People often choose rabbits and guinea pigs over cats and dogs because they are both small and cute. They are very different from one another, but they do share many traits. Before you choose which of these two types of pets to bring into your home, you should think about how to care for each one properly.
Most of the time, rabbits like people more and need a lot more room. Guinea pigs are calmer and less likely to act out when they have at least one partner. They are both animals that eat plants and need a lot of time to play and exercise.
Rabbits and guinea pigs are not the low-maintenance pets that most people think they will be when they bring them home. Before making your choice, you should learn about how both types of pets usually act and how much care they need. This way, you can pick the pet that fits your life better.
Rabbit care compared to guinea pig care
Most people think that rabbits and guinea pigs are the same kind of animal, so they think that they need the same care and behavior. It’s true that rabbits and guinea pigs do share a lot. There are, however, some clear differences between them that can help you choose the best pet for you.
The similarities between rabbits and guinea pigs
Taking care of rabbits and guinea pigs is pretty much the same. It is thought that both kinds eat plants, behave similarly, and are very social. Taking care of a rabbit takes about the same amount of time as caring for a guinea pig.
1. The rabbit and the guinea pig are both small animals that hunt.
Rabbits and guinea pigs are usually much more scared than other common house pets because they are small prey animals. Until they know you better, they will want to hide and run away to avoid getting caught. It is possible to become close with either of these species, but it will take a long time to earn their trust.
2. Rabbits and guinea pigs need special food.
Both rabbits and guinea pigs have sensitive stomachs. If they want to stay healthy over time, they need to stick to a very specific diet. The exact amounts of food that rabbits and guinea pigs need will be different, but they both need to be able to get hay (like timothy hay) and a variety of fresh leafy veggies every day.
3. Rabbits and guinea pigs need to see a certain kind of vet.
Bring your rabbit or guinea pig to a different vet from your cat or dog. They should instead go to a vet who specializes in and has experience working with small animals. This kind of vet is usually known as a small animal vet or an unusual animal vet.
If you want to find a doctor near you, I suggest you look at the House Rabbit Society’s vet listing page. In your state, you can find vets who are good with small animals. For people in the UK, The Rabbit Welfare Association has a list of vets that you can use.
4. Rabbits and guinea pigs act in similar ways.
Rabbits and guinea pigs don’t act the same way. But there are a lot of ways in which the two are the same. One thing they both do when they’re happy is a cute hop. This is known as “popcorning” for guinea pigs and “binkying” for rabbits.
You’ll also notice that they act a lot alike when they are shy, like when they cautiously approach new things and sniff them. It’s easier to understand rabbits than guinea pigs because their ears are bigger and show more feeling than guinea pigs’ ears do. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, make more noise, and their squeaks can often tell you how they feel.
5. Rabbits and guinea pigs need to play and exercise every day.
One should never leave a rabbit or guinea pig in a cage all day. The dogs need to be able to run around and play in a big space. Also, both of them need to be around other people every day and a lot of attention in general to be happy.
6. You shouldn’t touch rabbits and guinea pigs.
Rabbits and guinea pigs don’t like being held most of the time. This isn’t what most people think because they think small animals are soft and easy to pick up. The two of them would both rather you talk to them when all fours are on the ground.
7. Rabbits and guinea pigs should live inside.
Rats and rabbits used to live outside in hutches. But over the last few decades, we’ve learned that keeping rabbits as pets inside is safer and better for their health. In the same way, guinea pigs should be kept inside to protect them from threats and bad weather outside.
8. Rabbits and guinea pigs are weak pets
When you handle rabbits and guinea pigs, be much more gentle than when you handle cats and dogs. Should they be held incorrectly, they might get hurt and break bones by mistake. If you touch them too roughly, they can even become paralyzed in the worst cases.
9. Rabbits and guinea pigs live in groups.
Rabbits and guinea pigs are both social animals that live in groups. They do best as pets when they can live with another animal of the same species. What if you can’t do that? You’ll have to give your pet a lot of extra attention to make sure they meet as many people as possible.
10. Neither is a good pet for little kids.
Giving either type of pet to a child is not a good idea because they are fragile and need special care. If you have kids, make sure that an adult is in charge of your new pet’s care and that any exchanges between the pet and kids are closely watched to avoid any harm.
The differences between rabbits and guinea pigs
Guinea pigs and rabbits have a lot in common, but they also need very different care, which you should think about before choosing which pet is best for you. It’s important to think about how much room you can give your pet and not expect them to be spotless all the time.
1. Rabbits live longer than other pets.
Guinea pigs and rabbits both live longer than you might think, but they are not the same. Most rabbits live between 8 and 10 years, but this depends on the breed. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, usually live between 5 and 7 years. For both dogs and cats, you should make sure you can take care of your new pet for many years. For rabbits, it takes a little longer.
2. Rabbits tend to be quiet
Actually, rabbits can make a lot of different sounds, but they are so soft that you won’t even be able to hear them. Most of the time, rabbits talk with their bodies, which makes them very quiet pets.
