Rabbits and guinea pigs are both soft and cuddly pets that many people enjoy keeping as family members.
A lot of times when people get rabbits, they also think of getting Guinea Pigs in addition to the rabbits.
Sure, they look quite similar, but can you keep rabbits and guinea pigs together?
Can Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Live Together?
It would seem that they could live together since they seem to be closely related.
But, the truth is that it’s not a good idea for rabbits and guinea pigs to live in the same enclosure because each has very different needs.
In the following sections, I will share the reasons why it’s not advisable to keep rabbits and guinea pigs together.
Feeding and Dietary Differences
Both rabbits and guinea pigs need specialized diets for their types. Food is available for each of the two breeds in a pellet form, but each should only eat their own type of pellets.
According to the ASPCA, Guinea pigs can’t manufacture vitamin C, but rabbits can. Guinea pigs need this vitamin to stay healthy and it’s included in their food pellets.
Some rabbit feeds also contain antibiotics in them and this can be harmful to guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs can free feed on the pellets, but rabbits will overeat if given this option.
Guinea pigs should eat about 1/8 cup of food per day per pig and rabbits need about 1/2 cup of food pellets per day per rabbit.
Both pets can have some leafy green vegetables to mnuch on as well as some hay each day.
Health Risks of Caging Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Together
It’s best to keep your guinea pigs and rabbits separated because of health risks to the smaller piggies.
Rabbits can commonly carry two types of bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica and Pasteurella. Antibiotics can control it in a rabbit, but it may still be a carrier.
Guinea pigs can actually die from these two types of bacteria in their lungs, so it’s best not to keep the two species together in one enclosure.
As an added note, dogs and cats can also carry Pasteurella, so it’s best to keep your guinea pigs away from these other common household pets as well.
Differences in Personalities of Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
Rabbits and guinea pigs are very different in their personalities and socialization habits.
Two rabbits in the same enclosure or cage will be seen grooming each other and snuggling up together.
On the other hand, guinea pigs like their space.
They don’t spend much time cuddling and they are also not as sociable as they want a cagemate to be around that is of the same species, but they don’t necessarily stay very close to them.
Putting a rabbit and a guinea pig together could create a mess with the rabbit being lonely and the guinea pig being harassed, because each is very different in their personalities and socialization habits.
Since rabbits and guinea pigs act and socialize differently, if you keep them together they will most probably not understand the behavior of the other species and would not make great companions.
Differences in Communication Between Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
Both rabbits and guinea pigs communicate with each other and also with their human family members, although in very different manners.
Guinea pigs make squeaking sounds when they are “talking” to their humans and they can be quite vocal at times.
Rabbits are actually very quiet in nature, most probably because in the wild they were hunted for prey by other animals and birds, so they were very quiet so as not to be heard.
The only noises you will hear from rabbits is the crunching sound when they eat.
Differences in Habitat Requirements
Since guinea pigs are much smaller than most rabbits, they need a smaller space to sleep, eat and play.
A cage or habitat area of 10 square feet is the perfect size for a pair of guinea pigs to live in.
A pair of rabbits need a caged area of about 8 feet square to sleep and eat and an additional play area of about 22 square feet to play in.
Differences in Exercise Requirements
Just like humans, all types of pets need sufficient playtime and exercise in order to stay healthy and happy.
The amount of exercise varies greatly between rabbits and guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs tend to play from 2 to 4 hours a day, either in a controlled environment with you or in their cage.
After your guinea pig is hand-tamed, you can have a lot of fun with your furry little pet.
You can put your guinea pig in a confined area that is pet-proof for playtime, but you will need to supervise it at all times.
Guinea pigs love to chew and they will chew on anything around them which can be dangerous if they decide an electrical wire looks inviting.
Guinea pigs can also run pretty fast and slip into a hole that you wouldn’t think they could fit in. You can make them a play area with toys from simple household objects to keep them entertained.
Empty paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls make tunnels for playtime and rocks and bricks will make them a climbing area.
If you want your guinea pig to be able to travel around the house, you can put it in a clear ball so it can run as it does on a hamster wheel and move all around the house freely without being lost.
After they get the hang of it, this is fun for the entire family.
Rabbits can be a bit moody at times and will play for 15 minutes a day or up to 5 hours a day when they are feeling frisky.
Bunny’s enjoy a digging box that you can make by filling up a cardboard box partway with soil or shredded paper.
Chew sticks made especially for rabbits are a favorite toy for their chewing urges.
Allow your rabbits to play for as long as they want every day to keep them healthy and happy and prevent them from being overweight.
Both rabbits and guinea pigs really enjoy an outside fenced play area filled with toys for their inquisitive minds.
Make certain you can see them in the enclosure and stay outside the entire time they are in an outdoor play area.
Remember, both guinea pigs and rabbits can quickly dig under a fence and escape.
Differences Between Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Sleeping Habits
The sleep schedules of the two pets are very different from each other and if they were kept together, they would most likely be very grouchy.
Guinea pigs rarely sleep and they can stay awake up to 20 hours per day.
When they take a nap, it’s for a short amount of time, between 5 and 20 minutes.
You can bet they are taking a nap if their eyes are closed and they are keeping still because otherwise, they are constantly on the move.
If you adopt rabbits or guinea pigs, you should have their cages and play areas somewhere other than your bedroom, because they can keep you up all night while they are playing and happily munching on chew toys.
Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Intelligence Levels
Both rabbits and guinea pigs are very intelligent pets.
They will learn their names and come to you when you call them, just as dogs and cats do.
Both types of pets can learn tricks easily to play with their humans and they can also recognize hand gestures directing them to do a certain thing.
You can teach your rabbits or guinea pigs to go in a circle, a figure 8, jump through a hoop and give you a high five as long as you use positive reinforcement training with lots of praise and treats for learning a new trick.
The Best Companions for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
Both rabbits and guinea pigs enjoy a happy life if they have a companion of the same species with them in their enclosures.
Two rabbits that are gentle will be happy together and two guinea pigs that are gentle will flourish as well.
If you have male pets, it may be in your best interest to have them neutered so they are sweeter and calmer toward each other.
If you were to put a guinea pig and a rabbit together, the rabbit is much larger and males can really hurt a small guinea pig if they try to breed it.
Guinea pigs can weigh up to 2 pounds when they are full-grown and rabbits, depending on the breed you choose, can weigh anywhere between 2 and 20 pounds or more.
Rabbits also tend to kick with their powerful hind feet and claws when they play rough, which can also injure a guinea pig.
In summary, it’s best not to keep guinea pigs and rabbits together in one enclosure because most all of their habits are different from each other.
If you want one of these pets, the best scenario is to adopt two female rabbits or two female guinea pigs for your new family members.
Females get along with each other much better than a male and a female as a pair in both pets.
Males can be pushy towards the females, even if the males are neutered.
If you have your heart set on rabbits and guinea pigs, you can have a pair of both, just as long as they have separate enclosures and habitats that are not very close together, either inside your home or outside in hutches.
Other articles you may also like: