I'm convinced this myth was either started or perpetuated by a small number of (poorly researched) "care guides" about guinea pigs. I've seen these books and their cute photos of guinea pigs and rabbits sharing a carrot and their short paragraphs stating that, because they have similar temperaments and similar care requirements, they make good roommates.
Not really. There's several reasons:
- Rabbits' hind legs, which they occasionally get feisty with, can seriously injure a guinea pig.
- Rabbits and guinea pigs require different food pellets, which are carefully formulated for each species' dietary needs.
- Rabbits have big appetites, leading them to hog the food (theirs and the guinea pig's) and leave the guinea pig underfed.
- While rabbits and guinea pigs can eat many of the same veggies and fruits, there are some things that rabbits can digest easily and safely that guinea pigs cannot. If you have them in the same cage, there's no way to separate servings.
If you like both species and would like to have both in your home, they make good neighbors for each other -- as long as they have separate cages and play areas and as long as the rabbit can't leap into either inhabited by the guinea pig(s).
If you want a live-in companion for a rabbit or guinea pig, find a rescue that specializes in whichever species you have and work with them to find a roommate for your pet. For guinea pigs, please contact us at The Critter Connection. For rabbits, check out 3Bunnies, Rabbit Allies of CT, House Rabbit Connection of Massachusetts and Connecticut, or Hop-a-long Hollow.