Are Guinea Pigs Rodents? (Yes! – 3 Reasons Why They Are)

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Before planning to get guinea pigs as your pets, make sure to know what species or family they come from. By doing so, you would know how to take good care of them and then give them plenty of love and attention. So speaking of their species, are guinea pigs rodents?

To simply answer the question, yes, they are. Guinea pigs are stout little rodents that came from across South American regions. They might have the name pigs, but they aren’t pigs at all.

Now that you know guinea pigs are rodents, let us find out more about the reasons behind. Also, to know what are other that you can consider rodents besides guinea pigs, and answer related questions to the topic throughout this article. So, without further delay, keep on reading until the end.

Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Are Rodents

guinea pigs rest like rodents

As rodents, guinea pigs are more distantly related to the genera Dolichotis, Hydrochoerus, Galea, Kerodon, and Microcavia. All of these also include capybaras, cavies, and maras in its extended family.

Guinea pigs resemble a cavy or rodent, as they have a short tail, a stout body, and a large head with short ears. They also have continuously growing, flat-crowned jaw teeth of 20, hairless soles of feet, and sharp claws.

Caviidae families are mostly rodents, and guinea pigs fall under this family. Plus, there are physiological similarities among them.

Guinea pigs have four digits on their forefeet, whereas there are three on their hind feet. They also have a vestigial tail and only have a pair of mammae.

But most importantly, the primary reasons why guinea pigs are rodents are their tendency to gnaw and the presence of their two front incisors.

If you haven’t heard of this type of incisors yet, let us show you what it is. It refers to a set of hypsodont incisors with a restricted enamel to the surface of the buccal.

What are Other Animals Considered Rodents Besides Guinea Pigs?

a climbing squirrels is a rodent too

Rodents encompass 27 separate families that do not only include true rats and mice in the Muridae family. They are also composed of diverse groups like beavers, chinchillas, marmots, pocket gophers, porcupines, and squirrels.

Other animals considered rodents are mostly non-flying mammals. They are about 1,500 living rodent species out of 4,000 living mammals overall. This group now includes mice, rats, and hamsters. More so, Rodentia also includes voles, woodchucks, lemmings, prairie dogs, and many more.

Rodents are mammals or considered explicitly as the single largest group of the class with the order name of Rodentia. They constitute almost half of the mammals, with 4,660 species approximately.

As for where they live, they ought to be indigenous to almost every land area. But, this does not include Antarctica, New Zealand, and some of the oceanic islands of the Arctic. Nevertheless, through the association with humans, some species have been introduced already to those places.

Here are a few of the related questions that most people ask about guinea pigs as rodents.

Can A Guinea Pig Get Pregnant By A Rat?

Although both guinea pigs and rats are under the same order, Rodentia, a guinea pig, cannot get pregnant by a rat. Sure, they might be able to mate with each other. However, the two can never produce viable offspring.

Even though many animals mate with other species that are not conspecifics, they will never reproduce. Therefore, always keep in mind that by definition, species can only produce viable offspring when they mate with the same species as them.

Are Guinea Pigs Better Than Rats?

Both guinea pigs and rats are among the several rodent pets you can keep at home. If you are planning to get one of them, you might probably ask yourself which among the two is better.

However, before you answer the question, it is important for you to have a deeper understanding of these pets. It can be done probably by considering their size, lifespan, personality, cost, space needed, cleanliness, sleeping schedule, intelligence, and others.

For instance, as the time spent cleaning up after both pets is concerned, if you are impatient, then it is better to keep a rat than a guinea pig. This is because guinea pigs are messier than rats, for they poop a lot more often.

Moreover, you should regularly clean their cages. On the other hand, rats don’t poop often, so you could clean their cages only once a week.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for a rodent pet with a fiery personality and liveliness, guinea pigs are your better option than rats. So, if you are learning how to responsibly raise a pet, go for keeping a guinea pig.

Are Guinea Pigs Afraid Of Rats?

An infestation of a rat or mice can be troublesome for both of you and your guinea pigs. If you don’t know why these are coming and don’t know how to get rid of them, it surely would be a pain for you. With this being said, you might think that maybe it is because guinea pigs are afraid of rats.

The food, unmaintained living environment, and poop build-up of guinea pigs usually attract rats towards them. Since rats typically scavenge through piles of trash and other areas for food, the untidy environment with uneaten food that your guinea pigs live in can definitely attract them.

With how rats react to the culture of guinea pigs, they might be dangerous to the latter. Rats can then hurt your guinea pigs with their threat of injury.

They can even transmit diseases through their urine, a rate bite, droppings, or other means. The usual infections that your guinea pigs might get are Salmonella, Hantavirus, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), and Leptospirosis.

Unfortunately, guinea pigs cannot keep rats away. For this reason, they become afraid of rats, especially those who are aggressive that guinea pigs cannot stand a chance against them. After all, guinea pigs are dubbed as nervous animals, so when a rat is in the same environment as them, they surely would be scared.

Can Guinea Pigs Live With Rats?

Although guinea pigs and rats share the same order, Rodentia, they can’t even be friends. The two are just not compatible, for they have distinct personalities. So, if you plan to keep both rodent pets in the same cage, you better stop yourself from doing so because they could just not be buddies.

Just because they are both rodents doesn’t mean they can live together. Likewise, just because they are categorized in the same section at a pet store doesn’t mean they should stick with each other. Hence, guinea pigs cannot live with rats at all for several reasons.

Reasons Why Guinea Pigs and Rats Cannot Live Together

These two rodents shouldn’t live together because rats are predators, even to guinea pigs, as prey animals. In fact, guinea pigs are afraid of them, as mentioned previously, so putting them together in one place is a big no.

Although yes, both need to exercise and perhaps love to run, too. Rats and guinea pigs similarly need space to breathe and explore as very inquisitive animals. However, despite their particularly shared similarities, they are still different in so many ways that would be chaotic when put together in the same habitat.

Rats love climbing while guinea pigs should not. As for the same they need, the former needs both height and floor space, while the latter only needs floor space. For their activities, rats can use a wheel of the right size, whereas guinea pigs, regardless of the size, could just not use one because it is dangerous for their backs.

Guinea pigs and rats have completely varying wants and needs and should never live with each other. As a responsible pet owner, you should better house them in a cage separately. Both of them should not stay with their own species, not with a similar species.

Final Thoughts

Now, you have been guided with what the species of guinea pigs is in this article. As learned, guinea pigs, also known as cavy, are a species of rodents that belong to the genus Cavia of the Caviidae family. They resemble cavies for having short limbs, short ears, big heads, and eyes in their robust bodies.

More so, you learned a few of the reasons why guinea pigs are rodents. The primary reasons behind this are these animals’ tendency to gnaw and their two front incisors. Moreover, you also learned with other animals considered rodents besides guinea pigs, such as hamsters, squirrels, mice, porcupines, rats, and many more.

Regardless of what species, may it be rodents like guinea pigs and rats, or other animals, it is essential to keep in mind that all pets deserve to be loved and taken good care of.

No matter how they behave and act, no matter how different they might be, every pet requires one’s affection. So, create a harmonious and cruelty-free environment for pets for them to be worry-free.

Do you want to know if guinea pigs are herbivores? Click this link and find out!

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