Guinea pigs and bunnies have some things in common, but they are two different species. There are circumstances where they can get along, but you should not try to keep them together in a cage.
When you find a rabbit and a guinea pig that are friends, they have normally grown up together from a very young age, and the rabbit is likely spayed or neutered.
This article will explore the reasons why guinea pigs and bunnies may not get along as well as providing tips on how to help them coexists better.
Do Guinea Pigs and Bunnies Get Along?
Although rabbits and guinea pigs appear to be very similar, they do not always get along. It can be a dangerous situation for the guinea pig because rabbits are much bigger and stronger, and they can hurt them in a fight.
A guinea pig will do best with another guinea pig as a friend. The problem is that as much as these two species are a seemingly similar type of pet, they are very different in terms of their dietary needs, disease susceptibility, communication, and behavior.
Reasons Why Guinea Pigs and Rabbits May Not Get Along
Rabbits and guinea pigs are two different animals, they do not cross breed and they have different needs to survive. Here are some of the reasons why rabbits and guinea pigs may not get along:
They Communicate Differently
One reason guinea pigs and bunnies don’t get along is that they have different ways of communicating. Rabbits thump, grunt, and honk, while guinea pigs squeak, teeth chatter, and wheek.
Because they communicate different, the rabbit won’t understand the guinea pig and the guinea pig won’t understand the rabbit. This makes it difficult for them to live together and understand each other.
Strength and Size:
Rabbits can be docile, but when they play, but they often hop around the cage and kick their powerful hind legs. They are much stronger and larger than guinea pigs and can inadvertently hurt them even if they don’t intend to.
Guinea Pigs are smaller and play in a much calmer manner than rabbits. Guinea pigs also are easily stressed by loud noises and commotion, so things rabbits do naturally can cause guinea pigs stress.
They Enjoy A Different Lifestyle:
Rabbits like to burrow and aren’t bothered by a little noise or even music. Whereas guinea pigs typically enjoy a quieter environment, guinea pigs may like soft soothing music, but typically wouldn’t do well in a louder household.
Rabbits spend a lot of their day relaxing; they are most active at dusk and at dawn. Where guinea pigs are more active during the daytime, and they generally don’t sleep as much as rabbits overall.
Guinea pigs also thrive best under a daily routine, i.e. certain times for meals, exercise, playing etc. Although rabbits can also do well with a routine, this routine will look a little different since rabbits enjoy resting most of the day light house.
Rabbits like to spend time close to each other and they even groom each other on a regular basis. Guinea pigs do not groom each other, and although they can like to company of another guinea pig, they don’t always have to be cuddled up together.
Rabbits can be territorial, and they mark their items and define their territory with their scent. Although some guinea pigs can be territorial, because the rabbit is larger and stronger the rabbit being territorial is more of an issue.
So, if a guinea pig and rabbit live together, and can’t communicate, the rabbit will get territorial if the guinea pig is in what they see as their space. This can lead to obvious problems for the guinea pig when the rabbit tries to protect what it sees as its territory.
Rabbits and guinea pigs eat some of the same things, but their bodies function differently, and thus need a slightly different diet.
Guinea pigs do not naturally make vitamin C but rabbits do. Accordingly, guinea pigs need a diet higher in Vitamin C then rabbits do, so feeding a rabbit the same diet as a guinea pig could lead to the rabbit getting too much Vitamin C.
Conversely, if a guinea pig eats the same diet as a rabbit, they won’t get enough Vitamin C for their body’s needs.
They Carry Different Bacteria:
Rabbits and guinea pigs generate different bacteria as well. Rabbits carry bacteria that can be very harmful to guinea pigs because it can cause them a respiratory infection. Rabbits may not have any problems with the bacteria, but guinea pigs are more sensitive and the introduction of different bacteria can be fatal to them.
Tips for Helping a Guinea Pig and a Rabbit Get Along
In spite of their differences and the general thought that rabbits and guinea pigs don’t get along, there are situations where people find that they do. This will depend on specific circumstances related to the personalities of the individual animals.
Spaying/ Neutering the Rabbit
The first thing you can do is make sure that your rabbit is spayed or neutered. This procedure makes a world of difference in rabbit behavior. Most rabbits are less territorial after neutering and are less prone to fighting.
Introducing Them When they are Young
If you introduce the rabbit and the guinea pig when they are very young, there is a better chance that they will be able to get along. They will grow up knowing each other, and they will learn to find a way to communicate. Also since they will have grown up together, they are more likely to consider each other family, and less likely to be territorial.
This may not work in all cases, but it is definitely better to try introducing them as young as possible, older rabbits and guinea pigs are less likely to get along.
Introduce them from Behind Mesh
If you are going to try and introduce these two animals is best to create an area that is divided by a mesh wire. This allows them to see, smell, and interact with each other, but it still keeps the guinea pig safe. They might sniff each other and even lay on opposite sides of the barrier, but you will not need to worry that the rabbit will kick or attack the guinea pig.
Provide the Guinea Pig with Hiding Spots:
You should also make sure that your guinea pig has quick access to a hiding spot so that it can escape the rabbit if it becomes too rambunctious. This will help to allow your guinea pig to feel safe.
Can you Keep a Rabbit and Guinea Pig in the Same Cage?
The best thing to do if you have both a guinea pig and a bunny is to keep them in separate cages. Some people want to house them together, but that is really not the safest or most comfortable option for either animal because they have different dietary needs, ways of communication, and carry different bacteria.
You will find that both animals will be happier, healthier, and live longer either living with another animal of their own species or living in a cage by themselves.
Both rabbits and guinea pigs make wonderful pets for people, and for younger children. However, they are very different from each other, and usually don’t get along.
If you are going to get both a rabbit and a guinea pig keep them separately to ensure they both can live the type of lifestyle suitable to their needs. You can also get two rabbits or two guinea pigs instead of a rabbit and a guinea pig if you want to house them in the same cage.