Rabbits vs Guinea Pigs: 5 Key Differences + Our Pick For Which Makes the Better Pet

rex rabbit with guinea pig
© dwi putra stock/Shutterstock.com

Written by Patrick MacFarland

Published: April 29, 2024

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Every family thinks about growing it by adding a pet to the mix. If you have little kids, sometimes a dog or a cat may not be the best idea. Remember, cats can scratch a baby or do things that may not be kid-friendly. Alternatively, some dogs may be too excitable or aggressive, and being around children may also not be the best idea. When it comes to other pets, having lizards or snakes may be problematic around children. So, how about getting a rabbit? Or even a guinea pig? Let’s take a look at the key differences between rabbits and guinea pigs. Plus, we will give you our pick for which makes the better pet.

Similarities Between A Rabbit and Guinea Pig

First, let’s start by listing some similarities between a rabbit and a guinea pig. They look a lot alike and they are small herbivore animals. Both these indoor pets also act quite similarly, but what are the other similarities?

  • Both animals have special diets you must consider. Buying the best quality food is important, but also ensure you give them the exact portions.
  • Both animals need to see a veterinarian trained in rabbits or guinea pigs —- your best bet is an exotic animal vet.
  • Both animals are fragile, so you should know how to hold and handle them.
  • Both rabbits and guinea pigs do best when there are others around, so try to get two rabbits or two guinea pigs to better their social life.

Rabbits Live Longer

Funny bunny rabbit eating hay food close up

Just like a deer, the male rabbit is called a buck, whereas the female rabbit is called a doe.

©Farhad Ibrahimzade/Shutterstock.com

On average, rabbits live about 8 to 10 years. Guinea pigs usually live 5 to 7 years. What does this mean? It means that if you are worried about potential long-term costs, rabbits will cost more because you will have them for more years. Alternatively, when caring for or loving your pet, having them live longer is always a major plus.

Rabbits Need More Space

feeding your pet. small baby rabbit, bunny eating fresh juicy cabbage, lettuce, carrots, green beans, peas. rational vegetable food for rodent. copy space, place for text

The European rabbit lives on every single continent, except for Antarctica.

©ElenaYakimova/Shutterstock.com

Rabbits are larger animals than guinea pigs, but they are also more social animals. They require more space so they can roam around and exercise freely. This means that you need a bigger space to accommodate your rabbit than a guinea pig, for example. Guinea pigs only need a cage that will fit them just right with a few trinkets so they can exercise and have fun in the cage. 

Guinea Pigs Nibble

lovely guinea pig couple sitting

Guinea pigs hail from the Andes Mountains of South America.

©feedough/iStock via Getty Images

When having a guinea pig, remember to watch out for your fingers. they will nibble on them. but they could also nibble on other things around the house. Watching out for these actions is a smart idea. However, it is important to note that rabbits can sometimes get aggressive. if rabbits get scared or become territorial, they could bite you.

Spay or Neuter Your Rabbit

There are at the very least a whopping 305 breeds of the domesticated rabbit.

© Voren1/ via Getty Images

You have most likely heard that rabbits like to have intercourse. It’s true, rabbits multiply quite rapidly. This means you have to spay or neuter your rabbit. But more importantly, by doing this, you can actually prevent some cancers in your rabbit and also decrease the aggressivity of rabbits. Guinea pigs on the other hand don’t need to be spayed or neutered, though your vet may recommend it.

Guinea Pigs Smell More

Self guinea pig eats parsley while looking at camera

Even though guinea pigs are pets in most of the world, some places still consume their meat.

©Sofiia Petrova/iStock via Getty Images

When it comes to self-grooming, rabbits smell better than guinea pigs. Neither animal needs baths, but sometimes guinea pigs could smell a bit more. Their litter box is messier, their feces smell more, and they are less clean than rabbits. It’s also easier to train your rabbit when it comes to their litter box.

Which One Makes the Better Pet?

rabbit and guinea pig together

Guinea pigs are known as

cuy

in the Andes Mountains regions where they come from.

©MinKatia30/Shutterstock.com

The time has come to elect which animal makes the better pet. Both rabbits and guinea pigs are fantastic creatures that are beautiful and unique in every way. However, there are differences that you need to consider between rabbits and guinea pigs. The fact that rabbits require more space and more specialized food means that the costs will be greater. Rabbits also need to be spayed or neutered because they will multiply.

So, what’s our pick? We pick the guinea pig as the better pet.  However, it’s all about what you decide is best for you and your family. If you think a rabbit would be a better pet, then all the power to you. At the end of the day, you will have a great time playing with your new, cute pet.


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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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