Are you ready for a rabbit?
While bunnies may look like adorable low-maintenance pets, there’s a few things to consider before adopting one.
Traditionally, rabbits were kept in small hutches – this stems from when they were farmed for food. To give your pet rabbit a happy healthy life, they need significantly more space than a small hutch. The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund recommends that any hutch should allow the rabbit to take at least three hops and lie stretched out. In practice this means a minimum of 6ft x 2ft. This could be a large hutch with a permanent run, a converted shed, a penned off area of your house, or even a whole room.
Despite what Bugs Bunny and Peter Rabbit might have taught you, carrots are not the mainstay of a rabbit’s diet. In the wild, rabbits’ diets are mainly grass. To emulate this as much as possible at home, more than 80% of their diet should be a high-quality grass hay. This can be supplemented with leafy greens, dried forage, and a small amount of healthy rabbit pellets such as Science Selective.
In the wild, rabbits live in warrens with many other rabbits. Rabbits are social animals, and are happiest and calmest with a rabbit companion. Once neutered, they can be bonded into a pair or group. Remember to do research on bonding too – sadly it’s not as simple as just moving two bunnies in together!
In the UK, rabbits are classed as an exotic pet. This means that many vets aren’t up-to-date with best practice for treating them. They need to be vaccinated against three deadly diseases every year, and neutering and spaying are much safer operations when conducted by an experienced vet. It’s best to find a rabbit-savvy vet and register before you have an emergency, so you know who to call if an urgent situation occurs.
If you’re ready to provide all of these things for a pair of rabbits, then check out some local rescues who will be able to pair you with the perfect companions.