Things to consider

Imagine if you were a rabbit, and you had to live with a human – most likely you would spend most of your time in a hutch without any friends and not much room to move about either! Not being able to hop or burrow like you would do if you were in the wild, but just sitting alone with nothing to do but sit, eat and sleep. On the contrary, if you lived in the wild you would be part of a large group of rabbits, living in a tunnel system underground, and time would be spent grooming, nibbling and playing.

Did you know

Rabbits have complex digestive systems. Food is passed through their gut and this is how caecotrophs are produced, rabbits then eat the caecotrophs and the food is re-ingested.

Think About!

As a potential rabbit owner it’s worth considering the following points so you know what a rabbit needs, even if you can’t provide a lot of room or many bunny friends, but there is still a lot you can do to imitate their natural habitat.

  • Time – rabbits can live up to 10 years of age, so they will need daily care, regular checks, vaccinations and a home.
  • Allergies – rabbits need to eat a lot of hay, which may create an allergic reaction, you can try a different type of hay to find the one suitable for you.
  • Rabbit’s character – you need to be aware of the different breeds to make sure you get the right one for you. It important to remember that most rabbits prefer to be sit on the floor than be carried around.
  • Costs of keeping a pet – factor into account check-ups, vaccinations and necessary accessories as well as food and hay.
  • Nutrition – make sure you give your rabbit hay, nuggets and water as soon as you get it home. A rapid change can affect a rabbit, so any changes in their diet need to be introduced gradually. Understanding the important of hay is crucial to the rabbit’s digestive system.
  • Rabbit housing – having a place for the rabbit to live is important, as well as rabbit proofing your home if it will be living indoor. Enough space should be provided so that the rabbit can exercise, a hutch is never enough!
  • Forever friends – rabbits are incredibly social creatures and need company to feel safe, otherwise they can suffer from loneliness when caged up alone. Make sure you understand the conditions under which they should have a bunny friend.
  • ‘Babysitting’ – if you are planning on going away then you need to arrange care for your rabbits.
  • Children – young children should not be left to look after rabbits without adult supervision, sudden movements can distress a rabbit, being a prey animal an adult rabbit can will resist, or fight back if they are frightened or in pain. If they are handled poorly then that can result in injuries, leading to stress and illness.
  • Daily care – rabbits are clean animals by nature, regardless of an indoor or outdoor rabbit, a litter tray must be made available and cleaned a couple of times a week. For a rabbit plenty of good quality hay and grass can help avoid dental problems, with water being replaced daily.
  • Exercise – rabbits need up to 4 hours of exercise per day, especially when they are most active.
  • Regular checks – daily inspections means you’re more likely to spot anything that needs intervention and it can be dealt with sooner. A few things to watch out for is any wounds, running eyes, sudden abscesses, wetness around the nose or the inside of the front paws, urine stains and smelly droppings that are stuck to the fur around the tail.