There are many you things that you need to consider if you are thinking about getting a pet rabbit. Rabbits make wonderful indoor and outdoor pets but they do require time, money and affection. Long gone are the days that we thought a rabbit was a suitable pet for a child to look after, we now know that rabbits are intelligent, curious creatures who need a responsible adult to be their primary care giver. You have a legal duty under the Animal Welfare Act 06 to ensure your pets are well looked after.
Below are a few facts about rabbits that you need to know if you would like to share your home with these wonderful, fluffy creatures.
- Rabbits live for around 10 to 12 years. That’s years of vet bills, food bills, cleaning and ensuring that your rabbit is as healthy and happy as possible! Rabbits should not be left alone for long periods of time as they need food and fresh water. They should not be locked away in a hutch all day. You will have to consider this if you are working or want to go away on holiday – who is going to look after your pet?
- Rabbits are social animals. They should be kept in neutered pairs or groups as that is how they would live in the wild. Research has shown that rabbits that are kept alone may become stressed or lonely.
- Don’t keep rabbits and guinea pigs together. Rabbits can can carry diseases that are harmful to guinea pigs.
- Rabbits need to eat a diet of at least 85% feeding hay. Feeding hay and grass aids their digestion, dental health and behaviour. They also enjoy daily leafy vegetables and greens such as mint and kale, as well as small amounts of commercial feed.
- Do not keep your rabbit locked in a hutch or small cage for long periods. Hutches should only be used to rest or sleep in. Rabbits are very active creatures that need space to exercise and dig in order to stay physically well and strong.
- Rabbits are curious and intelligent creatures. They need stimulating toys to play with and can easily get bored of the same scenery. Try to switch around their home every now and then and provide them with fun new toys.
- Rabbits are very timid. They are a prey species so it will take time to build their trust. As they are so timid they like to have somewhere to hide, this could be an open hutch that they can bolt in to or a small kennel that they can hide in.
- Rabbits don’t like cuddles! Although they are very affectionate, rabbits like to stay firmly on the ground. Picking them up for too long or too often will only stress them out.
- Rabbits can be expensive pets! They need safe and secure living quarters, as well as somewhere safe to run around, which can cost up to several hundred pounds! They also need good quality feed, as well as fresh greens, bedding for their home and lots of toys to play with! Then there are medical bills and dental bills and don’t forget as rabbits should be kept in pairs all these costs are doubled!
So keeping a rabbit is going to be costly, you are also going to have to give up a lot of time to care and provide for your rabbits, but it is rewarding! They offer fantastic friendship and are adorable, loving creatures.