Guinea pig vs rabbit: although similar at a glance, guinea pigs and rabbits don’t have much in common.
Both are lovable and cute in their way; kids love them and they’re easy to care for.
Despite their similarities, there are major differences between these two animals.
They are both friendly, loveable, and low-maintenance pets.
Table of Contents
Guinea Pig vs Rabbit: The 10 Key Differences
I remember, when I was a kid, in 1996, life was much simpler: birds were chirping outside, windows were open lighting up the living room.
I could hear the sound of the ceiling fan wobbling.
The smell of breakfast in the kitchen overwhelmed me while I was cozy, on the floor, with my 2 pillows.
I turned on the television and changed the channels; there it went!
That is the first memory of meeting Bugs Bunny featuring Michael Jordan.
At the time, I didn’t know who was Michael Jordan.
All my eyes were on the Looney Tunes characters; Bugs bunny was the captain, with his large bucktooth, long ears, grey fur, white round fur on the tummy.
He was standing with a carrot in one hand, saying “What’s up Doc?”
That was the day I learned about rabbits and, of course, their favorite food, carrots.
Right after that, the rabbit and turtle race.
Ahh, that famous race; spoiler alert, the turtle won, in real life too.
These are the best examples of how I discovered them.
Guinea pig, on the other hand, was not quite famous in my childhood days, not until when I saw a big-eyed guinea pig in one of Adam Sandler’s flicks, Click, back in 2006.
Guinea pigs weren’t famous at all, not if compared to their other cousin, Hamsters.
Up to 40% of mammal species are rodents, they vary from the creepy rats to our honorable mentioned giant Capybara.
However rabbits do not fall into the rodent family but for this article, I would just call them one, due to their almost similarities in nature.
Guinea Pig vs Rabbit: What Are the 10 Key Differences?
1. Average Lifespan
Owning a pet is a big responsibility; having one, means you must be committed to providing unconditional love and care for your pets.
Both guinea pigs and rabbits expect that from you.
Imagine you still live with your parents or friends, in another 2 years, your job will change, your priorities take a U-turn, and you’ve gone across the country for work.
Your pets are only 2 years old; you’re down with a crucial life decision, will your pet still be there with you, or having a pet in your new life will make your time limited to focus elsewhere.
So, pet ownership is not easy.
If it’s difficult to make that decision, a pet dragonfly will do the trick but make sure your housemates are fine with it.
Yet, although guinea pigs are sturdy and rarely suffer from health problems, their little bodies are fragile and require care when handling them.
Be gentle with your pets!
What Is the Average Lifespan of Guinea Pigs?
The life expectancy of guinea pigs is five to seven years or even longer.
In other words, with your care and safety for your pet, their life span increases compared to guinea pigs living in the wild.
These small animals are almost at the bottom of the food chain, living 5 to 7 years is relatively a blessing for your guinea pig.
Guinea Pig’s life span differs for each breed.
Some breeds only live for up to 5 years.
What Is the Lifespan of Rabbits?
Rabbits outlive the guinea pigs.
Depending on their breeds, the life expectancy of rabbits is between 7 and 11 years.
The lifespan of different breeds of rabbits is different, as not all rabbits live the same.
One who certainly caught our eyes is Mick Jr the Rabbit, recorded to be around 16 years old before making it to the record books.
2. Sleeping routine
Pet’s sleeping routine plays a big role; your time being at home may be limited; it would be great to know when your pets are up and when it’s bedtime.
However, don’t expect your pets to be happy seeing you when you come back from work unless you bring food.
What Is the Sleeping Routine of Guinea Pigs?
Guinea Pigs rarely sleep; they stay up for 20 hours through the day.
Besides, these small animals are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dusk and early in the morning.
To be healthy, a guinea pig needs to sleep between 4 and 6 hours a day.
Yet, they never sleep for more than a couple of minutes at a time.
Guinea pigs fall asleep in a split of a second.
That’s a habit they inherited when all guinea pigs used to roam free, living in the wild.
When they’re not moving and have their eyes open, you can assume it’s nap time for your furry friend.
What Is the Sleeping Routine of Rabbits?
Rabbits are day sleepers; they sleep around 6 to 8 hours in the morning.
So, your rabbit won’t be watching you going off to work or class at 8:00 a.m.
They will be up all night either playing or, if they’re too attached to their owners, crawl up the bed with you in the middle of the night.
3. Guinea Pig vs Rabbit Diet
For the healthy life of your pets, it is necessary to feed them following their diet in the wild.
And feeding an extra mouth is always going to cost you some amount.
Financially being able to feed your pets is crucial, it needed to be on your essential shopping lists.
But how much do they eat?
Both pets require a mixed diet such as hay, food pellets, and the occasional fresh vegetables and fruits.
However, rabbits tend to munch more due to their bigger size.
Make sure to add them up on your next grocery trip.
Nonetheless, rabbits and guinea pigs have similar diets.
What is a Healthy Guinea Pig Diet?