When they are happy or sad, guinea pigs can make different squeaks and trills. They’ll squeak happily when they’re pleased and sing nervously when they are scared. Your guinea pig might be very loud, depending on how it’s feeling.
3. Rabbits are bigger than piglets
A lot of people don’t know how big rabbits can get. When they are fully grown, most rabbit types weigh between 5 and 6 pounds, but even a dwarf rabbit can get to 3 or 4 pounds. There are rabbit breeds that are so big they can weigh 10 pounds or more!
Guinea pigs, on the other hand, are much smaller. The normal guinea pig weighs between 1 and 3 pounds, but most of the ones I work with at the animal shelter are only 1 or 2 pounds.
4. Rabbits need more room
Also, rabbits need a lot more room than guinea pigs because they are bigger. I suggest you use an ex-pen instead of a cage because they need a very big enclosure. They also need a whole room to exercise every day. And guinea pigs need more room than most people think. A good-sized cage for a rabbit would usually work for a guinea pig’s exercise area.
5. A rabbit is easier to train to use the bathroom outside.
It’s not impossible to teach a guinea pig to use the litter box, but they don’t learn nearly as quickly as rabbits do, and some will never be taught. While rabbits aren’t as easy to litter train as cats, most can learn to use their box with a little extra help. This is especially true if they have already been fixed or neutered.
6. Getting a rabbit used to people is easy.
Both rabbits and guinea pigs are generally shy animals, but rabbits are more likely to be friendly. It takes a lot more time and work to get a guinea pig to trust you than it does a rabbit. I work at an animal rescue where I interact with both types of animals. Rabbits usually start to trust me after one or two socialization lessons. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, may need a few weeks before they feel safe enough to come out of hiding.
7. Guinea pigs bite people
There’s no doubt that guinea pigs eat more than rabbits. Whenever they see your finger, they’ll try to bite it to see if it’s food. It’s not a dangerous or mean bite, but it can pinch a little. Most bunnies, on the other hand, will sniff your finger to see if it’s food. A few rabbits will bite on fingers, but most of them won’t.
When would be the best time to get a rabbit?
There are better pets for people who want peace and lots of space. They can also live with you instead of in a box, just like cats and dogs. Because of this, they make great pets for people who want a friend.
Before you get a rabbit, here are some things to think about:
- Rabbits can be free roam. They can go where they want. Once they know how to go to the bathroom outside, you can let them roam the house and spend more time with you since they don’t need to be in a box.
- You can rabbit-proof your home. Rabbits won’t be able to get into your house. Rats and mice like to chew on cords, furniture, and floors. You’ll need to rabbit-proof your house to keep your new bunny out of trouble.
- You want a companion pet. They get along better with people and other animals. Can’t get a cat or dog? A rabbit is a great pet for people who want a friend.
- You want a quiet pet. Rabbits only make a lot of noise when they are scared. Besides that, they make very quiet pets.
- You like a cooler home. It’s nice for rabbits when it’s cooler than 60ºF. You don’t have to, but rabbits will be happy if you keep their home cool.
When would be the best time to get a guinea pig?
Guinea pigs are good pets for people who don’t have a lot of space but still want a nice animal. They can become a friendly and liked family member if you give them time.
Here are some things to think about before you get a guinea pig:
- If your home is small. You only need to give your guinea pig a place to live. You don’t have to make the whole apartment or room safe for it.
- You want a nice pet. Fear not, if your guinea pig gets defensive, it won’t bite you. They don’t get mad very often.
- There shouldn’t be fur everywhere. Rabbits shed more than guinea pigs do. If you don’t want fur on everything, guinea pigs might be a better pick.
- You need to get some. It’s much more likely to see a guinea pig with a friend at an animal shelter than a rabbit. This means you won’t have to get close to a second pig, which can be bad.
Can you keep them both as pets?
Rats and guinea pigs used to live together more often. Because neutering rabbits used to be more dangerous, they were often paired with guinea pigs instead of other rabbits. But these days, people don’t do that, and you shouldn’t either.
It’s easier to find a rabbit of the same type to keep as a pet now that they can be spayed or neutered more often. Being protective is another thing to think about. The rabbits would sometimes hurt and attack the guinea pigs.
Why you shouldn’t have rabbits or guinea pigs as pets:
- Because they need different amounts of nutrients, they should eat each other’s food.
- Your rabbit could hurt your guinea pig on purpose or by mistake.
- Quail can give guinea pigs some diseases.
- Because of this, rabbits and guinea pigs will find it hard to talk to each other since their body language is so different.
Is it okay to have controlled playtime?
See how your rabbit and guinea pig behave when there is a fence between them. Then I would let them play together. Rabbits can be mean, and you don’t want to put yourself in danger of getting hurt. If your rabbit is sick or has had snuffles in the past, keep it away from the guinea pig. The guinea pig can get sick from the rabbit, and it generally gets worse in guinea pigs.