Is it possible to keep rabbits and guinea pigs together?
Rabbits and guinea pigs are very social animals that should definitely be kept in groups.
But can you mix these groups?
In this article we tell you whether you can keep guinea pigs together with rabbits and if so, what you should pay attention to.
Can guinea pigs and rabbits live together?
Cohabitation of rabbits and guinea pigs is not recommended for various reasons, because the animals usually do not get along and have different requirements for their keeping.
This increases the risk of injuries.
But why should guinea pigs and rabbits be kept together at all?
There can be numerous reasons for this:
prevent unwanted offspring
There are also cases when, for example, one family member prefers rabbits and another family member prefers guinea pigs.
In addition, there is a myth that has persisted for a very long time….
This myth states that guinea pigs deter rats and thus protect rabbits kept outdoors.
However, this is not true.
Because of the food and the animals themselves, rats are attracted as well as martens and other omnivores or predators. Therefore, protection is provided only by an appropriate enclosure, which is secured and roofed to the outside, even under the floor.
Let’s now look at the said reasons for keeping them together….
Avoid loneliness and prevent unwanted offspring
Guinea pigs and rabbits were often kept together in the past, because it means that the animals are not alone.
Neutering the small rabbits was considered unsafe. So it was a seemingly good choice to socialize a rabbit with a guinea pig to avoid unwanted offspring.
In the meantime, however, neutering is safe for them as well, so that the minor surgical procedure can be performed without any problems. This eliminates this reason for keeping the different species together.
Overall, neutering is recommended especially for males and very dominant animals. This is because rabbits mark their territory with urine.
Another reason for keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together can be the available space.
Initially, it also seems reasonable, for example, with the free-range, to keep the animals together. In this way, the enclosure can be used by rabbits and guinea pigs at the same time.
The same applies to the cage.
But here you must remember that the species of animals have different requirements for keeping. This makes it necessary to arrange the area in different ways. This in turn limits the floor space. The animals can no longer move as freely and the supposed advantage is no longer given.
It is therefore better to provide separate areas or to allow alternating use.
Risks of keeping guinea pigs and rabbits together.
Risk of injury and stress
The difference in size and weight between rabbits and guinea pigs can be a problem. Rabbits tend to be larger and heavier.
This means that even one wrong kick or jump can injure the guinea pig.
If this affects the spine, it can be fatal. This risk also exists in the case of a fracture elsewhere.
There is also stress already due to the size difference.
Both the guinea pig and the rabbit may feel threatened. The stress results in a negative impact on health.
Guinea pigs can contract various diseases from rabbits that do not necessarily cause problems for the rabbits themselves.
So, from a health perspective, the risk to the guinea pigs is not only increased by possible injuries.
Although the keeping of rabbits and guinea pigs seems to be almost the same, differences can be found in feeding, among other things.
Guinea pigs, for example, just like humans, cannot produce vitamin C themselves in the body. They must take in the micronutrient daily through food.
In addition, they require a different composition in their food than is necessary for rabbits.
Some experts therefore advise feeding the animals separately. However, since both rabbits and guinea pigs have stuffed stomachs, they must consume numerous small meals throughout the day.
Therefore, feeding them separately all the time is hardly possible, or at least not practical.
You can rarely make sure that the rabbit does not nibble at the guinea pig’s meals from time to time or vice versa.
This in turn can lead to aggression and conflict.
Even if guinea pigs and rabbits seem similar in their behavior at first, they have a fundamentally different communication.
They can only warn each other poorly or not at all and have little in common.
Misunderstandings are therefore inevitable.
This only keeps the loneliness away from the rodents to a limited extent. In addition, signals can be misinterpreted, which in turn creates conflicts.
Rabbits and guinea pigs need exercise. However, they also need protection and rest. Appropriate sleeping areas and retreats are therefore a mandatory requirement for both animals.
Please design them in such a way that the rabbit cannot enter the guinea pig’s sleeping house.
However, keep in mind that the guinea pig can come to the rabbit and disturb it at any time. There is no solution to this except to separate the animals completely and socialize them with conspecifics.
Important tips for living together
If a guinea pig and a rabbit already live together for a long time and have no conflicts with each other, you should not separate them directly. This could also harm them.
It is better to give each animal more space and to check the housing conditions very carefully.
Does one of them always get the short end of the stick at feeding time?
Is one of the animals particularly stressed?
If they are young rodents, you can easily consider socializing them with other rodents.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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