Both rabbits, as well as guinea pigs, are extremely cute and social animals. People popularly keep them as pets in their homes.
In fact, the two also seem to have similarities in terms of their lifestyle and physical appearance.
However, while you can rabbits and guinea pigs together in the same cage, it is recommended not to. Keeping guinea pigs and rabbits together is not a good idea for various reasons.
In this guide, we will walk you through the many reasons you should not keep guinea pigs and rabbits together.
Moreover, we will also answer some of the most common questions people have about keeping these cuddly creatures as pets.
Reasons Why Guinea Pigs and Rabbits Cannot Live Together
When you own guinea pigs and rabbits and keep them as pets, it is up to you to ensure that they have the best quality care and live a comfortable life.
However, when you house the two together, you run multiple risks. These include ones that would endanger their health and even their life.
Although the two might seem like a suitable match, it certainly is not.
Here are the top reasons why guinea pigs and rabbits cannot be kept together:
Their Diets Are Different
A common misconception is that guinea pigs and rabbits have the same diet.
However, while they both are herbivores and their main source of nutrition are plants, their diets are still significantly different.
While rabbits can eat guinea pigs’ foods, guinea pigs cannot eat the food for rabbits. Let’s take a closer look at why this is so.
Rabbit Dietary Needs
The most significant reason why their diets differ is that rabbits can make their vitamin C.
This is not the case for guinea pigs that need fortified food enriched with vitamin C.
Rabbits require a balanced diet of fresh vegetables, hay, and pellets. They also don’t need vitamin C enriched food too much either.
One thing to note is that rabbits have a sensitive dietary tract. This is why you should carefully introduce new items to your diet when you begin to transition.
Guinea Pigs Dietary Needs
It is essential that guinea pigs consume vitamin C enriched food; otherwise, they may suffer from a number of health problems.
For example, they may experience diarrhea, loose hair, and ultimately die from internal bleeding.
This is why their diet should include leafy type vegetables, hay, and vitamin C pellets or seeds.
If you plan to keep rabbits together with guinea pigs, there is a chance that the rabbits will eat all of the guinea pigs’ food.
This could be a considerable problem because guinea pigs need enough vitamin C in their food to survive.
Hence, even though the two eat hay, fresh vegetables, and pellets, they should not be kept together.
This is mainly because rabbits can produce their vitamin C, but guinea pigs cannot and need food fortified with that vitamin.
Rabbits Can Bully Guinea Pigs
Rabbits can be aggressive in some cases. And to make matters worse, they are also much larger in size and stronger.
To add to this, rabbits have a habit of clawing things.
They claw at furniture, bedding, and anything that comes their way. Hence, if provoked, they may even claw at guinea pigs.
It is imperative that you keep your rabbit’s claws trimmed. Otherwise, they might cause serious injury to guinea pigs. Otherwise, keep them in separate enclosures.
It is a known fact that rabbits can act as bullies. Hence, they might harm, fight, or injure the guinea pigs to show who is boss.
Another way they may bully guinea pigs is by eating all of their food.
When guinea pigs are bullied this way, they need a place to hide and be alone. They might even get so stressed out that they start losing weight.
They Behave Differently
Behaviorally, rabbits are very different than guinea pigs.
Just because they look similar does not mean that they will interact and communicate with each other the same way.
Rabbits are much more communicative and social. They also like to groom and play with each other.
On the other hand, guinea pigs tend to keep to themselves.
The two may rarely communicate with each other when they are kept together. This lack of communication may lead to frustration, especially amongst rabbits.
As a result, the chances of the rabbits bullying the guinea pig will be increased.
They may even attack the guinea pig, intentionally or unintentionally, by playing with them.
When playing, rabbits tend to jump around and use their hind legs. This could seriously injure the guinea pig that would be much smaller.
They May Transmit Diseases to Each Other
This is another strong reason for not keeping guinea pigs and rabbits in close contact with each other. They can easily transmit diseases to each other.
This can be quite dangerous because they may carry diseases that the other species’ genetic composition cannot handle.
For example, some conditions like Pasteurella can affect both species the same. However, since rabbits are larger creatures, they still have better chances of surviving this disease.
But guinea pigs may be seriously affected by it.
Rabbits can carry diseases like Bordetella Bronchiseptica, which attacks their respiratory tracts. It can also be highly contagious to guinea pigs.
