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Guinea Pig vs. Rabbit: Which Is a Better Pet for You?

Guinea Pig vs. Rabbit: Which Is a Better Pet for You?

Many people get confused when they plan to get a small pet for their family. Choosing between a guinea pig and a rabbit can be a tough decision, especially when you are unsure what are the factors you should be considering to pick the right one.

Should I Get Guinea Pigs Or Rabbits?  If you are going through the same turbulence of mind then, Don’t worry here we have a complete comparison of Guinea pig Vs. Rabbit, where we will help you decide the right one for yourself.

Both guinea pigs and rabbit makes an excellent pet, although both have their pros and cons. While guinea pigs are a docile and friendly animal that remains in their cage until its floor time, rabbits are more like cats & dogs who love to stay open and free. Rabbits can get aggressive sometimes, and they also need a larger space to live in as compared to guinea pigs.

Choosing the right pet for your family can be a tough decision. There are a lot of factors to consider; right from the cost to nature, behavior, and space needed, there can be a variety of factors affecting your decision.

To make the process simple for you, I would request you to decide at least five significant factors that matter to you. It will help you when you go through the differences below so that you can find the perfect pet for yourself with clarity in mind.

Don’t worry, even if you are unable to decide what’s essential for you to right now. I will make sure you make the right decision by the time we come to an end.

So, just be with me till the end, and I shall ensure that by the time you complete this article, you are done with your decision.

Guinea pig or Rabbit? Which one should I choose?

So let us begin by checking out the difference between guinea pigs and rabbits. In this table, we shall check out 32 factors that are essential for all first time pet owners and see what are the major ones for you. I am sure that by the end of this you will have a winner for yourself.

