Rabbits and Guinea Pigs: Why They Shouldn't Live Together

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 09 October 2014

You have your chickens happily homed in their beautiful chicken coop in the backyard, the few fish you have are quite at home in the living room, and Oscar the dog is pretty much a part of the family- but you want to expand further and would love a guinea pig and a rabbit (it was too hard to decide between the two!).

They are both such sweet little animals, and seem similar in so many ways, so sharing a hutch would be the obvious thing to do…

While it may seem like a guinea pig and a rabbit would be a match made in heaven when it comes to being roomies, unfortunately this is not always the case, and more often than not housing cavies and bunnies together can spell disaster.

Why is this? There are a number of reasons why guineas and rabbits don’t make the best pair when it comes to living arrangements, which we have listed below.

Some rabbits and guinea pigs can get along, but it's better to keep them apart

1. They have different dietary requirements

Although both of these animals feed on large amounts of hay and fresh veggies, unlike rabbits, guinea pigs are unable to photosynthesise Vitamin C, and so requires an adequate amount of this within their diet, while your floppy eared friend doesn’t.

2. Rabbits can easily harm or hurt a guinea pig

Rabbits are generally quite a bit larger than your standard guinea pig, making them much stronger and more powerful. Whether they mean to or not, rabbits can easily hurt, and even kill a cavy with their powerful legs, kicking them if they are startled, annoyed, frightened, or simply by just bouncing about their enclosure. Some rabbits may also try to mate with the cavy which can injure their back, especially if they are much larger and heavier.

3. Rabbits carry a disease that can harm a cavy

Rabbits are known to carry the bacteria Bordetella Bronchiseptica, which is a common cause of respiratory disease in guinea pigs. So when cavies are housed with rabbits, they become very susceptible to the bacteria, and will often have many issues with their respiratory health, which can ultimately lead to furthered health ailments.

4. They behave and communicate differently

Yes they might both be small, cute, furry animals, but the way these two animals behave and communicate is vastly different- not making them the most ideal companions (much like if we bunked with a gorilla!). Because of this, they are unable to properly understand each other, which will often create a lot of stress for both of the animals and can result in conflict.

5. Rabbits will sometimes bully a guinea pig

Because rabbits are quite a bit larger and more powerful than a guinea, they have the upper hand and may start to bully the cavy out of boredom or for entertainment. This can involve them ‘playing’ with the cavy or even biting them, which can both injure and stress out a cavy- making them not such an ideal pairing.

So if you’re thinking about getting guineas and bunnies- while they will both make delightful pets, it is probably best to house them separately, so they both stay happy, healthy and your funny little furry friend for a long time to come.

Backyard Chicken Coops have a great range of both rabbit and guinea pig enclosures that your dear little pets will be happy to call home! Sources and further reading