For years, caring for rabbits as a pet has increased. They are cute, playful, and a great companion to humans. It’s just natural to know some of the important facts about them.
Before adopting a rabbit, you need to learn basic information about them. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), rabbits are not ideal as a pet for starters. Unlike dogs and cats, these animals are complex. They needed a lot of attention because of their overall health and lifestyle.
PETA added that not knowing such information results in the neglect of animals. When the owners panic and do not know what to do anymore, their only solution is to surrender or dump their pets in the wild.
But you don’t have to worry! With the right information and guidance, you can make your responsibility easier. If you want to understand your rabbit pet more, do not leave this article.
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You should not rely on the information from this site or replace medical expert advice. If you or anybody else experiences medical concerns, consult your local and trusted veterinarian immediately.
All About Rabbits
Rabbits are small mammals that have been with humans for many years. Contrary to popular belief, rabbits do not lay eggs. They are like humans who nurture their babies through breastfeeding.
According to the University of Oxford, this animal once lived in the wild. However, during 600 A.D., some French monks tried to tame rabbits. Since then, the popularity of keeping rabbits as pets has increased. But even today, there are many questions that fill the minds of humans when it comes to rabbits. To guide you better, here are some amazing facts about rabbits:
- Rabbits have a one-way digestive system.
- Rabbits are mammals.
- Rabbits are crepuscular animals.
- Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open.
- Rabbits eat their own poop.
- Rabbits cannot vomit.
- Rabbits do not like traveling.
- Rabbit’s nails and teeth never stop growing.
- Rabbits have astounding eyesight.
Common Questions About Rabbits
What Do Rabbits Eat?
One of the first things you need to learn about caring for your pet rabbit is their diet. Like other species, food is their primary source of nourishment and can help keep rabbits healthy and fit.
However, it’s important to note that rabbits have a sensitive digestive system, which affects their dietary needs. According to the Veterinary Center of America, these animals are herbivores, so feeding them fiber-rich food is best.
It is also recommended to add other staple foods besides hay. Vegetables and fruits are a good source of different nutritional values, such as vitamins and minerals. However, it’s important not to overwhelm them, and hay and grass should still be the primary nourishment for your pet.
Moreover, not all kinds of food are safe for rabbits to consume. While it’s best to assume that veggies and fruits are healthy, this is not always the case for rabbits. Some foods that humans can eat might be poisonous to your pet. For example, chocolate is a favorite sweet snack for humans but is bad for rabbits because it contains a substance called theobromine, which can be toxic to them.
To guide you better, we have listed below the foods that your rabbit can and cannot eat:
|Safe Foods For Rabbits||Unsafe Foods For Rabbits|
|Apple (remove the pits and stalks)||Potato|
Do Rabbits Eat Their Fellow Rabbit’s Meat?
Now that you know rabbits are herbivorous animals, you might be wondering if it’s okay for your pet to eat meat. While meat is an essential part of the diets of other pets, such as dogs and cats, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy for rabbits.
The rabbit’s diet is different and relies more on fiber-rich foods, which aid in their digestion and absorption of nutrients. According to PETA, meat is one of the foods to avoid when feeding rabbits, as even wild rabbits don’t hunt for meat but survive on tree bark and vegetation.
However, some pet owners may notice their rabbits eating their babies, leading them to wonder whether rabbits do eat meat. The answer is no. According to PBS NewsHour, cannibalism is sometimes observed in mother animals, especially if the baby is weak. This behavior can also be observed in other animals, such as dogs and cats. Once the mother recognizes a weak baby, her instinct is to eat it to save the others.
Do Rabbits Make a Sound?
For humans, their way of communication is through speaking. However, when it comes to rabbits, you can understand them through their body language and sound.
Knowing the different sounds your pet produces is crucial to understand them better. For example, are they happy, sad, stressed, or uncomfortable?
Here are some of the basic sounds that you can hear from your rabbit in their daily life.
- Clucking– this sound is not associated with the clucking sound of the rooster in the morning. In fact, they are produced in many low volumes. You can hear this sound often when your rabbit is satisfied with something they love doing. For example, while eating, the rabbit can start clucking. That means that their food is delicious and makes your pet happy.
- Purring– purring is often heard in cats. It is released when something satisfies the pet. This is also the same with your rabbit pet. Rabbit starts purring when you are giving affection to them. Humming back means they also love and see you as their trusted mate.