FactorsGuinea PigRabbit
OriginGuinea pigs were first discovered in 2000 BC in the Andes mountains. During that time, most people use to keep them as a food source, but soon they became popular as pets.Rabbits were first domesticated in the 5th century by the monks of the champagne region. The monks first kept them as a food source. Later experimenting with selective breeding ended up with the breeds and variety we see today.
Species familyGuinea pigs belong to Class Mammalia, Order Rodent and Family Caviidae.Rabbits belong to class Mammalia, Order Lagomorpha, and Family Leporidae.
SizeGuinea pig usually grows up to 8-10 inches in length. The actual size may differ by an inch or two depending upon the breed.Rabbits can grow up to 8-20 inches in length, depending upon the breed. While smaller species can be as little as 8 inches, larger species can grow up to 20 inches in length.
WeightThe average weight of an adult guinea pig can be anywhere between 800-1200 grams. The actual weight may differ depending upon the breed and gender of your guinea pigs.The average weight of a rabbit can be anywhere between 450-2000 grams. The weight shall depend upon the breed you choose for yourself. Smaller breeds like pigmy weigh less than a pound while larger breeds like Himalayan weigh up to 4.5 pounds.
LifespanThe average lifespan of a guinea pig can be anywhere between 4-8 years. However, it depends upon the breed, care, and a lot of other factors. The oldest guinea pig has lived for 14 years and 10.5 months as per Guinness Book of World Records.The average lifespan of a rabbit kept in captivity can be anywhere between 8-12 years. It totally depends upon the care you give to them. Rabbits kept indoors have a higher lifespan compared to the ones kept outdoors.
ClassificationGuinea pigs are herbivores. Thus they need a plant-based diet. Guinea pig's diet mostly consists of Hay, Vegetables, and Fresh fruits in it.Just like guinea pigs, rabbits are also herbivores. The significant portion of a rabbit diet contains fresh hay, vegetable, some fruits, and seeds.
Variety(breed)There are 13 breeds of guinea pigs which are recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association. They are available in a wide range of colors and patterns to choose from.There are 49 breeds of rabbits recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). They are available in all different sizes, colors, and fur types to choose from.
Nocturnal?No, guinea pigs are not nocturnal. They are crepuscular. That means they remain active both day and night and they sleep in small laps of few minutes throughout day and night.No, rabbits are not nocturnal, as well. However, just like guinea pigs, they are crepuscular. That means they remain active during the day as well as night.
HypoallergenicGuinea pigs are not hypoallergenic. Any warm-blooded animal with hair, fur & feather cannot be hypoallergenic. Many people claim that the skinny pig, also known as hairless guinea pigs are hypoallergenic, but that is not true at all. There can be a lot of other factors that can trigger the allergy apart from the guinea pig itself. Hay & Bedding being the most common one.Rabbits are not hypoallergenic. In fact, any warm-blooded animal with fur, coat, or feather can cause allergy to human beings. It is not the hair that causes allergy all the time. Even saliva and dander can be the cause sometimes. However, you must look out for allergies before you get the pet home.
Noise levelGuinea pigs are not so loud, especially at night. However, they can get pretty loud for food. So make sure you top up the food and water dishes before bedtime.Rabbits are considered a quiet pet, but they are not one definitely. Some rabbits can get quite loud at night. Some even starts banging their cage and toys, which can be annoying for you if you have them in the same room where you sleep. So you need to consider this seriously if you plan to house them in the same room. Else it might work fine.
Social companyGuinea pigs are social animals and will thrive in a group of two or more. Keeping a single guinea pig is challenging as they can get depressed and bored due to a lack of social interaction so, if you are planning to get guinea pigs, you better be ready for at least a pair.Rabbits do need some social company to live as they are social animals as well. However, If you cannot get a pair, then you need to interact with your rabbit and give them time so that they get their social needs somewhat fulfilled. If you cannot provide enough time for them, then it would be best that you get a pair at least.
OffspringGuinea pigs are matured at just three weeks and can give birth to 1-8 pups in a litter. The average litter size is between 2-4. They can give birth up to 5 litter every year.Rabbits are matured at just three month of age. The average litter size is six but they can give birth anywhere between 4-12 babies depending upon the breed.
IntelligenceGuinea pigs are really smart. They remember their owners, sounds, commands, etc. In the wild, they used to remember the food source, hiding spots, and their own home and can leap towards one whenever needed.Rabbits are way smarter than we assume them to be. You can teach them a few tricks if you offer them the right treat. However, they are not the brightest creature out there.
CleanlinessAlthough guinea pigs like to keep themselves clean, I cannot say the same for their cage. They can create some mess around their enclosure. You will need to keep up with daily maintenance to keep their pen clean and odor-free.Rabbits like to keep themselves clean, but their cage can get messy sometimes. You will need to keep up with weekly maintenance to keep it clean and odor-free.
BiteGuinea pigs are docile animals and will not bite anyone unless they have a reason to do so. However, young guinea pigs might nibble your hand out of curiosity sometimes.Rabbits are a sweet little creature, but they can bite you sometimes. The reason for biting can be Stress, Fear, or when they get territorial. However, in most cases, they only nip people, but sometimes they end up biting as well.
SmellGuinea pigs are tidy when it comes to personal hygiene. They love to groom themselves. However, you might find that some male guinea pigs smell really awkward. That is due to the active grease gland which produces a foul smell when they are not cleaned. Also, if their cage remains dirty, then they might produce some foul smell.Rabbits don't have any body odor. However, their urine might smell like ammonia. It's a strong odor, especially when they urinate. Also, if your rabbit has an ear infection, then they might produce an awkward smell. Apart from that, there will be hardly any circumstances when they do smell bad.
CuddlyGuinea pigs like to cuddle and being petted by their owners. If you have a guinea pig with whom you have a good bond, you will enjoy the affection they give you.Rabbits are cuddly and like to spend time with their owners. They will merely sit in your lap or snuggle up next to you for a cuddle. However, it will totally depend upon the personality of your rabbit. As you know, every pet is different!
PersonalityGuinea pigs have an outgoing personality. They are active and love to play around with their owners and cage mates.Rabbits have a distinct personality. They are playful, loyal, and affectionate, just like dogs. Long-time rabbit owners often claim them to be better than cats and dogs.
