Rat Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Some of my friends are away on vacation, and we are taking care of their pets. They have guinea pigs, and I have to admit they are really cute! My dad suggesting getting guinea pigs as pets, which would be great, but they would be instead of the girl ratties I've been anticipating for a while.

Which brings me to my question-rats or guinea pigs? I really want a smart, easy to train, lovable, bonding small pet, and-XD-I just realized what I typed is describing rats, but I don't know... There is something very attractive about the clunky, awkward build of guinea pigs, and the fact that they can't climb-massive playpen in the family room, right!

So, I suppose I want people who have had rats and guinea pigs to give me their evaluation on the piggies and compare them to rats, if thats alright. I'm really torn between the two and I don't want to get a pet I'm not sure about, you know? I've loved ratties for so long, and looking forward to getting a pair of girls for a while now, but now I don't really know. I don't want to get a pet that doesn't bond and I love rats so much but I'm kinda falling for the pigs.

If only my parents would let me have both... :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
Hey there, I have five rats and two piggies and as much as i love the pigs, rats win out for me.

The differences are:

-Rats will bond with you more and enjoy being handled more than guinea pigs (my guinea pigs are tame but it's not the same level of returned affection as you get with rats)
-Rats are easier to train, I've trained every rat i've ever had to poop in a litter tray but I've had my piggies for two years now and i swear it's impossible
-On that note, Guinea pigs poop WAY MORE than rats, seriously, they poop alot and if you combine that with the lack of litter training it means daily spot cleans can take a while.
-If you're going on indoor pets, then rat cages technically take up less room, less floor space anyway, as they can have tall cages with lots of room to make use of while piggies need flat space to match their natural habitat.
-Rats are a lot less noisy than guinea pigs, your parents may regret their decision to let you have piggies once they hear how noisy they are.

However, on the other hand:

-Guinea pigs live longer than rats, so you can spend more time with them before they pass away
-Guinea pigs are pretty simply to care for compared to rats, they're too big to squeeze into the same small spaces as rats are and they're more likely to sit still if you're looking for a lap pet.
-While noisy, the sounds they make are pretty adorable, mine actually respond to me when they hear more calling 'piggies' and coming upstairs at their dinner time.
-Their pee and poop seems to smell less than rats

So, i guess now you have to make the decision for yourself. It's always a hard one, if i could i'd have every animal in the world!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,390 Posts
Well i would chose rats because in my experiencxe they are smarter easeier to train, easier to introduce a third or however many you want and they are in my experience again easier to tame. but guinea pigs do live longer and are less prone to getting cancer. i like rats better but dont get me wrong guinea pigs are great pets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,871 Posts
I have both and they are both great pets. It really just depends on what you are looking for in a pet. If you want something that you watch more then interact with I'd say go for the guinea pig, if you want a pet that is very hands on & interactive go with rats.

I agree with everything Jess said.

My guinea pigs get so happy & excited for food that it could melt anyones heart. I LOVE the noises they make, it is just adorable. You need an extremely large cage for guinea pigs (in floor space). They also need to be kept in groups like rats too. They are called pigs for a reason- they want to eat and eat and eat omg. And yes the poop, so so so much poop. They are nothing but poop machines. It was quite a shock when I first got them lol You will need space for a good amount of hay and it will get everywhere & probably drive u crazy. But hay smells really good to me lol But if u have allergies it can be a bit much.

It is not impossible but very rare to have a pig that wants to be picked up or really loving I guess. I felt sad that my guys were not warming up to me after so much effort. They would eat from my hands but still ran from me. On all the guinea pig groups I joined they were like yeah that is just how guinea pigs are. I have seen people get their pigs to sit calmly on their lap and cuddle but there is still a huge difference in rats vs guinea pigs in human interaction.

I suggest these sites for some more info on them:
http://www.guineapigcages.com/
http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/index.php
https://www.facebook.com/groups/663237273725239/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
I have both because we just couldn't choose! I think the rats are much more fun, the guinea pig is more like a giant hamster. He's still pretty nervous though, pretty much runs from everything he sees and wriggles/scratches if you try to handle him. The clean up is a bit more involved, as my rats are litter trained. Personally, I prefer the rats and so do my kids, since they interact more. I'm sure of if you had a guinea pig and spent lots of time with it, it would form a bond as well, but they are solely prey animals and will generally be a bit more flighty and fearful. The closest thing I can compare them to is a rabbit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
624 Posts
I have 2 guinea pigs and 10 rats.