- Yawning- like humans, rabbits can also yawn. It can indicate many things, such as tiredness, boredom, or stress. Your pet will yawn by opening its mouth and releasing air. Some studies say yawning happens because of the lack of oxygen that travels in the brain, so the body will automatically yawn whenever this happens.
- Growling- growling indicates that your pet is angry. A low growl is a sign of a defensive sound to warn you or other pets near them. Remember not to abruptly approach your rabbit when they are growling.
- They can bite you even if you are their owner. Calm them first, then observe if they allow you to go near them. Most rabbits do not like to be picked up, so do not force them when they growl just to calm them.
- Whining- when your rabbit gets uncomfortable or something hurts them, it can whine. When you hear this sound from your pet, check them to see if a wound is hiding in their fur. It can also be a sign of sickness in rabbits. It’s advisable to bring your pet to your trusted veterinarian to do a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Do Rabbits Live Long?
In addition, captive rabbits tend to live longer than wild rabbits because they are not exposed to dangers such as toxins and predators. Rabbits are prey animals, which is why their lives are always at risk.
However, there is also a danger in keeping rabbits in captivity. Many people believe it’s okay to keep rabbits in cages for most of their lives to protect them, but this can cause them to feel isolated and distressed.
As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to take care of your pet properly, and this is especially important for rabbits.
Here are some tips to help your rabbit live a long and healthy life:
- Provide a Balanced Diet: Food is important for rabbits as they need nourishment to develop a strong immune system and avoid common diseases such as snuffles. In addition, a large percentage of their diet should be made up of hay, which is rich in fiber. This will help improve their digestive function and distribute other nutrients throughout their body.
- Keep Them Hydrated: Another important aspect is to keep your pet hydrated. Offering them unlimited drinking water will help replenish bodily fluids. According to Michigan State University, about two-thirds of a rabbit’s body is made up of water. This helps your pet repair damaged tissues and remove unwanted waste. When providing water, ensure that it is clean and regularly replaced.
- Ensure a Safe Environment: Environmental factors are also crucial for rabbits. Your pet does not like feeling vulnerable, so it’s essential to provide them with a safe space where they can eat and play freely. Although caging them is ideal for avoiding wild animal attacks, it’s advisable to bring them outside for at least an hour daily. This will also allow your pet to get the exercise their body needs.
- Regular Veterinarian Checkups: Rabbit owners must also value the importance of veterinary care. To improve their lifespan, you must know more about their health. The best way to do this is by visiting a reputable veterinarian who will conduct different kinds of tests. Remember, asking for assistance is not bad. After all, you only want to give what’s best for your rabbit.
Do Rabbits Dislike Being Alone?
Animal Welfare Victoria states that rabbits prefer living in groups rather than being alone because they are prey animals. This also means that they are susceptible to predator attacks. When rabbits are in a group, it is easier for them to defend themselves and survive in the wild.
Expert breeders know that when owning a rabbit, finding them a mate is essential to avoid them feeling isolated. When rabbits feel alone, their stress levels increase, which can affect their physical and mental health. Unfortunately, rabbits can also die due to loneliness.
Here are three signs that your rabbit might be lonely:
- Loss of appetite: A lonely rabbit will refuse to eat, even their favorite food. This can result in malnourishment and other health risks, including an early death.
- Lack of interest: A lonely rabbit is not interested in things and may oversleep. While it is important for rabbits to sleep, exceeding the recommended amount can impact their body functions and daily activities.
- Aggression: According to Vet Whetstone, a lonely rabbit can become hyperactive and angry, which can lead to fights with other rabbits. Interacting with an angry rabbit can also be dangerous for humans, so it’s best to seek expert advice to help your rabbit become happy again.
Do Rabbits Get Aggressive?
Yes, rabbits can also exhibit aggressive behavior. There are several reasons why they do so. Although they are known to be friendly, it’s important to understand that your pet is still an animal.
They have the instinct to become aggressive if something makes them feel threatened. In addition, aggression is also one of the common reasons why rabbits start fighting. This behavior is observed more often in male rabbits than in females due to hormones and dominance. When a rabbit becomes angry, they undergo a behavioral change and make sounds to warn their opponent.
Here are the signs of aggressiveness in rabbits:
If your rabbit is angry, you will notice them forming a charging position. This is a defense mechanism so they can easily attack their target. They will lay low and position themselves to charge in what’s in front of them. If your pet does that in front of you, do not touch them. Instead, back down and avoid eye contact with your pet.