Ease of careGuinea pigs are easy to take care of when it comes to their diet and basic needs. However, they can get messy at times and need daily maintenance of their cage. So, if you are ready to commit for the same, then they might be a rewarding pet else you must look for other options.Rabbits are easy to take care of. You will need to provide them with food, water, and some toys and you are good to go. The cleaning routine may involve some spot cleaning in 2-3 days and a deep clean once a week.
TamingTaming your guinea pig can be quite easy as compared to other small pets. Their docile and friendly nature helps to bond with them pretty easy. You can also teach them a lot of tricks if you are committed to doing so.Taming a rabbit can take longer than you expect. Rabbits can get a little aggressive if you try to force things upon them. However, with enough patience and care, you can tame and train them to do some tricks.
Child friendlyThere cannot be any other small animal that is child-friendly as guinea pigs are. Their calm and friendly personality makes them a perfect choice. However, we suggest having adult supervision while kids are handling the guinea pigs.Rabbits are child-friendly, but that doesn't mean you can let the rabbit be the child's responsibility entirely. There are some aspects of care which you need to supervise. Especially when it comes to food and healthcare. Also, it is recommended to get a rabbit only after your child is seven years of age so that your child can take care of some of the responsibility of the pet.
SpaceIt is recommended to have at least eight Sq. Feet area for your guinea pigs. They must have a space to play, eat, and hide in their cage.According to the house rabbit society, rabbits need at least eight sq. Feet of space to live and twenty-four sq. Feet to exercise. As rabbits need a lot of floor time as compared to other small animals having a large area to play and exercise is a must for them.
EnclosureGuinea pigs need a large cage to live in. The enclosure must have bedding, hay, water bottle, hiding places, and toys for them. Most pet shop cages are too small for your guinea pigs.Rabbits need a large enclosure to live. The pen must have quality bedding, food, water, and some toys for mental stimulation. Apart from that, they also need a much larger space for exercise. So, if you have a limited area, then keeping a rabbit can be a challenge.
HousingYou can house your guinea pigs, both indoors and outdoors. It is recommended to keep them indoors; however, if you have to keep them outdoors, get a well-insulated enclosure for them so that they can remain safe fro temperature changes.Rabbits can be housed indoors as well as outdoors. Having a well-insulated large hutch is a must for housing rabbits outside. Also, remember that the life expectancy of rabbits housed outside goes down significantly.
Grooming needsGuinea pigs are easy to groom. You just need to brush them once in a while, trims their nails and clean their grease glands whenever required.Rabbits love to groom themselves, but there are a few grooming needs that we should look after. First and foremost, we need to brush our rabbits once a week at least. Apart from that, their nails need to be trimmed every month; their ear wax must also be removed as it builds up. Guinea pigs also have a scent gland near their genital area, which needs regular cleaning to avoid bad odor.
SheddingGuinea pigs do shed sometimes. You will mostly notice shedding during spring and early summers when they shed their coat to prepare for the summer heat. However, the hairs will remain confined in the cage itself, so it is pretty easy to clean.Rabbits shed every three months or so. Every alternative month they will have light shedding followed by a heavier one next month. Some rabbit owners keep rabbits open at home, which may lead to the spreading of their hair, all-around their homes.
FeedingGuinea pig's diet includes 80% of hay, 15% of fresh vegetables, and 5% of pellets. You can also serve occasional treats in the form of fruits and other commercial ones.A Rabbits diet consists of fresh hay, formulated pellets, and fresh vegetables only. Feeding your rabbit is easy and straightforward.
Vet costGuinea pigs need an annual vet check-up even if they are healthy. The health check-up helps to ensure that your guinea pig is perfectly healthy. As you must understand, guinea pigs can hide illness, and we might even be unaware of the fact that they are ill, so an annual health check-up is a must. A yearly check-up can cost you anywhere between 50-100$ depending upon the area you live in.Just like any other pet animals, rabbits do need an annual vet checkup. You can expect the prices to be anywhere between 25-55$. If you want to neuter your rabbit, then the cost may range anywhere between 100-250$ depending upon where you live.
Cost to buyYou can get a guinea pig either from pet stores, rescue or even from breeders. The price of your guinea pig will depend upon the place you get them from. It can range between 10-40$ while the average price being 25$.Rabbits can cost anywhere between 5-20$ if you get them from a pet store or a rescue. However, if you plan to get them from a breeder, you can expect to pay a premium price even up to a 100$ depending upon the quality you get.
Set up costThe initial setup for a pair of guinea pigs will average around 400-600$, which includes their cage, beddings, food supplies, water bottles, and hideouts. Apart from that, you need to spend around 800$ annually to keep up with bedding, food, annual health checkups, etc.The initial setup for rabbits, including cage, bedding, food, and other supplies, can cost up to 600-800$. Apart from that, you can expect to spend anything around 500-600$ on their basic needs like food and bedding and around 100$ on their healthcare.
VacationIf you are a holiday kind of person, then guinea pigs might not be the perfect choice for you. Unless you have someone to look after when you are away living guinea pigs alone for more than 24 hours can be fatal. Guinea pigs can go through a pile of hay very quickly, and they might run out of food, and when you are away. In such circumstances, they can get ill an sometimes it can be life-threatening for them as well if they starve for more than 24 hours. So, you might need to either have someone take care of them when you are away or get a carrier and travel with your guinea pigs if you are a solitary person.Rabbits cannot be left alone for more than two days. Your rabbit might starve to death if someone is not there to take care of its basic needs. Also, remember that you cannot leave a rabbit alone if it doesn't have a cage mate and a reasonably large cage to exercise as it can be bad for their health.


Guinea pig Vs. Rabbit: Which is a better pet for you? Guinea pigs and rabbits both make for an excellent pet. While Guinea pigs can live in a limited space with their cagemates, rabbits do require a lot of space to play and live.

Guinea pigs are docile and can bond with their owners quickly while rabbits are easy while handling them. Both have their pros and cons, which you might have checked already. You need to weigh what’s essential for you and make a choice now.

The ball is in your court now. Whatever you end up choosing, make sure you provide them a pleasant living environment, and soon you will have an incredible pet to enjoy with.

I would recommend you also check out some great articles on guinea pigs to know more about them if you decide to get one. These articles may also help you if you are still unsure about choosing them as your pet:

If you found the article helpful do share it in your favorite social media so that it can help more people like you. Thanks!

Source: Wikipedia, RSPCA, The Human Society Of the United States

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