The question of whether rats and guinea pigs can live together may come up especially if you happen to have both species as pets.
Many guinea pig owners do have other types of pets including rats, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas and rabbits that they may wish to see if they can mix together to see if they will really get on.
Although rats and guinea pigs are both rodents, they share some similar attributes and characteristics, however they also share some glaring differences.
So in order to explore that more, let’s have a look at some rat facts. For this I am indebted to this site which has some great info on rats and their life as pets.
So here are 20 facts about rats and the differences and similarities that they have with guinea pigs to help get to know them better.
1. Rats tend to live between 2 and 2 and a half years which is much less than the standard piggie age of 6-8 years
2. They are not expensive to keep just like GPs.
3. They often sleep during the day, but can also sleep during he night so are not fully nocturnal. This differs from piggies who tend to sleep whenever they feel like it in short bursts.
4. They need a large cage to be kept in. Yep just like piggies
5. They are very clean animals like most rodents including guinea pigs.
6. They are very intelligent animals who adapt their environment well.
7. As with other types of rodents such as guinea pigs, they are very sociable animals and enjoy living together,they don’t like living alone.
8. They need lots of exercise and need to be stimulated. They also love to explore so a large living area is essential with lots of things to do in it. Things such as toys and a wheel is very helpful for this. Piggies on the other hand don’t need as much exercise as rats and going on a wheel is pretty dangerous for them. They are also much more relaxed in nature than rats.
9. They are very agile creatures and are able to jump up to two feet and can also climb. GPs on the other and are not the most agile of creatures.
10. Just like GPs, Rats need their privacy as well and need a place to retreat to and sleep that is warm and cosy.
11. Like guinea pigs they don’t like wood shavings or sawdust in their cage as it is an irritation to their eyes.
12. Straw is also an issue as it can be quite sharp for them.
13. They eat a wide variety of foods and are scavengers by nature. GPs are not scavengers but do also eat anything in sight.
14. They need a wide varied and balanced diet to keep them healthy such as seeds and grains as well as pellets which can be store bought.
15. They need water available for them all the time from a water bottle just like GPs.
16. Like guinea pigs, a ceramic food bowl is best for them to eat out of.
17. They should be picked up by scooping them up carefully with both hands.
18. Their home needs to be cleaned once a week
19. Their teeth grow just like guinea pigs. constantly! They always need things to chew on such as wood and treats other wise their teeth get out of control and they have dental problems
20. Their coat is prone to getting fleas and mites so this needs be watched closely.
The big difference between guinea pigs and rats is their agility, diet and behaviour. They quite similar in a lot of aspects but in a few key areas, are very different.
There have been instances where rats and guinea pigs have been put together with success, however these are an exception to he rule.
Because of their dietary requirements it’s not a great idea to put them together. They are just quite different. Guinea pigs will eat seeds and grains but they are just not great for them, and rats will not eat hay, and are likely to scavenge their veggies if they see them.
There is also the possibility that things could turn violent because of their different behaviour. Rats and guinea pigs are quite different in terms of the way they behave in certain situations and this could have an effect if they are put together.
So if they were put together I would recommend it in a supervised environment and not be left together. If things deteriorate with their behaviour then do step in and remove one of them before one of them gets hurt.