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Rabbits are one of the most popular pets, with around 1.5 million kept as pets in the UK according to the last Pet Census in 2011. There are good reasons for this, as rabbits are bright and curious, and can be hugely rewarding as members of your family.
Whether you’re an experienced keeper or looking for your first pet, rabbits are loved for their sociable nature. You can let them live inside your home or outdoors, so their flexibility is another attraction.
Caring for your rabbits
A secure, large hutch and run is an absolute must if your rabbits will be outside, while you should always have hay available to fill the area with. If you’re thinking of getting house rabbits, you need to pet-proof your home by making it as safe as possible. Protect wires, cables and furniture from unwanted attention, and check that your house plants aren’t toxic to rabbits. Then you can let your little friends have free reign of the house and watch them hop around as they please!
Is a rabbit the perfect pet for you?
Rabbits are sociable creatures that can make wonderful pets for experienced pet owners, as they are naturally social, intelligent and inquisitive animals. They should always be kept in pairs and can become friendly and confident around people if gently handled from a young age. If you’re thinking about bringing rabbits into your life, remember they’ll need lots of love and attention from a patient owner. You’ll need to spend plenty of time interacting with them, but what’s not to love about that?
A guide to owning rabbits
Now that you are considering bringing rabbits into your home, it’s important to do your research so you know exactly what to expect if you decide to take the plunge. From how many you should get and the kind of the food they eat, to their lifespan and space requirements, rabbits can be complex creatures that need plenty of prior consideration.
Choosing your rabbits
Rabbits can make great pets for the right owner. As you spend time with them and learn about their quirks, you will see that they have very distinctive personalities and may enjoy spending time with you and other rabbits. Like any animal, you’ll need to decide whether your lifestyle and home is suitable for them.
How long do rabbits live for?
Rabbits can live to around 12 years and will become a lovable part of the family over time. The oldest recorded rabbit lived to just over 17 years old!
Are rabbits good with children?
Rabbits can be good pets for older children. However, an adult will still need to supervise and be responsible for their daily care. All pets can help children to understand more about animals and the natural world.
How much does a rabbit cost?
Initial set-up costs for their hutch can be expensive at first. Of course, there will always be vet bills, bedding and food costs throughout their lives – just be aware of these and make sure you’re able to commit before bringing your new rabbits home.
Caring for rabbits
Care and attention is essential to make sure they’re comfortable living with you – you’ll then start to see their individual personalities shine!
Looking after your rabbits will take up quite a bit of time as they will need cleaning out, feeding and checking every day. Paying them all that love and attention takes time too, but that’s the fun bit!
How much space do rabbits need?
In the wild rabbits live in fields, hedgerows, woodlands and farmland. By their nature, they’re used to the outdoors, so you’ll need to make sure they have a large area at home. If you’re giving them free reign to roam around a room inside, keep it free of any electrical wires and protect any furniture you don’t want chewed. They’ll be very happy if you give them an enclosed run outside!
Their housing could take up a significant area of your house and garden. They can sometimes be a bit destructive so a hutch in the garden is often a good choice, just be sure that they are warm enough during winter.
Do rabbits need lots of company?
Rabbits are happiest when kept in pairs. A good pairing is a neutered male and a neutered female. New partners should be carefully introduced to each other after seeking expert advice and with due care and attention.
Will a rabbit get on with other pets?
Rabbits prefer the company of other rabbits and won’t like encountering predatory animals. They shouldn’t be housed with guinea pigs, they’re known to bully or injure guinea pigs. Note that they both eat slightly different diets too.
What do you do with a rabbit when you go on holiday?
Rabbits can get agitated when travelling and when being introduced to new places, so will probably prefer to stay in their own home when you go away. Arrange with a friend or family member for them to visit and look after them in your absence.