Rabbits can make great pets but are also, like any animal, a great commitment and have various needs which need to be met in order to ensure their health and happiness. This information is intended to help you provide the best possible life for your bunny and the best possible experience as a bunny owner. So many bunnies end up in rescues after experiences which have been unpleasant both for the owner and the bunny and we hope this information may in some way help to remedy this.
A rabbit, like any animal, has basic needs such as food, water and shelter of which most breeders or pet shops will inform you. What they probably will not tell you are a rabbit’s other needs, which although not necessary for basic survival, enrich a bunny’s life making both bunny and you, happy.
The best gift you can give your rabbit is the gift of company of its own kind. Rabbits are highly social creatures and live in large social groups in the wild. Just because pet rabbits have been domesticated does not mean that they no longer require social contact. Although attention from a human is great, it will never really be enough to satisfy this need, and this is why bunnies are happiest when kept in pairs. The best combination is a neutered male/female pair. The neutering is of course necessary unless you wish to be swamped in baby bunnies in a short space of time but also has health and behavioural benefits too. As a pair, not only will they provide each other with company and play but also, they will groom each other and communicate with each other in a way no human ever could.
Some people house a guinea pig with a rabbit and this is not good for either animal. Guinea pigs are often bullied by rabbits who are usually much bigger and unfortunately are often injured. The rabbit also doesn’t benefit from the company as they are completely different creatures with different habits and don’t even speak the same language! The best company for a rabbit is another rabbit, just as a guinea pig is the best company for a guinea pig.
Thinking about how rabbits live in the wild also provides clues as to the housing and stimulation needs of pet rabbits. Wild rabbits live in large tunnelled homes and forage for food and explore their environment continuously. How boring it must be then for the pet rabbit, trapped in a small enclosure with no opportunity to forage or explore, with their food simply placed in front of them every day. It can be difficult for rabbit owners to duplicate their natural environment, but we can go a long way towards improving their day to day life.