I often think about how having a partner makes everything better, and it’s not just for us. Social animals, like guinea pigs and rabbits, also need a good friend to share their days.
You may see some people house guinea pigs and rabbits together, while others recommend against it. These two different perspectives beg the question: Do guinea pigs get along with rabbits?
That’s what we set out to find in this post, so let’s dig in!
Although guinea pigs and rabbits are social animals, they don’t do well as mates in the same pen. That’s because they have different behaviors, needs, and even lifespans.
Let’s explore the top seven reasons why guinea pigs don’t get along with rabbits.
Both pets may look similar, but their behaviors are vastly different.
Although guinea pigs prefer living in groups, they’re nowhere as extroverted as rabbits.
While rabbits will like nothing more than to show affection by grooming their pen-mates, guinea pigs don’t do it as much. Over time, you’ll have two agitated little pets on your hands.
It can be quite the challenge bridging the differences in language and social cues, and it’s the same for the two furry pets.
Guinea pigs communicate more through verbal cues. For example, they wheek when excited, purr when comfortable, or shriek when scared.
While rabbits also voice their feelings, they rely more on body language. You may often see them thump, grind their teeth, or lick their mouths to express different emotions.
More often than not, what might make sense for rabbits won’t cut it with guinea pigs and vice versa.
In fact, when guinea pigs chatter their teeth, it’s usually a sign of stress or aggression, but grinding in bunnies can reflect complacency!
If you leave guinea pigs and rabbits in one enclosure, chances are, they’ve got one feeding area. That means they’ll eat the same food, regardless if it’s good for their health.
Although both animals love to feed on hay and pellets, I won’t recommend letting them swap meals.
Store-bought pellets for each pet contain a different nutritional balance. For one, rabbit food has more fiber, while guinea pig food has more protein and vitamin C.
When bunnies eat a guinea pig’s diet, they might be at risk of kidney damage due to the excess vitamin C content. If the opposite happens, the guinea pig could end up malnourished.
We know that bullies use their size to intimidate weaker mates. As it happens, rabbits are larger and more hostile than guinea pigs.
Meal time, mating sessions, and even playtime could all turn into a hectic mess before you know it.
That’s because rabbits won’t shy away from fighting over a bowl or trying to mate with a cavy. Plus, a bunny’s frolic might come off as a sign of aggression to the timid guinea pig.
In some cases, you’ll even see the poor cavies isolating and trying to hide constantly.
Speaking of hiding spaces, those are challenging when you’re trying to figure out the logistics in a shared housing pen.
Although both pets enjoy large open areas, rabbits need way more space. Ideally, a pen should have at least 12 square feet, but guinea pigs could settle for 9 square feet.
However, that’s not the hardest part.
Cavies benefit from having hidden spaces and interactive mazes in their playpens. The real trouble starts when over-curious rabbits try to fit themselves in these tiny holes and get stuck.
Whenever you hear someone against shared housing, odds are, they’ll mention Bordetella bronchiseptica.
Without digging too much into the medical jargon, Bordetella is a bacterial infection that can be very serious in guinea pigs, with complications ranging from respiratory distress to fertility issues.
The tricky part is that rabbits don’t really show any major symptoms when they catch the diseases. So, you might mistakenly let them socialize with the cavies and pass on the infection.
On the off chance that a rabbit and a guinea pig might get along well, the life expectancy gap will still loom over the pen.
Most likely, the bunny will outlive his friend, and he could spiral into a depressive episode.
It would be a wild generalization to say that guinea pigs and rabbits never get along because sometimes they do. It’s mostly a rare occurrence, but some people get lucky with their pet situation.
The cases that I’ve seen where shared housing worked usually met these requirements:
When you introduce guinea pigs and rabbits at a young age, it creates a strong bond that could survive the difference in behaviors and needs.
Neutered rabbits are less likely to show aggressive behaviors, so the bullying and unintentional injuries to guinea pigs could drop down a notch if you fix your bunnies.
Although pet temperament plays a huge role, it’s still crucial to be able to care for each little furry friend you’re raising at home.
You’ll have to work out the feeding setup, adjust the playpen layout, and even know when it’s better to separate the pair for a while.
So, do guinea pigs get along with rabbits?
While it’s not impossible, I wouldn’t recommend co-housing the two furry pets since they have different needs and lifestyles.
If you want a suitable buddy for your rabbit or guinea pig, there’s nothing better than to pair them with one of their kind.
Guinea pigs generally don’t get along well with other animals. So, the best choice you can make is to pair your guinea pig with another guinea pig.
Rabbits can get along well with other rabbits, cats, or dogs. However, there are some precautions you’ll need to take if you pair a rabbit with another animal.
For example, adult cats aren’t the best fit for baby rabbits, and larger breeds of dogs pose more danger.