Can Guinea Pigs Live with Rabbits?

Not The Odd Couple

Though we all know that opposites attract, it doesn’t really work between a rodent and a lagomorph — that is to say, your guinea pig and your rabbit. We find that these two pals just aren’t as compatible as we’d all love for them to be.

And that’s a bummer. Let’s just be honest about that. Guinea pigs and rabbits look adorable when they cuddle, they seem to share a lot of the same interests, and it’s nice to let them have company. Right? You might think, can guinea pigs and rabbits live together? Nope! Let’s take a look at all the perils you’re putting your pets in if you let these guys inhabit the same cage.

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What could go wrong?

The biggest concern is the guinea pig getting injured. While rabbits have been known to fall victim to their peaceful rabbit pals, it’s more often the guinea pig that gets the sour end of the carrot. Rabbits kick, binky, and run around the cage in a much more vigorous manner than guinea pigs do.

This means that your guinea pig stands the risk of getting run over by the rabbit, kicked, bitten, or otherwise injured. 

Most rabbits are quite a bit larger than your average guinea pig as well. Though the size difference isn’t much to our eye, it can mean the difference between life and death to your guinea pig.

A kick can easily break the back or neck of a guinea pig. 

At that point, there’s little that you can do other than say goodbye and try not to blame your bunny.

But my rabbit would never!

Trust us, we’re not going after rabbits here. Though this is the guinea pig zone, we love bunnies just as much as you do. 

Rabbits make incredible, personable pets that are easy to train and wonderful to own. They’re just not the best buddy that your guinea pig needs.

 In fact, most cage accidents with rabbit/guinea pig pairs are complete accidents. The rabbit becomes excited and hops past the guinea pig just as the guinea pig moves into the perfect area to get kicked. 

The rabbit overgrooms the guinea pig and suddenly there are little nibbles on the guinea pig’s ears.

This isn’t the rabbit’s fault. They’re rabbits and they’re fantastic pets. But they can’t understand why their guinea pig buddy can’t keep up or deal with the same things they deal with. 

Bigger, stronger, and better able to defend themselves, rabbits are better left to other rabbits of similar size.

Dining etiquette 

And it isn’t just the potential of injury. 

uinea pigs and rabbits are both herbivores, but their diet is somewhat different. Rabbits can become diabetic or develop kidney problems from sweet fruits and vegetables far faster than guinea pigs will. 

Rabbits need a much greater ratio of alfalfa to the rest of their food than guinea pigs do. 

Not to mention, rabbit food lacks the vitamin-C that guinea pigs need.

Most male guinea pigs should be fed timothy or grass hay instead of alfalfa due to the possibility of bladder stones. 

Most male rabbits never have to worry about this issue. 

From guinea pig pellet vitamin differences to rabbit pellet size difference, you’ll see that these two opposites couldn’t be further from a comfortable relationship together.

Maybe they can still play?

It’s possible for a rabbit and a guinea pig to form a friendship, especially if they’re the only two likewise pets in the household. 

While we still strongly recommend getting a guinea pig friend for your guinea pig and a rabbit friend for your rabbit, it may be possible to let these pets play together.

The conditions under which we would feel safe allowing a guinea pig and a rabbit to play and visit are varied. 

It depends largely on the size of each animal. A dozen times their cage size is a necessity and this is likely difficult for many pet owners to manage. We’re talking about over a hundred square feet. That’s larger than some bedrooms.

However, if you have a yard and a very large area where the guinea pig and rabbit can graze together, it’s possible that you can allow them some cohabitation time. 

Make sure the area is covered to prevent any swooping or climbing animals from hurting your precious prey pets. Drive stakes around the pen to keep the rabbit inside, or better yet, cover the bottom with a heavy 1″x1″ mesh that keeps your bunny where it belongs.

Still, even if you follow these guidelines, you must remain on guard the entire time they are together. 

Stay out and watch them. Be ready to jump in if either pet isn’t happy. It is much easier to manage these perfect pets in groups with their own species, so that’s what we recommend.

Wrapping it up

Although there is a potential for some well-supervised play time, rabbits and guinea pigs really should not live together or be caged together. From physicality differences to different food and nutrient needs, they’re really not cage buddies. If you would like a friend for your guinea pig, start with another same-sex guinea pig. Similarly, if you would like a friend for your rabbit, start with another rabbit. Rabbits and guinea pigs are both social animals but stick to the same animal when making additions.

References

Pets on Mom.com – Can feeding a guinea pig rabbit food make it sick?

Small Animal Select – Can guinea pigs eat rabbit pellets?