This disease is mild in rabbits but may be dangerous for guinea pigs.
This is because they don’t have a strong immune system to fight it off. It could even be potential for these small animals.
Cage Space Might Be Limited
Rabbits cannot be kept in the same enclosure as guinea pigs, especially if it is too small.
Rabbits need space to hop, move around, and explore. Even in the wild, their instinct is to explore and travel.
However, guinea pigs have short and stubby legs, which means they cannot travel too far. They also need shelters where they can hide and seek solitude.
When you have a small cage where you house both the animals together, this is not possible.
Neither of the animals will feel comfortable because their habitat needs are not being met.
They Need to Be Around Their Kind
Communication-wise, guinea pigs and rabbits might be complete misfits.
When you keep a pair of rabbits together, you will notice how they like to play and snuggle up with each other.
However, when you keep a pair of guinea pigs together, they might not be as affectionate or physically close.
As a result, communication problems might arise when you keep a rabbit or guinea pig together.
The rabbit would end up feeling lonely, and the guinea pig might feel like their personal space is invaded.
Due to their differences in communication and interests, they might feel stressed, uncomfortable, and upset.
This is why it is best to keep them around their kind instead.
FAQ’s about Keeping Guinea Pigs and Rabbits
There are some questions you might have in mind about keeping rabbits together with guinea pigs.
Whether you already have housed them together or plan to, here are some common questions answered:
Can Rabbits Mate with Guinea Pigs?
Since the two do not belong to the same species, they cannot mate.
However, there is a chance that the male rabbits may try to mate with a male or female guinea pig.
In that case, they might get on their backs, which could seriously injure the guinea pigs.
If you have guinea pigs and rabbits, whether you keep them together or separately, it’s best to get the rabbits neutered and the guinea pigs de-sexed.
This will ensure that both are not aggressive and coexist without any problems.
Can Rabbits Play with Guinea Pigs?
Since guinea pigs and rabbits have different ways of communicating with each other, playtime could be seriously dangerous.
Rabbits are quite playful animals and love to jump and hop around. They also use their hind legs to play with other animals.
If a rabbit tries to play with a guinea pig, it could seriously injure them since rabbits are much larger and stronger.
Moreover, it would also leave the guinea pigs stressed out and hapless. They are not that social and need shelter to hide and seek solitude.
This could lead to problems and frustration between the rabbits and the guinea pigs.
If We Have Rabbits As Well As Guinea Pigs, How Should We Keep Them?
As you can probably tell by now, it is not a good idea to keep these two animals together.
You are better off keeping a pair of the same species.
It’s best not to keep these creatures in the same enclosures.
Stick to not just keeping the same species together but also the same gender so as to reduce frustration and problems amongst them.
However, if you still plan to keep a guinea pig and rabbit together, be mindful of the following:
- Introduce them at a very young age
- They should also be of the same period to avoid intimidation
- Make sure that both animals are neutered and de-sexed
- Allow them the opportunity to bond
- Keep them in a large enclosure
- Provide areas for the guinea pig to take shelter in, such as a pipe or box that is large enough for a guinea pig but small for a rabbit
- Look out for signs of stress in both animals at all times
- If the guinea pig is spending too much time in their shelter, their relationship might not be harmonious
But My Rabbit and My Guinea Pig Tend to Get along Just Fine; why is that so?
If you have a rabbit and a guinea pig that already live happily together without any issues, there might be a few reasons behind it.
For example, this is probably because they were introduced very young.
Moreover, it might also have to do with the fact that they were fairly good-natured and friendly, to begin with.
You should introduce all the aforementioned techniques to ensure their relationship stays safe and friendly.
However, just because it has been done successfully does not mean that you should keep them together as well.
The Bottom Line
Hence, to answer the question, ‘Can guinea pigs and rabbits live together?’ In some cases, they can. However, just because they can does not mean that they should. It is not worth the trouble.
It is better to provide rabbits as well as guinea pigs with the company of their species.
This will ensure that they live healthy, happy, and comfortable life. Their health should be of the utmost priority.
If you keep them together, you make them susceptible to health risks and even death.
Rabbits have different behaviors, habits, and needs as compared to guinea pigs. Therefore, it’s not suitable to keep them both together.
Rabbits can be big bullies, and since they are larger, they can put your guinea pigs at great risk. Enjoy your pets and keep them safe and apart!
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