Rats win.

My 2 fur pigs are stinkier than my 10 rats put together.
In my opinion, they're much harder to socialize than rats.

They're just not as fun for me.

Guinea pigs also need a minimum space of at LEAST 7.5 square feet to live a happy life. Plus, it's hard to know if you're pleasing them. They have so many more vocal queues than rats have and it can get confusing.

I only took these fur pigs in because they were being treated poorly and I just don't have the bond with them as I have with my mischief.

Plus, fur pig urine is gross... you can feel it seep into your clothing, unlike rats.
Hahha.. I'm probably biased.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Sounds like you want rats but like the look of guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs aren't that interactive. As a pet, at their best, they will sit quietly in your lap like a lap dog, but they will pee/poop all over you. That urine stinks. Some people really love them, but they're not easy to train.

They're very dirty animals. I know someone with a whole herd of them. The two more dominant of the pigs will often run at the others with his leg up and pee on the others to mark them. Once one got a bad fungus infection from it and had to go to the vet. The combination of stress and fungus caused the guinea pig to suffer seizures for months. Eventually with many treatments and separation from the dominant guinea pig it recovered.
Someone else had three, and one day she came home to a cage covered in blood, because the other two had turned on the other and suddenly killed it, even though they had grown up with each other all their life. They need supervision more than other pets, because they have an incredibly strong herd/hierarchy based way of thinking and will always be changing their herd dynamics, even if its just two. They will challenge each other and it can end badly if you don't notice what's happening and separate them before it gets bloody. If you give them tons of space like they really need, I think this would happen less, but part of it is in their nature. When they fight, they fight to the death. That's just how they are. I know another woman with guinea pigs (lots of people have them in my area) and she woke up to a horrible loud sound, like a wild animal chattering and gnashing its teeth. She followed the sound to the guinea pig cage- the guinea pigs were baring their teeth and had their hair raised up. She separated them just in time. These were elderly pigs that had were brothers and had lived their entire lives together without a problem- one day, in the middle of the night, they just snapped.

It sounds like a bunch of bad experiences... It is.
They're a lot of work and you only get a little in return. They rarely bond with humans. I don't mean to bash on guinea pigs, but they're kind of like fish or turtles... They want you to just hand them the food and leave them alone. They'll tolerate handling but they'll never really like it. They like their own kind.

I know they're popular, but I could never recommend them as a pet. If you want something a little bigger than a rat, get a rabbit. Much nicer, and you can litter-train it and let it free-roam your house like a dog or cat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
908 Posts
I've had both.. I had my GPs for about a year, then had to rehome them due to an allergy to their hay which developed while I was keeping them. After I rehomed them, I decided to get rats instead because they don't need hay.
There are pros and cons to each... I'll try to list some areas in which they are different and my take on it. Just to be clear, I had a herd of 3 female GPs, and I now have 2m / 6f rats.

1. Personality
GPs: Are prey animals and naturally afraid of things "coming from above", they don't seem to enjoy being petted or picked up as much as rats can. They are very social and must be in a group like rats, and have very fun / interesting group behaviors that you can watch. They are quite active in the day time and seem to sleep most of the night.
Rats: More interactive and trainable than GPs, seem to enjoy attention more. Have less interesting group behavior (IMO) than GPs, so not as fun to watch them play. Seem to mostly be active at dusk and dawn and at night.

2. Time needs
GPs: Are quite happy with little interaction time, but need time in a larger "run" or playpen outside of their cage each day. Cage cleaning time... More on a daily basis (they poop constantly and I would sweep up their cage at least 1x a day)
Rats: Require more interaction on a daily basis to remain tame and friendly... Cage cleaning time is a toss up depending on how many you have and if they are litter trained, but I'd say a little less than GPs

3. Diet
This is a big one that I don't think has been covered.
GPs: Need a varied diet with fresh veggies daily, hay and pellets daily. Can be expensive to feed (due to veggies). Need vitamin C from food.
Rats: Can survive very well on commercially produced quality lab block. Can supplement with fresh veggies and seed mix, but it's not necessary.

