Things to Consider Before Keeping a Rabbit As a Pet

by rabbitagent99

Animal shelters worldwide are overburden by an abundance of domestic rabbit surrender. Popular misconceptions about rabbit care are the root cause of this sad reality.

I have loved, cared, rejoiced, and cried for House Bunnies for 14 years.
It is a popular, yet false notion that rabbits are easy, low maintenance pets for children, when in actuality the opposite is true. Animal shelters are over burdened with unwanted rabbits since the gestation is only 28 days and because too many people are unprepared for the tremendous amount of work and expense.

The season of spring prompts many parents to purchase a rabbit for their children as a "starter pet." In reality, rabbit are far more complicated to care for and are not appropriate pets for children. If your family is considering adopting a rabbit, as a family pet, it is important to consult with your exotic veterinarian so that you will know what to expect. People often make the mistake of comparing rabbits to dogs or cats. To this end, folks make numerous assumptions based on the needs of dogs and cats, when rabbits are actually in a class by themselves.


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Rabbits belong indoors for emotional and psychological reasons, not just safety issues. They are far more delicate than cats and dogs. Even in a secure hutch, they can easily die of fright from a nearby predator. Rabbits are highly sensitive to extreme weather especially heat. Most importantly, life in a backyard hutch is a sad existence for the complex emotions and intellect of the rabbit. Rabbits are affectionate, social creatures that do not enjoy being alone. Keeping a rabbit in the house, as a family member, is richer and far more rewarding for the rabbit and the house rabbit family. Rabbits need constant stimulation, so toys, supervision, interaction, and room to run and play are all essentials.



A rabbit should never be an impulse purchase at a pet store or flea market. Since rabbits gestate every twenty-eight days animals shelters receive numerous rabbits and often entire litters. The most thoughtful and ethical way to bring a rabbit into your life is to seek out an animal shelter or rabbit rescue. House Rabbit Society not only has adoption programs but also rabbit care information and the help in making an informed decision about adopting a pet rabbit.

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Young children, who are exploring the world by grabbing and grasping are an unpleasant mix for the rabbit. Rabbit only tolerate being picked up properly by a responsible adult. As a prey animal being grabbed is a frightening and unpleasant experience for the rabbit that can cause serious injury.

The lifespan of a rabbit ranges from a few months to ten or more years, providing they are spayed and neutered, receive regular exotic vet care, a proper diet including unlimited timothy hay, and an indoor home that is bunny-proofed. As a delicate prey animal, rabbits can also have a short lifespan despite your best efforts. A simple illness can quickly escalate to a life threatening emergency, so immediate response and vet care are required.

If your motivation for bringing a bunny into your home is as a gift or a lesson in responsibility for your children, the inevitable failure will cause loneliness and suffering for the rabbit. A responsible adult has to be the primary caregiver and committed to giving the rabbit attention, space, freedom, safety and affection. The quality of life of a pet rabbit is contingent on being indoors and a central part of the family. 

To paint a picture, when you are at your computer desk, you rabbit may nuzzle your feet or nose bonk you. Some rabbits may even jump up into your lap while your are eating, steal your plate, and even try to grab bites out of your mouth. When your family engage in activities, your rabbit will be front and center, interested and curious. If you are playing a board game your rabbit might get in the circle, grab the board to nudge the game pieces. While trying to watch a movie in the evening, your rabbit could distract you with entertaining antics and tossing their toys around making noise.  If you read a bedtime story to your child, your rabbit could come in and listen. There is no way a rabbit can do any of these things in a backyard hutch. In a backyard hutch they are deprived of company, stimulation, and affection.

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Updated: 05/02/2016, rabbitagent99
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rabbitagent99 on 01/25/2016

Thank you Candy, you are great!

candy47 on 01/25/2016

Having a rabbit as a pet is a serious commitment, not to be taken lightly. You've addressed the joys and responsibilities of rabbit ownership. Great article.

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