Some people may think that guinea pigs and rabbits belong to the same animal family. After all, they’re both cute and furry creatures that eat veggies and hay. But that’s not really the case. The truth is, they’re very different from each other. If you want to have both animals for a pet, you may wonder, do guinea pigs and rabbits get along? Let’s see if putting the two together is a good idea.
Guinea Pigs and Rabbits: Differences & Similarities
Although rabbits and guinea pigs are both mammals, they belong to different animal families. This means they have varying physical traits and personalities.
Rabbits belong to the family Leporidae. They have strong hind legs, short tails, and long ears that help them detect predators even from afar. There are different bun types, and they vary in size, ranging from itty-bitty to gigantic breeds that weigh as much as a small child. They also come in various colors and markings.
Rabbits have excellent eyesight. Their 180-degree vision lets them see almost all around them, except for the space directly in front of the head. Another interesting feature is their teeth. Those pearly whites keep growing throughout their life.
Guinea pigs are part of the Cavy family. They’re not really pigs but rodents. They have muscular bodies, large heads, and short ears. Several breeds of guinea pigs exist, and they’re often classified according to fur length, coat texture, and hair color.
Weighing between 500 to 1500 grams in adulthood, guinea pigs are larger than most rodents.
Basic Needs of Both
Like most pets, these two lovable creatures have basic needs. Whether you intend to have one or both of them in your home, you’ll need to provide for their upkeep and wellbeing.
A Safe Place to Live
Rabbits are active animals. As such, they need plenty of space to jump and play around. If you’ll keep your bun in a cage, make sure it’s the right size. Your pet’s living space should be 4 times his size as a general rule. That means the bigger the rabbit, the larger the cage.
Meanwhile, a guinea pig needs 7.5 square feet of space in his cage. Tiny living quarters can impact your pet’s health, so don’t stick your guinea pig in cages meant for smaller rodents like gerbils. Keep in mind that 7.5 square feet are the minimum requirement. Bigger is always better.
For both buns and guinea pigs, provide an area for their toilet needs and replace the beddings regularly. Also, keep their cages clean to prevent the spread of diseases.
A Healthy Diet
Both rabbits and guinea pigs are natural grazers. That means they thrive on plants and grasses. As such, they need good quality hay and fresh veggies. Fruits and pellets can also help supplement their diet. However, with rabbits, fruits should be given sparingly as the high sugar content of fruits can cause some health issues.
Don’t forget to supply your pets with enough fresh water.
Protection from Injuries and Harsh Environment
If you plan to keep your bun or guinea pig outdoors, make sure you provide them with safe outdoor housing. That means a cage or enclosure made of sturdy materials to keep predators out. Both pets are vulnerable to extreme temperatures, so their housing should protect them from scorching and frigid climates.
Being social animals, rabbits and guinea pigs prefer to have company. Both of them may feel lonely if left on their own. That’s why you’ll need to provide them with good companions, especially if you can’t spend a lot of time with them. Getting a pair of buns or guinea pigs of the same age works best as this will help forge a strong bond between them.
Why Guinea Pigs and Rabbits Might Not Get Along?
Rabbits and guinea pigs may look similar, but that doesn’t mean they’ll make great companions for each other. Here are some reasons why putting them together isn’t such an excellent idea.
Their Diets Differ
Yes, both eat plants and hay. Still, they have different nutrient requirements because of how their bodies process food. Rabbits don’t need much vitamin C. That’s because their system can manufacture the said vitamin. Getting too much of it can even lead to certain illnesses.
In contrast, a guinea pig’s diet must be enriched with vitamin C. Without it, guinea pigs can suffer from diarrhea, hair loss, listlessness, and internal bleeding that can have fatal consequences.
They belong to different species, so it’s natural for them to have behaviors unique to their kind. For example, rabbits typically kick with their strong hind legs when they move. As such, they can unintentionally injure their guinea pig companion, who happens to be near them.
Buns also have sharp claws that they can use to strike a guinea pig either by accident or on purpose. This can cause infection on the open wound or even blindness if the claw hits the guinea pig in the eyes.
Rabbits may also try to mate with a guinea pig. Being bigger and heavier, the rabbit’s mounting behavior can break a guinea pig’s back.
Rabbits sometimes carry the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica and Pasteurella. They may not suffer from the ailments caused by those bacteria, but they can pass them on to guinea pigs. Bordetella bronchiseptica and Pasteurella potentially cause respiratory issues in guinea pigs.
Because they belong to different animal families, they don’t communicate the same way. Their body languages differ, and so does the meaning of the sounds they make. Buns like to groom and lick each other. They bond by snuggling together. On the other hand, guinea pigs want to keep to themselves at times. Imagine how they would feel if their rabbit pal kept trying to get close to them.
What If They Pig Get Along?
It’s wonderful if your two pets get along. They may have grown together and have learned to adapt to each other. But you still need to ensure their continued safety and wellbeing by doing the following:
- Provide separate meals for your pets to address their specific nutritional requirements.
- Give your guinea pig a safe hiding place. The entrance must be large enough for the guinea pig to pass through but too small for a rabbit.
- Spay or neuter your bun to lessen the risks of aggression and mating behavior.
Do guinea pigs and rabbits get along? They can, in some situations. But to be on the safe side, better not put them together.
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