Your pet will also start growling as a sign of warning to whoever makes them feel threatened. Usually, rabbits are shy and quiet, so if they start making a sound, observe why they start doing so. Look for the environment they are in; there might be an animal trespasser that your rabbit saw.
Stiff tail and body
Another way to observe if your rabbit is angry is by observing their body behavior. A tail kept sternly up and away from the body symbolizes the rabbit is agitated by something. Their forepaws are also kept apart rather than close together. This behavior means the rabbit is planning for a thrust and counterattack.
A rabbit can bite when they get angry. Although this rarely happens because rabbits are naturally friendly. When a rabbit bites you, you must clean it immediately to prevent infection.
Here are the things you should do to lessen aggression in rabbits:
You must familiarize your rabbit with different environments. This will help them get used to things, especially if your household always has many people coming by.
In addition, if you are planning on adding a new rabbit member, do not force them to be together in their cage immediately. It will only cause fighting between them. It’s best to have a separate cage and then put both cages a little distance from one another. In that way, your old pet will get familiarized with the scent of the new animal.
Another option you must consider is undergoing spayed/neutered surgery. This process removes the uterus in female rabbits and testicles in male rabbits. That is why if your rabbit is spayed/neutered, it will no longer be able to produce babies.
The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) state that this surgery has many health benefits for rabbits. One is decreasing the chance of reproductive cancer when they get older. Another is the decrease in aggression.
Since the reproductive hormone is the one that dictates your rabbit to fight others, once it is removed, it will be easier for you to handle your pet. If you want your rabbit to be spayed/neutered, contact your vet to discuss the surgery plan.
What Are The Largest Breeds Of Rabbits?
When you decide to own a rabbit, it’s important to consider factors such as your financial capability, environment, and personal characteristics. These factors will help you care for your rabbit more easily.
Choosing a rabbit can be challenging, as there are many breeds to choose from. The American Rabbit Breeder Association recognizes 49 breeds, most of which are domesticated. Different breeds vary in size and color, among other characteristics.
In recent years, there has been an increasing trend in adopting large breeds of rabbits.
If you’re considering adopting and caring for a larger breed of rabbit, here are some of the breeds you can choose from:
This is one of the most popular large rabbit breeds that you can find today, weighing about 5 to 6.5 kg.
Aside from their size, these rabbits are very popular due to their easygoing and friendly nature. They are also relatively easy to maintain, although you still need to monitor their diet and lifestyle to ensure they live a long life.
Flemish Giant Rabbit
Another popular large rabbit breed that you and your family can own today is the Flemish Giant rabbit. It’s much larger than the Giant Chinchilla, weighing up to 6-7 kilograms. This breed is also friendly and easy to maintain, making it a great choice for first-time pet owners. They also come in different coat colors, such as black, white, gray, and blue.
The English Lop is among the most popular and beloved large pet rabbits today. According to a report, they were already well-domesticated rabbits after being developed in England in the 19th century.
They have a signature look for having a long and large ear compared to other rabbit breeds. That long ear is a great instrument for them since it can reach up to 24 inches long. They come in different sizes, coats, colors, patterns, and fur. Also, if you’re planning to breed these rabbits, it’s important to note that you can start breeding them at 9 months of age.
Weighing from 9 to 10 lbs, this breed should also be on your list when choosing a large-size rabbit. They are so popular that they are always present in rabbit shows and contests.
The Giant Angora originated in France and has become one of the most beloved rabbit breeds. A lot of owners find it relaxing to groom this breed. Their personalities are also to be noted because they are usually calm and affectionate.
There are still many large breeds of rabbits out there, but the key takeaway is that whatever breed you choose, each has the same responsibilities. Give them healthy food, provide a safe space, and ensure that their veterinarian checks them regularly.
What are the Different Colors of Rabbits?
Rabbits have become popular pets for many people because of their varying sizes, breeds, and colors. Admit it; the color of the rabbit adds a lot to its overall cuteness or attractiveness. But, according to Oregon State University, there might be more hidden meaning behind the colors of each rabbit.
The rabbits’ genetic background and history are one reason they produce the color in their fur. Some rabbits have only one shade on their body, but others can have two to three shades. Choosing the right color that resembles you when adopting a rabbit is advisable. To guide you better, here are the common rabbit colors.
A white rabbit is probably the most common color you can see in rabbits. They are popular with many because they look clean and fluffy. Although you need to consider that some white rabbits have a genetic disorder that causes them to be white; it is called albino rabbits.
