With striking similarities between rabbits and guinea pigs, it is only natural to assume that the two pets could be kept together in the same structure. In fact, rabbits and guinea pigs have commonly been housed together by pet owners across Ireland for a lot of years. However, the UK RSPCA actually advises against housing bunnies and guinea pigs together and there are a few good reasons why these two pets are not really safe housemates.
Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Have Differing Dietary Needs
There are some foods that a rabbit and guinea pig can share, but there are many that they cannot because a guinea pig’s and rabbit’s diet have their own specific requirements. For example, guinea pigs need a substantial amount of vitamin C in their diet, while rabbits cannot handle large amounts of vitamin C. Because of these differences, having the two in the same enclosure could cause health problems for one or the other because they will have access to each other’s food.
Rabbits Are Substantially Stronger than Guinea Pigs
Even though both rabbits and guinea pigs can seem fairly docile, they can both be aggressive in some situations. Because the size of a rabbit is quite a bit larger than a guinea pig, the rabbit can be the bully of the two and cause the guinea pig some pretty severe injuries. Plus, living with a rabbit can be stressful for a guinea pig because they cannot easily get away from them and may even find it hard to get enough food or water. One kick from the powerful legs of your bunny and your guinea pig could be in extreme danger.
Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Communicate in Different Ways
Rabbits and guinea pigs do seem like related creatures and you may even spot them doing some of the same things, such as gnawing on a toy for entertainment or burrowing into their bedding. However, regardless of their similarities, these two pets actually have totally different communication traits. Therefore, something as simple as a guinea pig’s screech, for example, could be mistaken as an aggressive behaviour by a bunny.
What should you do if you already have a guinea pig and bunny housed together?
While it is best for these two animals to have their own separate living quarters and hutches, if you have two that have always been together without problems, it can be stressful to pull them apart abruptly. Even though the two animals are much different, they can get accustomed to one another’s presence and become anxious, depressed, or agitated when their hutch mate disappears, so keeping them together can make more sense. Just make sure you:
- Monitor the diet of both animals and feed them separately if necessary.
- Have the bunny spayed or neutered to reduce aggressive behaviour and prevent the bunny from trying to mount the guinea pig.
- Provide plenty hiding spaces for the guinea pig that the rabbit cannot fit into.
While keeping guinea pigs and rabbits together in the same hutch or enclosure seems to be a popular thing to do, it is not the best option for the health of either animal. So if you plan to bring both types of pets home, keep them separated from the beginning. To find the supplies you need to house your bunny or guinea pig, check out our available hutch supply kits on Rabbits.ie