Guinea pigs and chinchillas are both popular house pets. More than one million guinea pigs are kept as pets in America, and small rodent ownership has been popular for years.
If you are looking to bring a little furry friend into your family, you may be wondering whether you should get a guinea pig or a chinchilla.
I asked myself the same question and decided to research the difference between guinea pigs and chinchillas to find out which would be the best for my house and my family.
Keep reading for some interesting facts about both animals as well as information on whether or not they can cohabitate.
Which is better a chinchilla or guinea pig?
We all want the best, even when it comes to our pets. While there is no perfect pet in the world, there is a perfect pet for you and your family.
As soon as you adopt your little one, they become part of the family and you love them so much. I know that has been the case with every animal I have adopted.
Still, you need to collect all of the relevant information you can on both chinchillas and guinea pigs to determine which animal is best for you.
Both animals require significant care and attention. They have specific dietary needs that must be followed and care instructions for their health.
No matter which pet you choose, you must be able to provide for all of its needs. These little guys depend on us as pet owners for everything!
To answer the question of which pet is best, let’s look at some facts about both animals
Guinea pig facts
- We’re not sure how guinea pigs got their name because they are not actually from Guinea. Also, they are clearly not pigs.
- They can also be called a cavy, and males are known as boars while females are sows. Guinea pigs typically live to be about seven to nine years old, and they weight around 1.5 to 2.5 pounds as adults.
- Cavies need a lot of vitamin C in their diets because they are unable to produce the nutrient on their own. They are herbivores and stick to fruit, veggies, and hay for the majority of their diet. Specialty pellets are also a large part of what they eat every day, and they contain many of the vitamins and nutrients they need to stay healthy and active.
- Guinea pigs need food and water available all day because they graze whenever they feel hungry. Timothy, orchard, and oat hay can be left in their crate and changed out as needed.
- They need constant access to fresh water, and a plastic water bottle should be attached to their cage.
- This animal also needs plenty of exercise. They need a large crate where they can run and play. I love to put toys in my piggy’s crate that are safe for him to play with. He loves to run through little tubes or roll a ball back and forth.
- Chinchillas originally came from South America. Today, they are popular pets across America. They have very dense fur that helps them stay warm and makes them very soft.
- However, this fur also requires special attention and brushing to keep it from getting matted. They use dust baths to keep themselves clean and help their coat stay shiny at least two or three times each week.
- Like guinea pigs, this animal is also an herbivore. Chinchillas need a diet that is high and fiber, and grass hay makes up a large part of what they eat on a daily basis.
- Chinchillas also have specialty pellets designed for their species and can eat fresh vegetables in small amounts. They need fresh water available at all times and use a water bottle very similar to cavies.
Chinchillas need a large space to live
Chinchillas are more active than guinea pigs. They need a lot of room to run and require large cages with multiple levels and platforms.
They enjoy running and jumping and finding places to hide. While guinea pigs can live together, chinchillas are usually kept in separate cages.
It is important to note that chinchillas can live for a long time. They typically live an average of ten years, but they can live up to twenty in some cases.
Adding this pet to your family is a commitment for a very long time. They are also nocturnal and enjoy sleeping during the day while running and playing at night.
Are Chinchillas and guinea pigs compatible?
No, chinchillas and guinea pigs are not compatible. You should never keep them in the same cage or let them out to play at the same time.
Guinea pigs can be kept with their own species as long as fighting does not occur. Chinchillas are largely kept on their own because they do not get along with members of their own species.
Cavies typically need companionship, so you may be able to have multiple animals of the same sex together. You could also have a single male with multiple females.
If you notice aggression or fighting amongst the herd, it is important to separate them to keep your animals safe.
Both chinchillas and guinea pigs have unique requirements for their care. However, cavies seem to be a lower-maintenance pet.
They tend to be cuddlier than chinchillas and enjoy time spent in the arms of their owners. If you have small children that want to participate in your pet’s care, a guinea pig may be the way to go.
Chinchillas are very active at night and can keep your family up as they run, jump, and play. They also need much larger habitats in order to stay active.
If you have enough room in your home for a large chinchilla enclosure, you may love to see this animal leap from platform to platform. Also, their fur requires attention including dust baths and brushing to keep it from getting matted.
When you add a new pet to your family, it is crucial to research and understand how they will work in your home. Once you purchase your pet, gather all of the necessary supplies for their diet, exercise, and cage.
Never keep chinchillas and guinea pigs together, and do your best to find a pet that is conducive to your lifestyle.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.