Out of 57 million pets in the UK, 800,000 are rabbits and about 700,000 are guinea pigs. Both animals have taken spots in the top ten most popular pets. Either a rabbit or cavy can be an ideal pet for a family. However, several experts advise against keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together for various reasons:
- They have different nutritional needs.
- They may try to mate with each other and would unintentionally or intentionally injure the other. Usually, rabbits may act aggressively and could hurt the guinea pig’s back with their strong back legs.
- Rabbits carry Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria that can cause respiratory disease in guinea pigs. Thus, they should not be caged together.
- They are not compatible together because they behave and communicate differently.
As such, the world’s hardest decision has to be made if you want both. What should you get? A guinea pig or a rabbit?
Guinea pigs as pets
A guinea pig will certainly fit well in your hand. It is stout, short-legged, and can weigh up to three pounds or 1,360 grams. There are varieties of guinea pigs that differ in colour. Moreover, the American Cavy Breeders Association has recognised thirteen guinea pig breeds.
Further, they are commonly known as ‘cavies’ from their Latin name Cavia porcellus. The guinea pigs are categorised under rodents with an expected lifespan of five to seven years.
Guinea pigs as pets are known to be easy to care of. Are you thinking of getting one? Here are things to consider before bringing one home:
- They need lots of exercise. One should provide them with pipes or small boxes to play with. However, do not provide it with an exercise wheel because it might cause injuries to its back and legs.
- In general, guinea pigs are known to be healthy. Despite that, it is still prone to certain diseases such as dental disease and bladder stones. As such, one should provide it with proper nutrition and regular medical check-ups.
- They have a unique personality. Some are shy and quiet. whilst others are bold and dominant. In choosing one, ensure that you get time to interact with them and then choose your preferred personality.
- Guinea pigs have a variety of adorable vocalisations including a vibrating sound, squealing, rumbling, and teeth chattering. When it chatters its teeth, take it as a sign that your pet is angry or getting aggressive.
- They make a great choice for first-time owners. It is a low-maintenance pet with a hardy nature. It has a long lifespan (4–8 years) and can bond well with owners.
- Guinea pigs engage in ‘popcorning,’ which is a unique behaviour that they do when they’re happy or excited. They jump up over and over or run forward and backwards quickly, whilst others alternately kick their front and back legs.
Rabbits as pets
This is an ideal household pet for people living in a small house or apartment. Rabbits require less space than most pets and can weigh up to two to thirteen pounds. In the US, there are more than sixty rabbit breeds that are registered in various sizes, colours, and ear lengths. Acquiring one entails a long-term commitment as it can live up to eight to twelve years or even longer.
Rabbits are known to make little to no noise. Are you thinking of getting one? Here are some fluffy facts about rabbits:
- Rabbits need lots of exercise. One should provide an enclosed, safe, outdoor environment for hopping. There are others that can be trained to be walked with a collar and leash.
- They may be generally quiet but they also have a distinct personality. Some are playful and others are more reserved. Choose a rabbit personality that suits yours by having enough interaction with them before acquiring one.
- Bunnies are able to recognise their owners by voice and sight. When called, it can respond well and come to you.
- With their eye position, rabbits have almost 360-degree vision. The only blind spot they have is in front of their nose.
- Indoor rabbits thrive longer when duly given with proper nutrition and needs.
- Bunnies can be trained. It can be trained not only in using a litter tray but also to run through a bunny obstacle course. This can be achieved with positive reinforcement training by rewarding special treats after every successful execution.
Similarities between guinea pigs and rabbits as pets
- Guinea pigs and rabbits are best kept indoors. Guinea pigs are not ideal for outdoors because they cannot thrive well in colder temperatures, whilst rabbits are prone to overheating and frostbite when kept outdoors.
- Both pets prefer to be kept in a dry and warm compartment, free from any debris.
- Both have an interest in chewing things, which helps keep their teeth in good condition.
- Guinea pigs and rabbits should be provided with good quality hay and other necessary fibre. To prevent digestive and dental problems, both of their diets should not have too much sugar, calcium, or fat. Moreover, fresh, clean water should always be available.
- Both are lovely pets that will form strong bonds with owners.
Difference between guinea pigs and rabbits as pets
- The most notable feature between the two is their size. Guinea pigs are a lot smaller than rabbits, except the tiny rabbit breeds. With that, provide a safe and warm compartment appropriate to their size.
- Another difference is how you handle them. Know that guinea pigs are a little more fragile than rabbits.
- It is important to know the particular nutritional needs that will suit each type of pet.
- Activities: Rabbits enjoy jumping long heights and burrowing, whereas the cavies will not engage in such activities. As such, when keeping rabbits, it is advisable to have a wire roof and wire on the ground to prevent any means of escape.
- In terms of longevity, which one lives longer: a rabbit or a guinea pig? Rabbits tend to live a bit longer, with an average of eight to twelve years. Whilst the guinea pigs can live for about four to eight years.
In conclusion, both rabbits and guinea pigs can make a lovely pet. Click here to learn how to take care of a rabbit and here to learn what vegetables your guinea pig can eat.