Bunnies and guinea pigs are two of the cutest animals you can own (in my biased opinion)! They’re both small furry pets and appear to eat a similar diet at a glance. So, it’s natural that people wonder if they get along. But they’re not as similar as they may seem!
While it’s possible, I don’t recommend rabbits and guinea pigs living together. This article will cover the reasons you shouldn’t house bunnies and guinea pigs together. We’ll also talk about alternative companions for your furry friends.
Can Rabbits And Guinea Pigs Live Together?
Keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together is unsafe. While they might seem similar, the two species have very different behavior, needs, and diets. They can make each other unwell, and housing them together can be dangerous for your guinea pig.
Why Guinea Pigs and Rabbits Shouldn’t Live Together
In the past, it was standard for guinea pigs and rabbits to live in the same hutch or enclosure. They were traditionally kept together because both species are social animals, and neutering wasn’t yet considered a safe practice. As funny as it sounds, people wanted to give their bunnies and pigs a companion without risking unwanted pregnancy. Sort of like a form of birth control!
Thankfully, these days neutering and spaying your pets is standard practice. It’s safe and is better for your pet’s health. There’s no need for the two species to live together. In fact, we now know it’s unsafe for them to be in the same enclosure.
I strongly advise against keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together for the following reasons.
Different Behavior and Communication
We all know that when you live with someone, you need to be able to communicate. The same applies to animals! Rabbits communicate and behave very differently from guinea pigs, so they can’t understand each other. This can lead to stress and fights.
These differences can also make each animal feel lonely. Imagine living in a home with someone you’re trying to talk to, but they don’t know what you’re saying! How frustrating!
Unlike guinea pigs, rabbits tend to play actively and run around a lot, while guinea pigs are more laid back. I owned six guinea pigs (yes, all at the same time) as well as my rabbit. My pigs were happy to chill out in their huts, eat, and occasionally play. On the other hand, my rabbit loved to run, jump, explore, and play a lot (especially when he was younger). It wouldn’t have gone well if they had lived in the same enclosure!
Bunnies also love to cuddle up with their housemates and groom them. Most guinea pigs don’t like this and prefer their own space. Piggies will get distressed and overwhelmed if a rabbit is always chasing them around and trying to groom them.
Different Dietary Needs
Although some parts of a rabbit’s and guinea pig’s diet are similar (they both eat hay and vegetables), there are significant differences. Unlike bunnies, guinea pigs can’t naturally make vitamin C, so you must provide it in their diet. If a rabbit and pig live together, it’s hard to ensure the guinea pig gets the vitamin C it needs.
They also eat different pellets and different amounts of food, which can be hard to regulate if they’re living together.
Rabbits Can Make Guinea Pigs Sick
Guinea pigs can get very sick from a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica.
The bacteria causes a common respiratory disease in piggies which is very serious and can even be fatal.
Rabbits can carry this bacteria and pass it on to guinea pigs if they share the same space.
There Can Be Serious Health Problems
Rabbits are bigger than guinea pigs. Bunnies have strong back legs, and piggies are delicate little creatures. Bunnies can overpower unassuming guinea pigs.
If a rabbit kicks a guinea pig, the bunny could seriously injure its housemate. Even if a rabbit tries to play, it could accidentally hurt its little piggy friend.
Rabbits Can Bully Guinea Pigs
Since rabbits are bigger, guinea pigs can feel very intimidated by a bunny in their space. Rabbits quite often will bully guinea pigs which is incredibly distressing and unfair for the guinea pigs.
I know it’s not nice to think about your rabbit bullying another animal. You might think, “my rabbit is so calm and loving; it wouldn’t do that.” Unfortunately, it’s natural and very common, even with a sweet, friendly rabbit.
Do Rabbits Kill Guinea Pigs?
Sadly, rabbits can kill guinea pigs. Some rabbits might deliberately attack a guinea pig. Even an accidental injury to an animal as small as a guinea pig can be fatal.
Bullying and extreme stress for a guinea pig can cause serious health issues that may result in death. Being unwell can quickly progress for an animal as small as a guinea pig.
Can Guinea Pigs Hurt Rabbits?
In theory, a guinea pig could hurt a rabbit by nipping or scratching at it with its sharp claws and teeth. However, it’s unlikely, given the difference in size and how timid piggies are.
Can Rabbits And Guinea Pigs Play Together?
For the same reasons they shouldn’t live together, the two species shouldn’t be allowed to play together. It could be very stressful for both species, and your guinea pig could get hurt.
Can Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Mate?
Although guinea pigs and rabbits can’t physically mate, that won’t stop a rabbit from trying. Male rabbits, in particular, will hump anything they can get their paws on, especially if they’re not neutered. This includes a guinea pig!
It might sound like an amusing situation, but it’s actually very stressful and dangerous for a guinea pig. Rabbits are heavier than guinea pigs. A fluffy bunny could easily break a guinea pig’s back by mounting and humping it.
What Animals Can Live With Rabbits?
The best companion for a rabbit is another rabbit! Bunnies are very social. If you bond them correctly, they’ll love living with their own kind. Make sure you have enough space for both rabbits.
If you have a male and female rabbit, make sure you get them neutered and spayed to prevent accidental pregnancy.
What Animals Do Guinea Pigs Get Along With?
Guinea pigs are highly social and love living in pairs or groups. A guinea pig’s best companion is another guinea pig. My six piggies lived in two groups of three guinea pigs in each enclosure. One group were brothers and had grown up together. The others were all rescued individually and bonded into a happy group over time.
What If Your Bunny and Guinea Pig Already Live Together?
If your bunny and guinea pig already live together and they’re not getting along, it might be time to separate them.
Ensure you have the space for two separate enclosures and, ideally, the resources to provide a housemate of the same species for both animals.
If your rabbit and guinea pig have been living together for a long time and get along well, it’s probably best not to separate them as it could cause stress. There are some tips below to help you keep your pets safe.
Create a Safe Space for Your Guinea Pig
Provide your guinea pig with as many hiding places as possible. Each hut should be sturdy, with a door big enough for your guinea pig to get through but too small for your rabbit to enter. Give them as much space as possible, so they have room to get away from one another for a break.
Feed Them Separately
Separate your two pets at feeding time and provide their own food bowls so you can ensure they’re both getting the nutrients they need. This also helps to ensure they aren’t stealing each other’s food.
Neuter Your Rabbit
Neutered rabbits are less likely to display negative behavioral habits like aggression, bullying, and the dangerous mounting behavior we discussed earlier.
Rabbits and guinea pigs are very different and shouldn’t be kept together. Both animals will be happier and safer with a friend of their own species. If you must keep them together, ensure you take safety precautions to reduce the risks.
Have you ever owned both rabbits and guinea pigs? Did they live together? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
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