Timothy hay provides a great amount of fiber and is low in calcium, which is exactly what your guinea pig needs.
Likewise, you can go to the nearest pet shop and get those ready-made pellets.
About ⅛ cup of pellets is sufficient for your cute little guinea pigs.
Besides, guinea pigs need a daily dose of raw and fresh vegetables and fruits, which is important because they need large amounts of vitamin C.
At the same time, they shouldn’t eat food rich in calcium as this mineral is responsible for the creation of bladder and kidney stones.
Be careful with the fruits and vegetables you are feeding to your pet guinea pig, as not all food that is healthy for humans is healthy for these small animals.
Also, never feed your guinea pigs with food made for rabbits.
Rabbits and guinea pigs have different nutritional needs.
What is a Healthy Diet for Rabbits?
In a home environment, a pet bunny daily needs about ½ cup of commercial pellets made for rabbits.
Mix those pellets up with those famous bunny diets (carrots), hay, leafy greens, and other vegetables.
Never feed your animals with food made for other animals.
For instance, although guinea pig and rabbit diets are similar, these two animals need different nutrients to be healthy.
While guinea pigs need larger amounts of vitamin C, rabbits do not.
This section is quite straightforward, playtime for your pets is essential for your pet’s health.
An intimate moment between you and your pet is a vital key in keeping your relationship strong and trustworthy.
It’s okay to leave your pet for the day, but ensuring their basic needs are met is important.
Going away for the weekend, won’t exactly make them forget who you are as both pets are intelligent creatures.
Asking a friend for the favor of an occasional checkup to make sure the food and water are enough should cover it up nicely.
Guinea pigs play around 2-4 hours a day, with or without you, so setting up a play area for them in your cage is important.
Rabbits’ playtime ranges between 15 minutes to 5 hours depending on their mood.
Yet, you should know that both rabbits and guinea pigs are social animals.
One rabbit, just like one guinea pig, feels lonely.
So, if you decide to own either a rabbit or guinea pig, you should know that it’s best to have more than one.
Guinea pigs even tend to suffer from depression if they are lonely and don’t get enough of your attention.
The same applies to rabbits.
In the wild, rabbits live in colonies, so they instinctively seek the company of another.
Yet, if you plan to have more guinea pigs, make sure they are of the same sex.
Although male guinea pigs can fight with one another, it’s not recommended to keep them together with female guinea pigs.
Male guinea pigs become sexually mature when they are only three weeks old, so separate them from the mother and other females as you can quickly have more new baby guinea pigs running around.
Unlike guinea pigs, rabbits can live happily in all pairings: male/female, female/female, and male/male.
Yet, they are also comfortable in larger mixed groups.
5. Cage size
Both rabbits and guinea pigs kept as pets live in cages.
The perfect cage will improve their stress level and health in the long run.
You can certainly browse YouTube videos to get an idea for your pet rabbits and guinea pig’s cages.
Preparing the cage beforehand makes a huge difference.
It will save you the hassle of bringing your little ones home and having no idea where to put them.
In a new environment, it’s best to let your pets feel secure and safe in their new place.
Having an area to keep an eye on them with all their essential needs is better than letting them run around the house wandering this new world of theirs.
You can add up whatever fits them best.
An area for exercise, playtime, sleep, food, and water are the essentials.
Decorations in their environment provide that extra comfort for them.
Having more than two or even three guinea pigs and rabbits means you will have a much larger cage size.
The more pets you have, the bigger the space they need.
Also, you will need space to place their food bowls or feeding racks, water bowls or water bottles, as well as litter tray, as they can be litterbox trained.
How Large Should a Cage for Guinea Pigs Be?
A 7.5 square feet cage for one and 10 feet square cage for two is efficient for your little guinea pigs; you can include the play area within that size range.
Your guinea pigs don’t need many accessories in their habitat.
Remember that guinea pigs cannot climb or bend their backs.
Yet, guinea pigs require a hideout, which makes them feel safe and comfortable.
They also like to nest and roam freely in their environment.
You can also add tunnels, which they love.
How Large Should a Cage for Rabbits Be?
An 8 square feet cage with a 22 square feet play area for them is perfect for one and a pair of bunnies.
Also, just like a guinea pig, a rabbit needs its own toys to play with and have fun.
There’s a number of toys you can give to your rabbits.
After getting your pets for almost a month, the golden act that would warm all pet owners are those magical moments.
‘I Love you, Human’
Do Rabbits Show Affection?
Yes, rabbits show their affection to their owners.
They express that when they feel comfortable around you.
Nudging, head butting, or rubbing against you is the way in which a rabbit shows attention.
A rabbits’ way of saying “I Love you” is similar to cats. a small bop from their nose, lying flat on the floor and even cuddling.
Do Guinea Pigs Show Affection?
Yes, guinea pigs show their affection to their owners as well.
Guinea pigs tend to make loud noises and jump when they sense the presence of their owners.
Keeping guinea pigs and rabbits is fun, as you get to bond with them and play.
Both pets are highly intelligent.
They can understand their names when being called, the gestures of their owners, and learn new tricks.
7. Angry Mode
A pet owners’ worst nightmare, these are the signs of when you don’t want to be playing with them.
Do you know what causes your pets to feel angry?
Just like your life partner, you could talk to them to calm them down too, but you might not get the straight answer you were hoping for.
How Do Guinea Pigs Show Their Anger?
Guinea pigs show their anger through “hissing” noises.
When you hear such a noise, it’s best to give them the space to cool down.
How Do Rabbits Show Their Anger?
The long ears of rabbits play a big role.
When your rabbits’ ears are pointed backward and downwards towards their cute little tummy, it’s best not to touch those tummy furs.
8. Poop and Pee
The frequency of pooping and peeing of both rabbits and guinea pigs is important; keeping your pets’ cage clean is a must.
Be prepared to clean out the cages after your long day at work.
The hygiene of a cage reflects on your pet’s wellbeing.
Other than their food in your shopping list, you should include slotting in a 10 minutes routine of cleaning their waste reaching home or early in the morning, whichever suits you best.
How Often Do Guinea Pigs Pee?
Guinea pigs pee around and about 100 times a day.
Their urine colors vary from brown, orange, and clear.
They pee almost every 20 minutes, so it’s best not to hold them for half an hour.
How Often Do Rabbits Pee?
Rabbits pee about 200 to 300 times a day!
Rabbit’s urine colors vary from brown, orange, and clear.
They pee almost every 20 minutes, so it’s best not to hold them for half an hour.
As for all good and healthy relationships, communication is key!
You wouldn’t want to be caught having a lengthy conversation with the ceiling.
How Do Guinea Pigs and Rabbits Communicate?
If they do, then they must truly feel comfortable around you.
Guinea pigs wheek and squeak to their owners.
They tend to be more vocal towards their human owners.
Rabbits give off soft noises to their owners.
Tendencies of being quiet are just part of a rabbit’s nature.
Even when eating, they make those cute little crunchy sounds!
The size of these furry pets is the first point of their differences.
Rabbits are by nature the larger pet as compared to guinea pigs.
For that reason, the size of rabbits determines their cage size, food, play area, etc.
Their space requirements are more demanding compared to those of guinea pigs.
Bunnies need a large cage just because they are much bigger compared to most other rodents kept as pets.
Although their sizes are different, the love and attention from and towards both pets are relatively the same.
What is the Size of an Average Guinea Pig?
A guinea pig can grow between 8 to 17 inches in length.
They can be quite heavy for their size, going up to 43 ounces when they’re fully grown.
A guinea pig tends to be more vocal towards its human owners.
What is the Size of an Average Rabbit?
The weight of an average pet rabbit is about 6 pounds.
However, some dwarf and mini breeds of rabbits can grow up to 4 pounds.
At the same time, the giant breeds of rabbits reach between 10 and 15 pounds.
The largest among them weigh 20 pounds!
You should know that rabbits living in the wild are typically smaller compared to pet rabbits.
What Are the Similarities between Guinea Pigs and Rabbits?
The health status of rabbits and guinea pigs is one of the similarities between these animals.
Being at the bottom of the food chain, as prey animals, they tend to avoid exposing themselves when they are hurt or unhealthy.
These prey species of rodents may need more attention from their owners and an annual checkup at the vet is highly recommended.
Yes, your vet bills may be high, but you should count on that if you own or want to own a rabbit or guinea pig, or any other animal.
When they are healthy, they are relatively active, playful, have thick fur, clear glassy eyes, and regularly consume foods and water.
Both pets are social creatures and rarely bite.
Losing body mass, rapid hair loss, stressed breathing, teeth enlarged and abnormal lumps or bumps on their skin, low consumption of food and water, are some of the symptoms when they are unhealthy.
It is best to get your pets spayed or neutered beforehand, as they are naturally wild animals, it is in their DNA to find a partner and populate the earth.
Doing so, might save the hassle of those night calls, and also reduce their stress and depression levels.
Yes, they get depressed too.
Besides, both species are afraid of sudden movements and loud noises, so be careful not to frighten them.
The thought of having a cute pet can be appealing.
Just like guinea pigs, rabbits require much care and attention.
Guinea pigs and rabbits love the company of their owners as much as they need the company of their own kinds.
Countless videos and photos are going around social media platforms on their mishaps and cute little moments.
Millennials’ have a trend of having a pet around during live streams and YouTube videos.
However, the work behind the scenes on the responsibility for their wellbeing is a heavy burden for pet owners.
If you aren’t ready or aren’t fond of cats and dogs as pets, having a rabbit or guinea pig is a great idea.
Having a rabbit or guinea pig, as well as any other animal, takes time, patience, responsibilities, and commitments.
Which one is a better pet depends on your preferences, as the best pet is the one you already own and love!