I remember my day’s growing up with a pet rabbit named Twinkie running around the house and being a reliable companion during my childhood.
Cute and fluffy, cuddly and calm, these charming pets are quickly becoming accepted as great animals to keep as pets. Rabbits are quite happy on their own and don’t need constant attention but they are equally as happy being rubbed or receiving affection from their owners or bonding with other rabbits.
Apart from some chewing of wires and digging around the house, there aren’t really too many downfalls to keeping rabbits as pets and their popularity continues to surge with over 7 million pet rabbits now being kept in the United States and these numbers continue to surge.
Rabbits are beautiful Creatures that grow affectionate towards their owners and they have a charming intelligence with distinct personalities that make them adored by their owners all around the world.
How Long Do Rabbits Live And How Big Do They Get
Rabbits are relatively low maintenance which unfortunately leads to them often being bought as an impulse purchase for small kids and occasions like Easter, but you should be prepared for long term ownership as they can if they can live for up to 10 years and sometimes even 12 or 13.
How long they live with ultimately depend on how well they are kept and what breed they are.
Pet rabbits vary greatly in size, they can be as little as 8 inches long all the way up to 20″ depending on the breed.
They can be about the same size as a cat and some of the giant breeds can be even larger.
The larger breeds can weigh up to Almost 5 or 6 kg and these include the Checkered giant, the Flemish giant, the giant chinchilla and the Giant Papillon.
Smaller breeds can weigh as little as 1 to 2 kgs or 2 to 3 pounds and these include the Netherland dwarf, dwarf hotot and the Himalayan which can grow to about 4 or 5 Pounds.
What breed you get will depend on your personal preferences but we tend to favour the smaller ones as they are more cute and cuddly.
Do Rabbits Make Good Beginner Pets
Rabbits make very good beginner pets, you can leave them to free roam around the house or you can have a cage to keep them in. The biggest thing is you’ll have to worry about are feeding them, keeping them groomed and Rabbit proofing your home.
Rabbits shouldn’t be bought as an impulse and they require the same amount of care as a small puppy or a cat and you should be prepared to live with this animal for approximately 10 years +.
They’re cute, affectionate, intelligent animals that will pride themselves in navigating hurdles that were setup to block them, hiding around the house, digging around and becoming an integral part of the family.
Do Rabbits Bond With Their Owners – Are They Affectionate?
Rabbits bond very closely with their owners, they are social creatures that like to interact with other rabbits and with the humans in their lives.
They are intelligent creatures that will even learn to respond to their own name over time and they can follow their owner around from room to room looking for attention and affection.
Rabbits all have different personalities, some are extroverted and playful and others will be introverted and shy, choosing to hide most of the time and avoid any potentially dangerous situations, so you should spend as much time as possible getting to know the particular rabbit that is best for you before you take them home.
Can I Keep More Than One Rabbit Together?
Rabbits will love to interact with each other so you are advised to get more than one rabbit so that they can play with each other or else you will need to be their main companion which is also fine, once ypou are not out of the house all the time.
Rabbits will need companionship and attention for a few at least a few hours a day and if you can’t be around all the time then it is best to have another rabbit so that they can keep each other company.
One thing that you need to know about keeping rabbits together is that they are very active sexually. Rabbits can give birth every 30 days and they can produce litters of between 4 and 12 baby rabbits at a single time.
If you’re keeping a male and a female together then it is best to have them desexed so you don’t end up with an army of pets that you need to adopt, as rabbits are quite abundant already.
Once they are desexed or neutered, male rabbits we’ll fight less amongst each other, both male and female rabbits will continue to fight with each other so it’s best to keep them in different hutches or cages to avoid too many confrontations breaking out.
What Do Rabbits Eat?
Rabbits are herbivores which means that they only eat plant matter, fruits and vegetables. They love a bit of lettuce or cabbage and they can also eat hay.
Having a continuous supply of food is very important for your rabbit as it keeps their teeth from growing too long and a good diet will also ensure that your rabbit stays healthy.
What vegetables and fruits your rabbit will like depends on their individual digestive systems.
You can find a complete list of safe foods here:
Some food options include:
Kale, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, celery, cucumber, peppers and asparagus.
Some of their favourite fruits include:
Blueberries, Banana, apple, melon and strawberry.
When you feed them a new food item, make sure they’re stool doesn’t go soft the next day and you can learn which foods suit them and which don’t.
They will also try foods that are poisonous to them without hesitation, so it is up to you to protect them.
Check out full list of toxic plants for your pet rabbits here:
What Habitats Do House Rabbits Need?
Rabbits in the wild will usually stick to forests, meadows and grasslands where they can find plenty of food to keep them nourished and plenty of hiding places to find cover from the predators that hunt them as prey animals.
In the household, rabbits need a large hutch or cage that is 3 times the length of their bodies stretched out and twice as wide. Anything smaller will lead to them getting cramped.
Rabbits can also be left to free roam around the house once the house is Bunnie proofed and there is nothing around that could cause them harm or danger.
