefore, it’s good to ensure that you have two of the same gender; it can be a pair of neutered male guinea pigs or a male and a female, or two female guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs And Rabbits Live Together in the Same Cage?
Despite the many similarities between guinea pigs and rabbits, it is not a good idea to keep them together in the same cage.
Regardless of how friendly guinea pig can be, the guinea pig’s best companion is a member of its own species.
Both animals are highly social but they prefer the company of their own species, so the best companion for a rabbit is another rabbit, and for a guinea pig is another guinea pig.
The two animals look the same, but they behave and communicate differently.
Additionally, rabbits are much larger compared to guinea pigs and stronger.
Therefore, rabbits can severely injure the delicate guinea pigs living in the same cage.
Rabbits might bully guinea pigs and kick them with their powerful back legs.
The strong hind leg of a rabbit can severely injure a guinea pig and even kill it.
Although both animals are herbivores, there are significant differences in the healthy diet of the two species.
Unlike rabbits, guinea pigs cannot produce their vitamin C. Guinea pigs need food rich in vitamin C and sometimes they also require dietary supplements of this vitamin.
Vitamin C is very important for a healthy body of a guinea pig; vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy, a potentially fatal disease. The symptoms of scurvy include listlessness, diarrhea, loss of hair, and internal bleeding, which can lead to death.
Besides, high-quality timothy hay, guinea pig pellets, and limited amounts of raw, fresh fruits and vegetables should be a regular part of a guinea pig balanced and healthy diet.
Without a balanced diet, a guinea pig will develop chronic diarrhea, obesity, and may suffer from heart, liver, and kidney diseases.
On the other hand, rabbits produce their vitamin C since their digestive system is different.
One of the most important reasons for not keeping guinea pigs and rabbits together in the same enclosure is the different dietary needs of the two species.
Rabbits bullying guinea pigs is a common occurrence when guinea pigs and rabbits are kept together in the same enclosure.
Rabbits may kick with their hind legs when on the move and can severely injure guinea pigs, causing blindness and infections, leading to corneal ulcers.
Rabbits and guinea pigs contract similar diseases and transmit them to each other.
Also, rabbits can easily carry respiratory diseases that they can handle well but can be potentially life-threatening to guinea pigs.
Rabbits and guinea pigs have different body language and produce different sounds.
Therefore, they cannot get along as well as you’d want them to, as their modes of communication are completely different.
Rabbits and guinea pigs should not be kept together in the same enclosure because of the many differences between these two species.
They communicate differently and have completely different nutritional needs.
Besides, rabbits are much larger compared to guinea pigs; they move by kicking with their hind legs and can injure the delicate and fragile body of a guinea pig, even killing this small animal.
Finally, rabbits and guinea pigs may transmit dangerous diseases to each other, which is just another reason among many why you shouldn’t keep these two species in the same confinement.
Instead, have members of the same species in the same habitat.