Why are rabbits and guinea pigs not good companions?

Rabbit with guinea pigsI’ve done it, as have many people.  Historically, it was very common for people to keep rabbits and guinea pigs together.  However, we now know that this is not good for either animal, particularly for the guinea pigs.

Previously, when it was uncommon to neuter rabbits, guinea pigs were seen as good companions as they eat similar food and there was no risk of unwanted pregnancies.  They are, however, many reasons why this combination of animals is not suitable:

  1. They have different dietary requirements – guinea pigs need additional vitamin C in their diet which can be obtained from fresh food and nuggets, rabbits need a much higher proportion of long fibre such as hay and grass.
  2. They have different behaviours – being different species rabbits and guinea pigs communicate in different ways so they do not necessarily understand one another
  3. Black rabbit and beige rabbit sitting in orange tunnelRabbits can cause severe injuries to guinea pigs – with their long, strong back feet, rabbits can inflict severe injuries on guinea pigs, either deliberately or accidentally
  4. Rabbits can transmit a fatal disease to guinea pigs – rabbits can carry a bacteria which may not cause them any problems but can be fatal to guinea pigs

Rabbits need the company of other rabbits.  Now that neutering is easily available, this is the best way to prevent unwanted litters.  A neutered male-female pair is generally considered the best option.

Guinea pigs need the company of other guinea pigs.  Neutering is also available for this species, although more commonly only done of the male at the moment.  Again, a neutered male-female pair, or two females housed together is recommended.

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