This type of rabbit is more sensitive, especially to toxic chemicals and sunlight. That is why their skin gets easily irritated when exposed to it. To know if your rabbit is albino or not, you can ask a veterinarian expert who will guide you on how to take care of one.
Black rabbits are majestic and pleasing to the eyes. Although for some people, it can indicate spiritual meaning. But you need to note that black rabbits are still rabbits and need proper care for a long and healthy life.
If you like to keep things simple and want the rabbit to look great inside your minimalist home, then a beige rabbit is right for you. This color is pleasing to the eyes and has glowing brown fur skin. This is also very common to many breeds, so many people adopt a beige-colored rabbit.
There are many shades of gray-colored rabbits, from light gray to dark gray. It can also be combined into different colors depending on the genetic formation in the body.
Moreover, this color is also popular because of the calming effect that it gives whenever you look at your rabbit. This color is typically seen in the standard chinchilla breed. So if you like a gray one, then look for this breed.
What is a Hairless Rabbit?
The hairless condition can also occur in rabbits due to a genetic mutation. They are often observed to have an uncanny resemblance to kangaroos. Although they may seem like bizarre-looking animals, they still exhibit the basic behaviors of common rabbits and make good companions for humans. They also require the same care as other rabbits, including a proper diet, shelter, and an active lifestyle.
However, because they lack fur, they are more susceptible to cold temperatures, so it’s important to provide them with a blanket to keep them warm.
An example of a popular hairless rabbit is Mr. Bigglesworth. He became an internet sensation because he was born with the recessive trait that causes hairlessness. Mr. Bigglesworth was often dressed in cozy sweaters, costumes, and blankets to keep his little bald body warm, which some people found adorable.
What is Leporiphobia?
Although many people love rabbits, there are also those who fear them. This kind of phobia is called Leporiphobia. The fear of rabbits is rare in humans, but it can develop for several reasons.
It has been speculated that Leporiphobia, like all phobias, results from a traumatic experience with rabbits during one’s early adolescence. Either experiencing a rabbit attack or a random, shocking event can trigger the fear.
That’s why it’s essential that when owning a rabbit and you have a child, you introduce them to each other calmly. Explain to your child that rabbits are animals that need love and protection. Train them to be calm when a playful child is in their environment. Here are some guidelines to avoid developing Leporiphobia:
- Introduce the animals to your child as sweet and fragile pets.
- Do not encourage them to pick up the rabbit because sometimes rabbits do not like being in the air. Instead, gently pat the rabbit on its head and play on the floor.
- Observe them every time the rabbit and your child are playing. Put limitations to prevent an aggressive rabbit from escalating.
- Train your rabbit as well. When you have a child who always plays, train them to be calm in that environment.
- Do not force the rabbit to play when they are not in the mood.
- Ensure your rabbit has complete vaccination to avoid future health risks for your pet and child.
Are Rabbits and Rodents The Same?
Some misconceptions exist that rabbits belong to the same family as rodents. Although they are both small mammals and share some physical features, rabbits and rodents are different.
Rodents are much smaller than rabbits and can be found anywhere. They are sometimes considered pests because they can fit into tiny holes and live there for months.
Rodents are also known to reproduce quickly. A female mouse can produce up to 10 litters in just one year. According to Batzner Pest Control, rodents can even become pregnant again within 24 hours of giving birth. This is why some homeowners find it difficult to eliminate rodent infestations.
Rabbits are small mammals with short tails, long whiskers, and recognizable long ears. Some rabbits can grow to the size of a cat, while some species only grow to around eight inches and weigh less than a pound. People consider them pet animals because of their characteristics.
Rodents vs. Rabbits
- Diet: One of the major differences between these two mammals is their diet. Rabbits have sensitive stomachs and mostly rely on grass for nutrients. In contrast, most rodents are omnivores and can eat both plants and meat. Their diet is more varied than rabbits because their digestion is not limited to plants only.
- Reproduction: Rabbits can reproduce much faster than rodents. They breed up to five times a year and can produce more than 30 babies, while rodents are far less productive, breeding 10-20 babies a year.
- Teeth: A rodent is an animal with a single pair of incisors at the top and bottom jaw. The teeth are wider at the base and have sharp edges, allowing the animal to gnaw on hard food materials. Their teeth structure is developed to attend to their diet, which includes plants and meat. Unlike rabbits, they have an extra pair of incisors because they need them to chew on different grass hays.