4. Smell, etc.
GPs: Poop constantly.. and also pee a lot. I'd wager a GP poops about 10x the amount of a rat in a single day. That said, their poop / pee does not smell nearly as bad as a rat's... I could go 2 weeks (when using fleece) before I had to do a wash with my GPs... Compare that to my rats. When they were on fleece, I had to change it out every 4 days to keep the smell tolerable.
They do make a huge mess with their hay... It gets everywhere, so if you're a neat freak, this could be a downside.

Rats: Can somtimes be littertrained, but will still pee everywhere and their pee / feces smells more. Do not make as much of a mess with food as the GPs do.

Cages / furnishings
GPs: Need a large flat cage... at least 4'x2'... The bigger the better. Can be kept on fleece, don't seem to destroy cage furnishings very much.

Rats: Need a large cage, but can climb, so can do a vertical cage. Can be kept on fleece, but I've had better smell results with aspen. They tend to destroy their cage furnishings and fleece more than GPs, so be prepared to spend more $$ on furnishings.

Overall: If you want them to mostly watch and enjoy their interactions and if you have the room and time to sweep up massive amounts of poo, I'd do GPs. If you really want an affectionate pet that enjoys contact with you, go with the rats, just be prepared to do more frequent cage bedding cleanouts. If you want to spend more time interacting and less time cleaning, the rats would be a good choice... As I said, I had to vac / sweep up cage and playpen area daily with the GPs, they were fun to watch and hear though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
996 Posts
3. Diet
This is a big one that I don't think has been covered.
GPs: Need a varied diet with fresh veggies daily, hay and pellets daily. Can be expensive to feed (due to veggies). Need vitamin C from food.
Rats: Can survive very well on commercially produced quality lab block. Can supplement with fresh veggies and seed mix, but it's not necessary.
That's a great point not a lot of people tend to take into consideration! Way back when, when I was first considering rats, I was also debating about getting GPs instead. Part of the reason I decided against GPs was the fact that they needed veggies fixed every single day... That was daunting to me. Though, nowadays, I fix my rats fresh greens nearly every day. XD

More recently, I've been reconsidering guinea pigs and here are the only two reasons I've pretty much still decided against it

1. Sound. They make a LOT of noise. My rats are very quiet and even when they make sound, it's not annoying. I'm very sound-sensitive.
2. The poop. SO MUCH POOP. I can't stand the smell of poop and it seems like, as artgecko said, they poop a LOT.

Aside from that, I really like guinea pigs. They are adorable and I've seen some that are very interactive and even acted like a dog, such as jumping up on a couch to cuddle with its' owner. I also like that they don't climb, so they are easier to contain than rats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
908 Posts
Yeah... I was buying probably 1 head of lettuce, and 3-4 bell peppers every week, plus herbs like parsley for the GPs.. It would take me time to pre cut everything each week... It was only really a big deal when we couldn't go to the store once in a while or when we'd go out of town ... I'd have to leave loads of food prepped with specific instructions for the GPs...even more so than my cat lol.
FallDeere- In their defense, the GP poos, although many, are not nearly as smelly as rat poo and are harder (if they are fed properly) and dry... so easier to clean. But still, it was loads of poo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
I've had 3 guinea pigs and 8 rats. I like rats way more, but then again, I live in Australia where it's rare to have guinea pigs inside, mine lived on the patio, so I didn't have a bunch of time to bond with them. And my piggies ate A LOT of food, and tried chewing through the hutch multiple times. Oh well, they lived long happy lives and I gave them all I can.

