Bunny Rabbits Care: All You Need To Know (2023)
Rabbits are adorable, fluffy pets that bring buckets of joy to our lives. They are fascinating animals known for their cute appearance and playful personality. I have an immense love and passion for rabbits. Yes! As I continue to spend time with my cute furballs (if you saw them at a glimpse you’d think they were giant furballs), I’ve realized that caring for rabbits takes time, patience, and love. Honestly, caring for them is more than just providing food and water. It’s about creating a safe and comfortable environment where they feel secure, loved, and can thrive. As soon as you decide to make a rabbit your new pet, you must ensure that those mischievous hoppers receive the best possible care.
Table of Contents
A brief overview of your rabbit’s needs
What if you don’t have the time or energy to read this entire blog? For this purpose, I will provide you with a summary of what your rabbit needs so you can mark the foundation.
Rabbits are intelligent, active, social, and curious animals requiring much attention and care. They have special needs that must be met to ensure their well-being.
The physical needs, or basic needs of a rabbit, means providing a safe and comfortable living environment that is spacious enough to allow free movement. They also need access to fresh water and a balanced diet including hay, fresh vegetables, and fruits.
Caring for them emotionally includes providing them with toys and activities that stimulate their minds and keep them entertained. They also need regular exercise and playtime outside of their enclosure to prevent boredom and depression.
Socially, they need companionship from other rabbits or humans. Rabbits are social animals that thrive on interaction with others. They also need regular grooming to maintain their health and hygiene.
Your Rabbit’s enclosure
Before you even think about what your rabbit can eat, drink, or play with, you must first decide where you will keep your rabbit. Think about the safest place to keep your rabbit: inside or outside. If you only have space inside to keep your rabbit, or you may only have space outside, you may not have a choice. But, what if you have available space both inside and outside?
Pros of Having a rabbit living inside
Rabbits can live either indoors or outdoors, as long as they receive the proper care. Rabbits living indoors have a longer lifespan on average, are safe from predators, and have more human interaction. (I’m sure you can relate to the days you feel lazy and can’t bother to go outside. You just want to stay in and be a couch potato.) As a result, your rabbit will have extra quality time with you, especially on those days. Rabbits can be litterbox trained and taught tricks. They don’t make much noise and develop strong bonds with their owners.
Cons of having a rabbit living inside
However, rabbits love to chew and scratch everything in sight. (They’re like fluffy, mischievous hopping puppies with big ears.) Additionally, rabbits need plenty of exercise, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want fur all over your house. (Especially if you or someone else in your household has an allergy.) You’ll have to take your rabbit outside to run about, play, and exercise to avoid this.
Pros of having a rabbit living outside
Having a rabbit living outside can have both advantages and disadvantages, depending on the climate, the environment, and the care provided by the owner. Outside, your mischievous friend has more space to run and play. Your rabbit can exercise freely instead of being cooped up in an enclosure inside. There will also be fresh food available; your rabbit can eat grass straight from the source, instead of eating picked food that may have already dried and lost its full nutrient content.
Additionally, your rabbit will enjoy natural sunlight and fresh air. Keeping rabbits outside can even reduce our carbon footprint! Now that’s something to be happy about! Healthy rabbits can cope with certain weather conditions once they have adequate supplies and the weather is not extreme.
Cons of having a rabbit living outside
However, as we all know, everything has a downside. Outdoors, rabbits are at a higher risk to be eaten or attacked by predators. This is something you should be worried about, especially if rabbit predators like dogs, cats, hawks, or foxes (or any animal in general) particularly enjoy visiting your yard. If you have experience with this, inside would be the best place for your rabbit. I have personal experiences with this, so I tend to keep my rabbits inside.
However, the risks don’t stop there. You can find many parasites, diseases, and toxic substances present on the outside. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell, but if you have a history of parasites and toxic substances present or close to your yard, and you cannot deal with them at the moment, the best choice would be to keep your rabbits inside.
Remember when we were talking about being a ‘couch potato’ before? And how your rabbit won’t be super lonely, especially in those cases? Yeah, your rabbit can get really lonely outside by itself. Even if you have two or more rabbits, they will miss you at some point. If you’re used to going in and out of the house and it’s become a norm, rabbit loneliness probably won’t be an issue.
However, if you’re not that type of person, rabbits living outdoors won’t be the best option for you. Being outside exposed to extreme weather conditions like extreme heat, heavy rain, snowstorms, etc. is one of the worst things for both rabbits and humans. This is a con to rabbits living outside. If you read the weather forecast and know what the weather is expected, you can bring your rabbit inside for a while.
