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Keep guinea pigs and rabbits together?


For a while it was taken for granted that guinea pigs and rabbits can be kept together. However, this assumption was based on misunderstandings due to a wrong interpretation of animal behavior, as is now known. You can find out why this is the case and how you can offer your little squeaky balls and lumpy noses a homely home here. Guinea pigs and rabbits communicate in very different ways - Shutterstock / photos2013

It may seem cute and harmonious to people when their rabbit and guinea pig cuddle up to each other. In fact, however, the animals only do this out of necessity if they have no other species to cuddle and cannot escape unwanted expressions of affection.

Guinea pigs and rabbits don't get along

While guinea pigs belong to the rodent family and are related to porcupines, rabbits belong to the rabbit family. So there are two completely different types, even if there are a few similarities in terms of nutrition and husbandry. The small animals could hardly be more different in their communication and their need for closeness. The little Meerlis communicate a lot about sounds, but the Hoppelpfoten above all about body language. This is also evident in the expressions of affection. The pigs literally "chat" with one another, squeak, coo, hum, whine and chirp, as far as they can go. They only cuddle when they are freezing or afraid. Feel comfortable, scurry happily or rest in sight, but without close physical contact, in your hideouts. The following video offers a little insight:

Rabbits, on the other hand, are largely silent, hissing or growling only in exceptional cases when they feel threatened. The long ears are real cuddly balls and need physical closeness, mutual grooming and cuddling with their peers. They like to lie close together and clean each other, as can be seen in the next video:

If guinea pigs and rabbits form a shared apartment, they "talk" past each other all the time. For example, the crumbs put their heads under the pig's chin because they would like to be cleaned and hearted. However, Meerlis raise their heads as a kind of threatening gesture when they want to be left alone. If the guinea pigs clatter their teeth as a warning, the next misunderstanding arises. Instead of the bunnies understanding the rejection, they think their fellow guinea pigs would be happy because they grind their own teeth if they feel comfortable.

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Guinea pigs are afraid of rabbits

In addition, guinea pigs are afraid of rabbits because the long ears are physically superior to them. So it happens that the rodents, given their fate, allow themselves to be cleaned and cuddled by their roommate against their will, because they realize that they are weaker and cannot defend themselves anyway. The quiet cooing, which they then emit, serves to calm down and is not a sign of well-being. The rabbit, on the other hand, is unhappy because the guinea pig is so distant from him. The fear of guinea pigs is not entirely unfounded, because the rabbit can also accidentally hurt them when trying to play and express affection.

So you can still hold the small animals together

In theory, you can still keep both animal species together, but then you need an extra-large enclosure. There must be a separate area in it that is only accessible through small openings through which the guinea pigs but not the rabbits can pass. This way, the little squeakers can withdraw when the bunny's cuddly attacks become too intrusive. In contrast, so that the rabbits are happy and have their own places, raised platforms and platforms that are too high for the Meerlis make sense. There the rabbits can jump up and watch the surroundings. In addition, both animals absolutely need conspecifics, otherwise they will lonely. However, the question arises whether you really have to keep the animals together in an enclosure or whether two enclosures that are separate from the start do the same.