Do Rabbits Get Along With Gerbils and Rats?

My friend Mark has a rabbit ( Netherland Dwarf )and thinks about getting Gerbil. He wants to have Gerbil so much but he is not sure if Rabbit/ Gerbil combination is good, can they live together, do they get along? On the other hand, he was thinking about rats as well. Since I wanted to help him make a good decision, I made a research on this topic.

Rabbits don’t get along very well with either Gerbils or Rats. Rabbits and both rodent breeds have certain similarities but basically, they should never live together. Gerbils are smaller than rabbits, require less space than bunnies. A Rabbit can easily hurt a gerbil even intentionally. In the case of rabbit/ rat combination, precaution is a must if you want to keep both breeds. Never let them play together. Even though a rabbit is larger and can hurt a rat easily, a rat’s bit is really hard plus can transmit numerous diseases to a rabbit, causing a lot of health issues. Although all three breeds are social creatures, require the company of their own species.

Do Rabbits Get Along With Gerbils

This combo rabbits/gerbils is not the best one. The important thing is that you can keep both animals, but you should never keep them in the same habitat. Also bear in mind that both the rabbit and gerbil need a friend of the same species.

Although rabbits and gerbils living together wouldn’t benefit too much from each other company, these two species have certain similarities:

  • Both rabbits and gerbils are very social creatures so they need a company and cannot live alone. For example, gerbil that lives alone may easily show signs of depression.
  • Both species can be trained to use a litter box which can make your life easier.
  • They enjoy digging, both bunnies and gerbils.
  • Although Gerbils are rodents and Rabbits are members of the Lagomorpha family they both have teeth that continuously grow during the whole life.

Despite the similarities, they are two different species and have totally different care requirements.

Housing requirements – rabbits need a lot of space. Gerbils can live in glass tanks or in wire cages but don’t require too much space. It is impossible to place gerbil in rabbit’s hutch as those habitats are usually made of wood and Gerbils would be thrilled to chew that kind of home.

On the other hand, it would be rather cruel to put a rabbit ( no matter the size) in a gerbil’s tank or cage as it would be way too small for him. Rabbits need a wide area to jump, stretch, exercise so they will be sad and depressed in small habitat, that is for sure.

Gerbils like to make tunnels using bedding material, while rabbits prefer to toss it. This rabbit’s natural behavior would demolish the gerbil’s tunnels. I suppose you understand that gerbil wouldn’t be happy at all, he would be very stressed.

Dietary requirements rabbits are herbivores and gerbils are omnivores. If you keep them together make sure food bowls are separated as they cannot be fed with the same kind of food (including pellets). If any species eat the wrong kind of food, it can get sick.

Some people might be afraid that rabbits can eat gerbils but this cannot happen precisely because rabbits eat plant-based food only. But this doesn’t mean that rabbit won’t attack gerbil.

Size difference – Rabbits are bigger and much stronger than gerbils. If attacked, the gerbil can suffer from serious injury or end up dead. As said before, rabbits have very strong back legs which can heavily hurt fragile gerbils. Rabbit can hurt gerbil completely unintentionally if he sits or stands on him.

Interesting thing– if you ask yourself if gerbils and rabbits could get along, we can seek answers in the wild. There is no way that those two species would interact in the wild. 

First of all, they live in totally different parts of the world so they don’t have any chance to run into each other. Gerbils live in Mongolia, parts of Chine, and Russia. Rabbits, on the other hand, live in Europe, the USA, and parts of Australia.

Of course, humans try to do things that are quite impossible in nature. When it comes to rabbits/gerbils match, it is not impossible and their personalities have a big influence on the final outcome. If they are both friendly and easy-going, this could work out.

If you would like them to play together you can give them a chance.

Place a gerbil in his tank or cage and let the bunny wander around, sniff, observe. That way they both get used to each other without any possibility to hurt one another.

As you know both gerbils and rabbits are prey animals. This means that any unfamiliar creature that they run into poses a threat to them. That is why it is better to see and smell each other first and then to let them meet without any cage or tank.

When you decide to do the meeting without a cage, please do choose some neutral territory as they are both territorial.

Provide a hiding place for both species so they can stash if they feel frightened.

It is a good idea to put plenty of toys and some treats all around that neutral area/room. Make sure those treats are safe for both rabbits and gerbils ( for example cauliflower)

Always supervise their interaction, never leave them alone. If you notice that someone is stressed and that fight is on the way, immediately separate the animals and put them back in the safety of their habitats.

Rabbits And Rats

You can keep bunnies and rats in the same room, but according to the experience of many owners of both species, don’t let them play together.

Of course, I am sure you will bump into some cute clips and stories about the eternal friendship between the rabbit and the rat. I am not saying it is false but simply not a standard match. 

Both rabbits and rats are social creatures but look for the company of their own species.

Rabbits are larger than rats and can easily hurt them. On the other hand, rats are unlike rabbits omnivores so in some circumstances they could try to eat a rabbit. This could happen if rats try to defend themselves and hurt the rabbit. Although rats are not so aggressive as other rodents, they might even attack a rabbit during playtime.

In general, rats rarely bite but when they bite, it hurts badly. So that strong bite could hurt the bunny as well.

Rats prefer different kinds of play. For example, they find it amusing to pull out the rabbit’s fur and to make him run. As you suppose, the rabbit doesn’t see anything fun in this. He can kick out the rat causing severe injury.

Rats can transmit different bacteria and fleas to rabbits causing serious health problems. If you have rats, vaccination is obligatory.

Overall there is no problem keeping both animals if you give enough space for each animal. Rabbits like to observe rats playing and eating in their cage but it is better not to let them play together.

Make sure that rabbits cage/hutch/X-pen are secured so rats cannot go inside. Never keep just one animal of each species, they really need a company of their own kind.

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