Do Rabbits Get Scared of Dark?
Rabbits are not scared of the dark. In fact, in the wild, they hunt during dawn time. This allows them to avoid predator attacks while finding their food. PETA also clarifies that most people’s misconception about rabbits is that they are nocturnal.
Although rabbits are unafraid of the dark, their vision is not as great as that of nocturnal animals. Rabbits are considered crepuscular animals, which means they are active during dusk and dawn.
In a dark environment, rabbits rely on their other senses, such as their whiskers, to observe the distance between them and the objects in front. They also rely on their keen sense of hearing, using their large ears, and their sense of smell. These instincts help them survive and stay safe at night when it is dark.
Do Rabbits Love Listening to Music?
Rabbits love music, and their inclination to it is so great that they can recognize some songs and respond accordingly. According to a study by the National Library of Medicine, rabbits were tested to determine whether music reduces stress, and the results showed that months after the removal of music in rabbits, their stress hormones increased. Therefore, the researchers concluded that there is a correlation between the psychological effect of music on your rabbit pet.
However, you should note that rabbits have sensitive ears. If you let them listen to music, make sure the volume will not stress them. It’s also not advisable to let them listen to music all the time just to alleviate boredom in your pet. Instead, give them time to do their own thing, like playing outside or giving them toys to chew.
When it comes to the kind of music to play for your rabbit, you may wonder what genre rabbits like to listen to. Actually, there is no specific genre that attracts your pet. Any genre can work for them as long as it fits their surroundings.
Remember that their likeness to music depends on their environment. Play calming music when they are resting and upbeat songs if they are playing. Rabbits grow familiar with the kind of music their owners prefer, and it becomes part of their regular activities. Rabbits also have a tendency to enjoy repetition.
Do Rabbits Watch Movies?
It can be fascinating to see your rabbits watching a movie. But the question is, do rabbits watch movies or just stare at the television?
A rabbit’s eye has unique characteristics. They can see clearly and identify things in their environment. When it comes to watching movies, rabbits will watch them. Your pet is captivated by the movie’s shifting images or bright colors.
However, unlike humans who can appreciate the storyline of movies, rabbits cannot do that. If you think your rabbit is engaged in watching, they are probably just enjoying the sounds or lights coming from the movies.
What Do You Call A Group of Rabbits?
Rabbits are social animals, so they prefer living in groups. This also helps them defend their mates when a predator attacks their territory. There are different ways to call a group of rabbits. Rabbits can be called the following:
What Are The Different Stages Of A Rabbit’s Life?
According to the MSD Veterinary Manual, rabbits mature at 4-5 months, and before that time, they must develop their instincts to survive with other members of their group.
During the first three weeks, baby rabbits rely on their mother’s milk to fill their tummies and feel safe sleeping near her. But after three weeks, you will notice that the rabbits shift their attention to other things and try to get out of the cage to explore the outside. However, before letting them roam, they must receive vaccinations.
Baby rabbits are susceptible to various viruses and diseases, and you wouldn’t want them to suffer from such health problems. You can visit their doctor to help you plan the precautionary measures needed to protect the babies.
Do Rabbits Jump High?
Rabbits are capable animals when it comes to their physical attributes. They are also known to be strong jumpers because of their large and muscular hind legs. They use their strong legs for many activities. In the wild, they jump high to avoid predator attacks. Regarding captive rabbits, your pet can also jump if it feels threatened by its environment. That is why you must ensure the security of your household, especially if your rabbit is spending time outside its cage. They may try to escape and jump on short-length fences.
In addition, although rabbits do wonders with their jumping abilities, they can also cause accidents. If your pet tries to jump from a high place and lands incorrectly, it can break its bones. You should watch your pet while they are jumping and moving around. This way, you can attend to them immediately if they injure themselves.
Why Do Rabbits Thump?
Rabbits thump for several reasons. You will notice this behavior in rabbits when they start thumping both of their feet and making drumming sounds. However, some reports suggest that not all rabbits exhibit this behavior, and it is more commonly seen in wild rabbits.
One reason for thumping is to signal to other members of the rabbit’s group that there is a danger nearby. This is a defensive behavior that wild rabbits develop to avoid predator attacks.
However, rabbits can also thump for no apparent reason. Remember that your pet may simply be playing and could thump unconsciously.
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- Effects of Music Enrichment on Individually Housed Male New Zealand White Rabbits – PMC