People tend to think that rabbits and guinea pigs can live together since they have similar lifestyles, and both eat hay and vegetables, but that’s not true. A rabbit’s best companion is a rabbit and likewise a guinea pig. Pairing them together can be disastrous as they’re incompatible in a variety of ways and here are some:
1. Dietary needs
Although both animals are herbivores, they need different foods to meet their dietary needs. For example, rabbits can synthesize Vitamin C and so require little Vitamin C (and other vitamins) or may become ill. Guinea pigs are the opposite as they need a diet rich in Vitamin C or else they might develop symptoms like restlessness diarrhea, hair loss, and even internal bleeding, which may lead to death. If you keep them together, it can be difficult to know which animal has eaten what.
Rabbits and guinea pigs don’t communicate in the same way. Unlike rabbits that communicate with body language, most piggy owners know that guinea pigs are vocal and do squeak a lot. As a result, both animals might be unable to relate properly since guinea pigs might not know the message a rabbit is communicating when they are held in different positions. Additionally, two rabbits might cuddle up a lot, but guinea pigs don’t snuggle up, and this might lead to loneliness and frustration.
Rabbits and guinea pigs might have a similar appearance, but their behaviors are very different. Since rabbits have very large powerful legs, they can easily hurt or kill a guinea pig by jumping over them or kicking out. Another behavior common to rabbits is their inclination to mate with anything, even guinea pigs, which can get the back of a guinea pig to broken during the attempted mating.
4. Space and exercise needs
While rabbits require space to be fast and free, guinea pigs have little legs and might be unable to cope with sharing a hutch with a rabbit. A rabbit can unintentionally cause severe damage to a guinea pig that’s unlucky to be in their way when they hop, run and jump.
While both animals can carry the same diseases and transfer them to each other, some instances can be fatal. For example, rabbits can carry bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is harmless to them but potentially fatal in guinea pigs.
6. Temperature difference
Lastly, both animals don’t do well in certain weather conditions, and it might affect one of them if they’re paired together. For example, guinea pigs don’t do too well in winter while rabbits can thrive comfortably. On the other hand, rabbits are at risk of heatstroke in the warmer temperatures while guinea pigs can tolerate warm weather conditions.
Contrary to popular notion, putting a rabbit and guinea pig is not a companionship made in heaven as it can turn awfully bad. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep them in the same household but keep them separate and pair them with the company of their own kind.