Rats can sit on my shoulder though, and they seem a lot more intelligent imo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Rats and guinea pigs are both great pets but rats have so many more upsides then downsides compared to guinea pigs. Such as rats are a lot more social, you can train rats, you can have a lot more toys that the rat will play with,and rats have less dietary needs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
I love my little piggies. I have five male Guinea pigs (plus a rabbit who kept breaking into the Guinea pig pen until I let him live with them). They're a lot more skittish than rats, but settle once I'm holding them. Two of mine even purr if you scratch them in the right spot. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen. They also live longer than rats and smell...about the same. They need a lot of leg room though and different levels are less of an option because they're super clumsy. If they have more than one level the upper level/shelves need high sides to prevent them from falling. C&C cages (wire grids with the kind of plastic used on political signs as a floor) tend to be the cheapest cage for more than two. Midwest makes an expandable habitat with wire sides and a tent-fabric sort of bottom that works pretty well, isn't that expensive on Amazon, and is sized nicely for two piggies. They eat hay (orchard grass, Timothy, oat hay, Bermuda hay, etc), the more variety the better, and a bit of Timothy pellets (sometimes this is optional if a lot of hay is added, but since Guinea pigs can't produce vitamin c and many pig diets are fortified with vitamin c it's much easier than supplimenting them separately), plus fresh fruits and veggies. Even rats do better with fresh fruits and veggies as well as actual seeds and good quality grains added to their diet they can live on blocks the way Guinea pigs can live on hay and pellets, but they do much better with fresh veggies and a bit of fresh fruit. So basically, the only con I've found to them is they are a lot less personable to human beings, but are definitely still social to each other the way rats are, and with daily one on one work, could be just as cuddly as a rat. Unlike a rat, if you can't take them out for a week, they won't necessarily stay so cuddly. They're a bit more high maintenance, but they live longer and tend to be healthier. Not that I'd trade one for the other, hence why I have both, but there ya go xD
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
I have had both guinea pigs and ratties and in my opinion guinea pigs are great but ratties are better. Guinea pigs eat way more food needing hay and pellets on top of veggies and they don't produce their own vitamin c so you would need to suppliment for that. Rats definitely don't live as long but they bond much closer to you then a guinea pig will. Guinea pigs at least in my opinion make more noise especially when they get excited i had a giant cage so i could hear them tearing there the cage all night. Rats are more loud at night but mine are in my living room so i'm not sure about exactly how loud they are but on my nights off they are not very loud and I have 7 right now. Both make a huge mess you can litter train both but rats are easier but with some determination guinea pigs will learn as well. Rats are better in my opinion but guinea pigs are great also. Just like rats come in many different fur and color types so don't worry there. I loved my guinea pigs and hated having to give them up when I left for college a few years ago but I don't think i would ever trade my ratties for guinea pigs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
I agree with pretty much everything people have said about Guinea Pigs except the handling part. Guinea Pigs can and do get used to being handled it just takes longer more consistent training for them to remember you aren't going to eat them. Their first reaction though is most always going to be "eeep its going to eat me" but the longer you have them the shorter those reactions last. It took a long time but I eventually taught my pigs to walk onto my cupped hands when I said "up" for example. After that picking them up was way less stressful for everyone and they came to love lap and floor time pretty quickly.

I had several pigs. Carson though was very chill about everything because I had handled him everyday since he was a baby. He even came with me to library story time quite often to talk about Guinea Pigs and how to properly care for them. I attached pictures of us hanging out watching TV and he also liked to snuggle in my sweatshirt when it was cold. He was just a month short of 9yrs when he died.

He and the other Pigs play with each other and have distinct personalities but I agree its not quite the same level of interaction as rats. Rats are much more work to keep them happy in my opinion but I like both.

If you want more info this site is amazing. http://www.guinealynx.info
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Hm, that's a tough question. I have two guinea pigs, and am anticipating two rats. For me, guinea pigs are a lot easier to supervise, because they don't jump or climp, so there's less chance of them escaping. Guinea pigs also really just enjoy cuddling, but that just might be mine. However, I've found guinea pigs to be quite skittish of people and not as sociable. They do live longer, but they also aren't as interested in you. It's your choice though!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
I'd say rats. My dad owned guinea pigs as a kid and he says they were very loud and messy, I also don't think guinea pigs really enjoy snuggling as much. Rats also are easier to accommodate, the cages usually take up less space since they're taller rather than larger at base. Guinea pigs are also a bigger commitment pet, as they have longer lifespans and need much more vet care.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
My friend Diana has had Guinea Pigs for years. She loves them, but they require a lot of space and have a lot more dietary needs. Hers have been relatively healthy, however. After her current guinea pigs are gone, she wants rats.

As for me personally, I prefer rats. Her guinea pigs are cute but they don't love being handled like some/most rats do. They don't seem to really know her or seek out her companionship like my rats do. Rats are smarter and I like pets that like me, if that makes sense.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top