Can Guinea Pigs and Rats Live Together?

Can Guinea Pigs and Rats Live Together?

Rats and guinea pigs are some of the most popular pets in America. They’re both small, cute animals that make great companions for children.

You might be considering getting both of them. But can guinea pigs and rats live together?

Rats and guinea pigs can live together only if you put them in different cages. Sometimes, rats will kill guinea pigs by biting if not separated. Rats hate guinea pigs as they aren’t the type to share things with other species. Also, rats can give diseases to guinea pigs like salmonella.

Can Guinea Pigs and Rats Live Together?

Guinea pig owners often wonder if their pets can live with a rat or other rodent species. And while it may seem like an obvious question to ask, there isn’t any hard-and-fast rule about whether these two animal types will get along.

The truth is, they’re okay roommates as long as you keep them separate from each other when not playing with them.

If your home has multiple rooms, consider keeping one room dedicated solely to housing your guinea pigs and another exclusively for your rats. This way, you won’t be sharing space with more than one type of animal at once.

Alternatively, you can keep them in one room but in different enclosures.

If you do decide to house your rodents and guinea pigs together, here’s what you need to know:

Keep Them Separate

When you aren’t relaxing with or playing with either of these pets, it’s essential to keep them separated so they don’t fight over food, toys, bedding, etc.

You should also avoid letting them interact directly with each other because this could lead to biting and scratching. Instead, let them play separately but near enough to see each other.

Make Sure Your Animals Are Healthy Before Adding Another Pet

Before adding another pet to your household, make sure all existing members are healthy. Different pets require different levels of care depending on how much time and attention they receive.

Provide Enough Space Between Your Rodents’ Beds

One thing you don’t want to happen is having your guinea pigs fight over toys or bedding. Because they’re very social animals, they tend to enjoy playing with others.

But if you place too many items between their beds, they’ll start competing for things instead of enjoying them together.

Will Rats Kill Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pigs and rats are both rodents, but they have very different personalities. Guinea pigs tend to get along well with most animals, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters, mice, gerbils, ferrets, reptiles, fish, insects, and more.

But when it comes to rats, things become a bit trickier. Although they share similar characteristics, rats don’t usually enjoy being around other species. And because of this, they often try to attack smaller creatures whenever possible.

If left unchecked, this behavior may lead to death.

Fortunately, however, there are ways to prevent such an unfortunate outcome. Here’s what you need to know:


First off, keep your guinea pig away from rats as much as possible. Never allow the two to stay in one room or cage without supervision. Make sure that all food items are stored out of reach of curious little critters.

Provide Safe Places To Hide

Another vital thing to remember is that guinea pigs love hiding places. Therefore, consider providing several safe spots inside your house so that they can feel comfortable while sleeping.

A favorite spot might include under furniture, behind curtains, on shelves, or anywhere else that feels secure.

Of course, you’ll also want to ensure that none of those areas pose a threat to your pet. That is, you don’t let your rats roam there free,

Monitor Their Health Regularly

Although both pets may not require regular checkups, take them to your vet at least once annually. Nonetheless, you can minimize your visit to the vet with your rat to once in two years as they get older.

During each appointment, ask about any health concerns that arise and take note of their weight.

How Do I Keep My Guinea Pig Safe From Rat Attacks?

If you want to keep your guinea pig safe from attacks by rats, make sure to:

  • Provide them with enough room to roam freely without being harassed by rats.
  • Make sure their cage doesn’t contain any items that might tempt rats. This includes toys, feeders, water bottles, and so forth.
  • Clean up after your guinea pig regularly. Don’t leave food lying about where rats can find it. Also, clean up feces and urine immediately.

Do Rats Hate Guinea Pigs?

Most rats hate guinea pigs because of their territorial nature. Besides, they are pretty aggressive, and your guinea pig may not outmatch them in a fight.

That said, not all rats are aggressive. There are many different types of rats ranging from black rats to brown rats.

Black rats are generally found near sewers, while brown rats live in houses and other buildings.

Brown rats are larger than black ones and have longer tails. In addition, they prefer dark places like under furniture, behind walls, inside cupboards, and underneath sinks.

However, it’s important to note that although brown rats are friendly, they still attack if provoked.

These two rodents are pretty different, and that is what contributes to wrangles. So, what differs between guinea pigs and rats?

Differences Between Guinea Pigs and Rats

Although both guinea pigs and rats belong to the rodent family, they’re pretty different in many respects. In fact, some people believe that guinea pigs are closer relatives to chinchillas than they are to rats.

Let’s look at how these two furry friends differ:

Size Differences

Both guinea pigs and rats come in various sizes ranging from tiny to large. Averagely, rats range between 5-1.5 pounds, while guinea pigs range between 5-2.6 pounds.

When it comes to height, guinea pigs are taller than rats on average. While guinea pigs mostly range between 8-11 inches, rats range 4-3.5 inches.

That said, Viking rats can become quite huge, and some even grow as large as dogs.

Coat Color

While both guinea pigs and rat fur tend to be dark brown, the color varies depending on the breed. Some breeds feature black coats, while others sport white, gray, red, or combinations thereof.


Guinea pigs eat grasses, hay, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, grains, and occasionally meat. They usually don’t need anything more than what nature provides them with.

By contrast, rats prefer foods such as bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes, meats, cheeses, eggs, milk products, and fats.

Behavior Patterns

Although both animals have similar personalities, there are differences when it comes to behavior patterns.

For example, guinea pigs enjoy playing games together but often get into fights if one tries to play too rough.

Meanwhile, rats are much calmer creatures who won’t fight unless provoked.


When compared to other rodents, guinea pigs live longer lives. Adult males may reach 12 years old while females only last around eight years. Rat lifespan averages around two years, although some individuals can survive up to 6 years.


Guinea pigs are generally friendly toward strangers. As long as they know someone isn’t going to harm them, they’ll happily interact with new faces. Conversely, rats aren’t very sociable creatures and will avoid interacting with anyone except their own kind.

Can Rats Give Diseases to Guinea Pigs

Rats carry diseases like salmonella, leptospirosis, plague, typhus, tuberculosis, and bubonic plague.

These illnesses affect not just humans but also dogs, cats, horses, cows, sheep, goats, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects.

The same is true for guinea pigs. If your pet has any of these diseases, then he/she could potentially pass along those germs to another animal.

Frequently Asked Question

Do Guinea Pigs Attract Rats?

Guinea pigs do not attract rats. Nevertheless, the living conditions you provide your guinea pig may entice rats to come to your house. Rats like places that are warm and dry, and leaving food open around the house may attract rats.

Additionally, not properly cleaning your guinea pigs’ waste may attract rats. Guinea pigs’ stool comes out more undigested than other rodents, which rats may eat to supplement their diet.

Do Rats Eat Guinea Pigs?

Rats don’t eat guinea pigs. However, rats are likely to bite your guinea pig if left to play unattended in the same space. And these injuries may directly kill your guinea pig if severe or provide a loophole for an infection that may be fatal.

Are Rats Friendlier Than Guinea Pigs?

 Rats seem friendlier than guinea pigs when it comes to humans though they are reluctant towards other animals.

Before your guinea pig warms up to you, you have to initiate the rapport. Rats tend to relish their owners’ company slightly faster. Nevertheless, both animals can be quite friendly to humans.

Closing Remarks

So, if you were thinking of getting a pet guinea pig and a pet rat, it’s possible.

That said, remember not to place them in one enclosure if you don’t want injuries. And ensure you provide them with their basic needs, including grooming their cages.

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