Can Chinchillas and Guinea Pigs Live Together?

guinea pig

Are you thinking about adopting a chinchilla? Before you do, make sure it will get along with your other pets.

In this post, we are going to cover chinchillas and guinea pigs. Guinea pigs might seem like they are good companions for chinchillas. But unfortunately, chinchillas and guinea pigs don’t get along. And they should never live in the same cage.

Why? Aren’t they both rodents? Shouldn’t they get along?

Don’t worry, we are going to take a deep dive into this relationship. By the end of the post, we hope you understand why chinchillas and guinea pigs can’t live together.

Chinchillas vs Guinea Pigs

Ok, let’s take a step back.

Chinchillas and guinea pigs actually have many similarities. And you might think these similarities make them compatible. Unfortunately, despite their shared characteristics, these animals don’t get along.

Both chinchillas and guinea pigs:

  • are rodents
  • like to chew
  • have similar cage requirements
  • are from South America
  • are prey animals
  • make good pets

Rodents

Chinchillas and guinea pigs are both classified as rodents. Rodents are mammals that have large front teeth that continue to grow.

Hamsters, squirrels, beavers, gerbils, and rats are also rodents.

Chew

As rodents, both chinchillas and guinea pigs have large front teeth. Their teeth continue to grow throughout their lives.

These animals need to chew in order to grind down their teeth. If not, their teeth will grow to a painful size. This can ultimately result in disease.

Cages

Chinchillas and guinea pigs both need large wire cages. Make sure both animals have access to food and water.

The cages should be lined with an absorbent material. For exercise, consider placing a wheel in the cage.

South America

Both chinchillas and guinea pigs originated in the Andes region of South America. Both animals live in herds in the rocky areas of Peru and Bolivia.

Prey

Chinchillas and guinea pigs are both prey animals. This means, in the wild, they are hunted by predators. Foxes, mountain lions, and snakes all hunt these rodents.

Chinchillas and guinea pigs had to adapt to being prey. They often burrow under rocks. Also, they live in herds to stay protected from predators.

Pets

Chinchillas and guinea pigs are both popular pets. These rodents are cute and can be affectionate.

Sadly, they are not good companions. So it can be difficult to own both types of rodents.

Can Chinchillas and Guinea Pigs Live Together?

So, as we discussed briefly, chinchillas and guinea pigs can’t live together.

Although they are both rodents with similar characteristics, they are not compatible roommates.

Why not?

There are a few reasons that chinchillas and guinea pigs aren’t compatible:

  • They have different nutritional requirements: Chinchillas and guinea pigs have different diets. Pet guinea pigs eat hay, pellets, and leafy green vegetables. Sure, most of that sounds like a chinchilla’s diet. But there is one major exception. Chinchilla’s shouldn’t eat leafy green vegetables. Their digestive system can’t handle it. And if chinchillas and guinea pigs are placed in the same cage, they will likely eat each other’s food. And this could be harmful, especially for chinchillas.
  • Prefer to be with their own kind: To put it simply, chinchillas and guinea pigs like to be with their own species. Yes, both are social creatures. But they prefer to be social with other members of their species.
  • They might fight: Since these creatures like to be with their own species, they might fight each other. If you place these animals in the same cage, they might feel threatened. A fight could start, which could ultimately result in injury.

What Can You Do?

Ok, we now know that chinchillas and guinea pigs shouldn’t live together.

But what if you already own both? What can you do?

Don’t panic, it is possible to own both types of rodents. You just need to make sure you take care of each separately.

Remember, never let a chinchilla and a guinea pig share a cage. They will likely start fighting. Or your chinchilla might eat the guinea pig’s food, which could cause serious digestive issues.

Each creature needs its own cage. Even placing the cages next to each other could cause problems. Make sure the cages are far enough apart that the animals don’t sense each other.

Also, make sure each creature has the right food. Guinea pigs and chinchillas have different diets. Don’t give them both the same food. Guinea pigs need leafy green vegetables, while these can cause major digestive issues in chinchillas.

Finally, don’t let chinchillas and guinea pigs roam at the same time. Occasionally, you might let your pet out of their cage. This is a great way to let them get exercise. Just make sure that both creatures are not out at the same time. Even though they are not in a confined space, they still might try to fight.

Final Thoughts

Sadly, chinchillas and guinea pigs just aren’t compatible. And they really shouldn’t live together.

If they live in the same cage, they might fight. Or, they might eat the wrong food. To avoid these potentially harmful scenarios, make sure never to let your chinchilla and guinea pig share a cage.

But the good news is that you can own both creatures. Just make sure you place them in separate cages in different areas of your house.

Do you own both a chinchilla and a guinea pig? We would love to hear your story. Please share it in the comments below!

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