EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS
It is uncertain what forms excite my love.*
—Ovid, Elegy IV
This cross is poorly documented, but it is also one that would be easy for home researchers to investigate further. The animals in question are small, readily available, and inexpensive. They can also easily be kept together in the same cage. Any well-documented offspring from this cross would be of especial scientific interest because the two parents belong to separate orders (Rodentia and Lagomorpha). If you choose to research this cross, please report your findings to the contact page of this website.
Mating occurs in captivity, both between buck rabbit and female guinea pig, and vice versa. There are also old claims that hybrids of this type have actually been born. In the June 30, 1906 issue of the English magazine The Country-Side, the editor, E. Kay Robinson, gives the following brief response, entitled “Guineapig-Rabbits,” to a letter from a subscriber who, apparently, claimed to have hybrids of this sort:
This brief response prompted another reader, Rev. James Conway Walter, to take the side of Bowey against the editor. Walter was the rector of the village of Langton near Horncastle, vice-president of the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union, and the author of numerous books, including Letters from the Highlands (1859), Forays among Salmon and Deer (1861), Literæ Laureatæ (1890) and Records of Woodhall Spa and Neighbourhood (1899). Walter sent in the following comments, which appeared in the Aug. 11, 1906 issue of The Country-Side (p. 189):
One also encounters more recent allegations of the same sort. For example, the following anonymous comment was left online in response to a YouTube video showing a supposed guinea-pig/rabbit hybrid born in a local pet shop. The video itself was crude and the newborn it pictured could have been the young of almost any animal, but the comment (accessed Apr. 24, 2013), though it does have numerous spelling errors, is of interest:
It is a general phenomenon in mammalian hybridization, in crosses where the mother is smaller than the father (in general, guinea pigs are smaller than rabbits), for the hybrid to overgrow the capacity of the womb, which in many cases will kill the mother if the offspring is not delivered by Caesarean. Other examples are the crosses Peromyscus maniculatus × Peromyscus polionotus and Bison bison × Bos taurus.
By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).
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* Non est certa meos quae forma irritet amores.