Rabbits are intelligent enough to use litter quite easily once they are spayed or neutered beforehand and it is probably best to keep a fresh litter within the rabbit’s hutch and around the house for them to use easily.
As prey animals, rabbits like to hide when they get scared so provide plenty of places around the house and a hiding space in their hutch is best practice so that they can hide and feel comfortable when threatened.
Toys For Your Pet Rabbit
You should also get plenty of toys for your pet rabbits to play with, they generally like places they can hide so pet tunnels are a great option and they also love to dig so you want to get them good digging toys and some large balls that they can push around and chew on to keep their teeth short and sharp.
How To Rabbit Proof Your Home
Rabbits love to chew and dig around and the biggest issue here is going to be your wires and even clothing meaning you need to make sure they are kept hidden and unaccessible to your bunny.
You also need to be aware that rabbits are experts at getting past any blockades that are put in their way to try and stop them, you need to be extra careful that they are secured properly.
Another great way to ensure this is to provide them with their own toys that they can play with so they dont get bored enough to get destructive with your important items.
How Often Should I Clean My Rabbit’s Cage Or Hutch
You should generally make a habit of cleaning your rabbit’s hutch two to three times per week to make sure they have fresh litter, fresh bedding and to clear out any dirt and mess that may have formed so that your rabbits can have a comfortable clean and healthy living space where they can enjoy spending time.
Do Rabbits Smell?
Rabbits are exceptionally clean animals that don’t generally smell unless you leave them for a long time without changing their bedding or litter which will lead to some smelling up as will be the case with any animal.
Once you keep the environment clean and fresh then the smell of rabbits isn’t something that should put you off owning one.
Do Rabbits Like The dark?
Rabbits do not mind the dark as they are used to hiding in dark places. You should try to provide a balance between light and dark to keep your rabbits body clock in order and you can easily do this by placing a cloth over your rabbit’s hutch when they are are to go to sleep at night, just remember to leave it open so that they can breathe.
Do Rabbits Get Along With Cats And Dogs
Even though rabbits are prey animals, once early socialisation happens, cats and dogs will generally have no problem accepting a rabbit as part of the family and once they are taught from an early age they should leave the rabbit alone then they can actually bond with each other as well.
If you have a larger dog that isn’t used to rabbits, it probably wouldn’t be a good choice to leave the two in the house unsupervised, especially dogs that have been bred to hunt or guard as their instincts might kick in naturally.
Can Rabbits Be Left Alone During The Day?
Rabbits do need some companionship every day whether that’s with another rabbit or with a human and their most active times will be in the early morning or in the late afternoon and evening so rabbits can be a perfect pet for someone that works in an office from 9 to 5 as long as you get some good interactive time with them before or after work, to avoid making them cranky and depressed.
Can They Be Left Alone For A Weekend
While it’s not ideal to leave a rabbit for more than 2 days, it is possible provided that they have enough food and water to keep them going in your absence.
If you could get someone to check on them each day when you were away like a pet sitter, that will be ideal but even if that’s not possible you should be fine to leave them home in a safe environment with plenty of food and water to keep them going.
This will be even easier if they have another rabbit to keep them company.
Can Rabbits Die Of Loneliness Or A Broken Heart?
Yes, rabbits can die of loneliness or a broken heart. On many occasions, when rabbits lose their bonded partners, fellow rabbits or humans they can quickly go into a depression and have often been seen to die within a couple of days, presumably of a broken heart, which is something you hopefully dont have to deal with, but rabbits are known to die suddenly on occasion.
Can Rabbits Die Of Fright?
Rabbits are prey animals so they are used to being chased down by foxes and other predators. If they hear loud noises like dogs barking that they are not used to they can become extremely frightened, get a heart attack and die, so yes it is possible for rabbits to die of fright and they will usually let out a scream before they die, due to their bodies programming.
Can Rabbits Die From Being Wet?
Rabbits can die from being wet, they do not like water and their fur can hold a lot of wetness in which will give them hypothermia and cause them to die. Rabbits are delicate creatures and if they do get wet then the best thing to do is make sure they are dried off as quickly as possible.
Do Rabbits Bite?
Yes, rabbits are prone to biting when they are angry or frustrated and while it is not a common occurrence, it is something that can happen. Rabbits might also mistake your finger for some food and bite down on it not knowing.
Rabbits do have sharp teeth and a bite can hurt even leading to bleeding at times, they are generally not more serious than this but it is something that you should keep in mind and you can discipline the rabbit not to do it again by shouting their name in disapproval or else pushing its nose down to the ground to show that they have misbehaved.
Rabbits are sweet, cute, affectionate and intelligent animals that can be ideal for beginner pet owners but just keep in mind that they do live for up to 10 or even 12 years and this is a long-term commitment.
It’s easy to rescue a bunny as there are plenty waiting to be adopted due to their high levels of breeding.
Make sure you spend some time getting to know your pet rabbit before you bring them home to make sure that your personalities match and that you can provide a good home for the rabbits long term.
It’s also best to get more than one rabbit so that they are bonded companions just make sure they are not male and female and not desexed as this can lead to rampant reproduction.