Animal Island

Bunny, guinea pig need their own space



Q. My children have a lop-eared bunny and a guinea pig, and when they are out of their cages together, they seem to get along just fine. Right now they are each in their own cage right next to each other. I was wondering if we could just get one larger cage and keep them both in it.

Getting different species to live together is my specialty, but this is one situation where each pet should have its own cage.

Although they may enjoy each other’s company when they are out of the cage, I have found that when kept together long term, many rabbits get annoyed by guinea pigs’ nudgings and pushes. I also have noticed that guinea pigs will chew on a rabbit’s fur.

Diet is also an issue. Yes, they both enjoy fresh greens, vegetables and hay, but the pelleted foods you give to them are different. The ones for guinea pigs contain vitamin C, and it’s very important for this species. Pellets for rabbits have a lot more fiber, without which rabbits can get all sorts of digestive issues. Both animals have different protein requirements, too.Q. Some members of my family spend too much on sweaters and coats for our two Maltese, and the dogs do not seem happy in these color-coordinated outfits. My family insists the dogs will be too cold outside without the sweaters. Is this true?

The Maltese was bred to be a house pet in the Mediterranean, where winters are mild. The breed does have a long, flowing coat, but it is not designed to insulate against cold weather. They need some sort of sweater or coat in northern winters. I cannot comment on how much the garb should cost or what color it should be, as long as it keeps the dogs warm and is easy to put on and take off. Q. We set up a bird feeder close to our kitchen window and have enjoyed seeing the chickadees and nuthatches. Lately, a small brown hawk has taken to snatching a bird from it every afternoon. The little birds seem to be unaware of what is happening and go right back to the feeder after the hawk is gone. What can we do?

This situation is natural, and the wild bird population can handle it just fine, as long as their habitat is secure. I can see how this may upset you, though, and if you want the hawk to move on to another person’s backyard for its daily meal, all you need to do is take the feeder down for a week or so.

Marc Morrone is a Long Island pet dealer and television host. Dr. Patty Khuly’s Dr. Dolittler column will return next week.

Read more Pets stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category