Rabbits and Their Needs

Rabbits can have a good long life, living for 8-12 years. Breeds of rabbits vary in size, personality, and body shape. Rabbits are extremely social animals, so if you get only one bunny they will need human companionship or they will become depressed and develop abnormal behaviors.

Rabbits form social structures, like most other animals in your home. If your rabbits are from the same litter then introduction will not be necessary. If you are bringing two rabbits together for the first time have them separated with bunny wire so they can sniff one another and become acquainted.

Introduce the two rabbits in a space new to both rabbits. Make the space large enough to run and hide (provide boxes with holes and other hiding spaces) and watch. You may see a skirmish or two. Like other animals, a pecking order will be established. Neutering and spaying reduces the likelihood of fighting in both bucks and does.

The Basics

Food and Water

Good quality hay (Timothy Hay) should always be available. Their digestive systems require the hay to function properly. Hay is more important than pellets, but have pellets available in a dish for them to munch.

Washed leafy green vegetables/herbs should be given daily. Some plants are poisonous, so google for a list of safe rabbit greens.

Rabbits do not eat cereals, root vegetables or fruit naturally. So root vegetables (carrots) and fruit should only be in small amounts as occasional treats. No lawnmower clippings or sudden changes in diet ~ these can upset the digestive system causing illness.

Rabbit’s top front teeth grow 3mm every week. Hay and leafy green plants help wear down and keep their teeth at the correct length.

Fresh water available continuously. Rabbits can become seriously ill without fresh clean water.

 

Shelter/Hiding spaces/Exercise/Toys

A rabbits living environment needs to be large enough for them to stand up on their back legs, hop around, run and play. Without the opportunity to exercise rabbits become bored and suffer ~ mentally and physically. An enclosed section (with one small opening) should have bedding or hay for comfort during sleep times.

 They need a large area to forage and be social. Early morning and late afternoon are when rabbits are most active. If your rabbit is caged, having a rabbit friendly exercise area should be available. Include safe hiding places, toys, hay and water.

In your home, the bunny area should have a place for them to relax and hide, but be near your family. If your bunny has free reign in the house, you will need to do some bunny proofing. They will chew on wires, cables, and frays in your carpets. Have toys available for them to chew on, toss and play with. Plastic baby keys, wiffle balls, empty paper towels rolls, and cardboard boxes with holes to run in and out of will keep them occupied

Rabbits are intelligent and will use a litter box. They sell high back ones at the pet stores. Use shredded newspapers, or natural wood/paper litter. Never use clumping litter. It will cause digestive problems.

Rabbits can also be trained to follow simple commands. Use positive reward-based training.