It’s tempting to want a rabbit when looking at their twitching noses, soft fur, and iconic ears. Bringing any new animal into your family is a big decision and not every animal is right for each home. Here are 10 things to know before adopting a rabbit – after all, they’re not goldfish!
Rabbits can live for 8-12 years
It’s important to consider a rabbit’s lifespan and the commitment you are making to care for this animal and their needs during those years. Rabbits are the third most common animal abandoned and brought to an animal shelter. Be sure that this is a permanent decision for you and that you are ready to take on a hoppy friend.
Rabbit-proofing your home
Before they hop into your home, you will need to either have a designated room, rabbit hutch, or large cage for them to claim. The Pet-Lodge® Rabbit Hutch Kit comes complete with everything you need to get started with your new furry friend. The kit includes:
- Rust-resistant, chew-proof wire mesh hutch
- Metal clips and special pliers to assemble the hutch
- Plastic dropping pan and frame kit to attach the pan under the hutch
- Galvanized metal sifter-bottom feeder with lid
- 32-ounce (1-quart) plastic water bottle
Some people allow their rabbits to roam free in their home. Regardless of the space, it is necessary to rabbit-proof your area to ensure they cannot chew on anything potentially harmful like cords. You can also protect your furniture by getting coverings, barriers, and chewing deterrent spray.
Rabbits aren’t always great pets for kids
Rabbits are prey animals meaning that they are easily startled by loud noises and quick movements. They don’t like to be constantly picked up as it frightens them which can be hard for kids to understand and respect. They also tend to not like to cuddle, so if you do choose to bring one into your home it is best to interact with them when laying on the floor and letting them come to you. In the moments that you must pick up your rabbit, be sure to learn how to properly pick them up and hold them as their spines are very fragile and improper handling can cause serious injuries.
Rabbits like being with other rabbits
Rabbits are social creatures that need constant company of their own kind, so they don’t get lonely. Having another rabbit provides them with companionship and reduces stress. However, not all rabbits get along, so it is important to introduce your rabbits on neutral territory to ensure they will bond. Check out this guide to learn more on bonding your bunnies.
Rabbits need a lot of exercise
Rabbits are very active animals that need room to run and binky (jump and twist in the air expressing they are happy). They will need either an exercise pen, enclosed outdoor area, or rabbit-proofed room to be able to run and roam.
Rabbits need a well-balanced diet
Contrary to common belief, rabbits require a varied and healthy diet – more than just unlimited carrots. Rabbits need a good intake of hay, like timothy or biome, to help keep their intestinal tract healthy. Make sure that there will always be easy access to unlimited hay. A smaller portion of their diet should include fresh vegetables and even occasional fruit. Check out this guide on what to feed your bunny and what to avoid.
Rabbits’ teeth never stop growing
You will have to always provide hay and wooden toys because rabbits’ teeth grow constantly! Without having food and toys to chew on, their teeth could overgrow causing pain which could result in them not eating and even starving.
Rabbits need their home cleaned regularly
Just like humans, rabbits like a clean home to live in. If using a cage, make sure to clean it once or twice a week to ensure their home is sanitary and odor free. A drop pan can fit under the cage and pull out making cleaning easy. Rabbits have an excellent sense of smell, so any outstanding odor can make them sick.
Rabbits need constant grooming and coat care
Routine brushing helps keep rabbits’ coats clean and free from mats. For the most part, your rabbit will keep themselves groomed. It is not recommended to bathe your rabbit as this may cause them to go into shock and catch a chill which can cause pneumonia.
Rabbits have unique health concerns
Rabbits require a special veterinarian that are experts on lagomorphs which can be more expensive and more difficult to find near you. Like all animals, they are more susceptible to their own set of unique health conditions. Be sure you fully understand common conditions found in rabbits, so you can know what warning signs to look for. Always take them for routine veterinary appointments.
If you are considering adopting a new hoppy companion, be sure to check out this Complete Rabbit Checklist to understand what supplies you will be needing to get. You can see our full line of Rabbit & Small Animal products here.