Keeping Guinea Pigs and Rabbits Together
However, the common practice of keeping a rabbit and a guinea pig together for company is not ideal – for a number of reasons. It’s likely that the habit of keeping the two together came about because there used to be some issues about the safety of neutering rabbits. So rather than keep them on their own, guinea pigs were used as company.
But guinea pigs certainly got the raw end of the deal in this situation, and now that neutering is more common, it’s far better to keep animals with company of their own kind.
As well as that, the following are reasons why rabbits don’t make good housemates for our beloved guinea pigs:
- Rabbits are far bigger and more powerful than guinea pigs. With their strong back legs, a kick from a rabbit can prove extremely damaging, even fatal. A rabbit might not intentionally kick out at a piggie, but whether they mean it or not, one kick can be disastrous.
- Rabbits carry the bacteria, Bordetalla bronchisetica – a common cause of respiratory disease that guinea pigs are extremely susceptible to. This, along with the risk of kicks is the two strongest reasons why the two different species shouldn’t be kept together.
There are a few other reasons why guinea pigs draw the short straw if they’re kept with rabbits.
- The behavior of the two different animals is rather different. They communicate in different ways and act differently. This means that they don’t really understand each other, and this can lead to a rabbit bullying a smaller guinea pig. And this in turn causes unnecessary stress to the pig.
- They both have rather different needs in their diet. Sure, they both eat unlimited hay, along with fresh vegetables. But guinea pigs need to have vitamin C on a daily basis, whereas rabbits don’t. Whether you feed this by adding vitamin C to their food, through pellets or in any other way, rabbits don’t need it.
- A rabbit can injure a guinea pig during play or bullying by biting him on the back of the neck.
As you can see, there are rather a lot of reasons why the two don’t make the best of companions. Of course, there’s always the exception to any rule – you only need look at many of the weird and wonderful playmates that are posted all over the internet to see that. But the evidence against keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together is pretty overwhelming, and if possible should be avoided, for the sake of our gorgeous little guinea pigs.
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