Best materials to build a rabbit house with
If you want to build a DIY rabbit house, you will need some materials that are sturdy, safe, easy to work with, and comfortable for your bunny. Some of the best materials to use are:
Wood: This is the best material to use for the frame of the rabbit house. Wood is strong, durable, and easy to work with. You can use pine, plywood, or other types of untreated wood. (Yes; STRICTLY UNTREATED wood.) Avoid MDF, as it can be toxic if ingested or inhaled by your rabbit.
Wire mesh: This is a good material to use for the walls of the rabbit house. Wire mesh allows air circulation, visibility, and protection from predators. You can use vinyl-coated wire mesh shelves or welded wire mesh rolls. Make sure the mesh is not too large or too small, as your rabbit could get stuck or escape. (You wouldn’t want that!) A good size is 1 inch by 2 inches.
Aluminum: This is a useful material to use for the bars and the base or floor of the rabbit house. Aluminum is lightweight, rust-resistant, and easy to clean. You can use aluminum bars to create a door or a window for your rabbit house. You can also use aluminum sheets or trays to create a base or floor that can catch droppings and urine.
Hard plastic: This is another option for the base or floor of the rabbit house. The hard plastic is also easy to clean and durable. You can use plastic sink mats, dish bins, litter boxes, or trays to create a base or floor for your rabbit house.
Depending on your design and preference, you may also want to use some other materials for your rabbit house, such as:
Corrugated plastic roofing: This can provide shade and shelter for your rabbit house if you place it outdoors.
Hay or grass: This can provide bedding and graze for your rabbit inside the house.
Newspaper or magazines: This can provide shredding and digging material for your rabbit inside the house.
Hinges, latches, knobs, screws, staples: These can help you assemble and secure your rabbit house.
Rabbits need a balanced diet of hay, fresh greens, a little fruit, and a few pellets. The most important part of their diet is hay, which should make up about 80% of their daily intake.
Hay provides fiber, which helps prevent digestive problems and keeps their teeth healthy. Rabbits should have unlimited access to fresh, good-quality hay, such as timothy, orchard, oat, or meadow hay. They should also have a handful of fresh greens every day, such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, parsley, mint, and other safe plants. Greens provide vitamins, minerals, and water for hydration.
Rabbits can have a small amount of pellets or nuggets daily, about 25 grams per kilogram of body weight. Pellets provide extra nutrients and calories, but too many can cause obesity and dental problems. Pellets should be plain and high in fiber, not muesli-style or colorful mixes.
Rabbits can also have a tiny bit of fruit as an occasional treat, such as carrots, apples, bananas, or berries. Fruit provides natural sugars and antioxidants, but too much can cause diarrhea and weight gain. (Just like going out to treat yourself is a special occasion, not something the average person should do every day!) Rabbits should always have fresh water available in a bowl or a bottle. Water helps flush out toxins and prevent urinary problems. Rabbits need about 50 to 100 milliliters of water per kilogram of body weight per day.
Foods that are a huge no-no for rabbits
Avocado: It contains a toxic compound called persin that is fatal to rabbits.
Chocolate: This sweet treat contains theobromine and caffeine, which, once again, cause fatalities.
Fruit pits and seeds: These can contain cyanide or other toxins that can harm rabbits. Apple seeds, apricot pits, peach pits, and plum pits are some examples of fruit pits and seeds that rabbits should avoid.
Rhubarb: This vegetable is an irritant that can cause swelling, diarrhea, bloating, and dehydration in rabbits. It also contains oxalates, which can interfere with calcium absorption.
Iceberg lettuce: This light-colored lettuce can contain lactucarium, a chemical that can be harmful to rabbits. It also has very little nutritional value and can cause diarrhea in rabbits.
Muesli-style foods: These are processed foods that contain flaked maize, peas, pellets, grains, and seeds. They are not suitable for rabbits, as they can cause tooth and stomach problems.
Hamster food: This is not designed for rabbits and will not provide them with the fiber and nutrients they need. Rabbits need a high-fiber diet of hay, fresh greens, and pellets.
Nuts and seeds: These are high in fat and low in fiber, which can cause indigestion and obesity in rabbits. Rabbits should not eat any nuts or seeds, including walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, etc.
Dairy products: These are not digestible by rabbits and can cause diarrhea and bloating. Rabbits should not eat any dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.
Meat: This is also not digestible by rabbits and can cause serious health problems. Rabbits are herbivores and should not eat any meat or animal products.
Your rabbit’s leisure time
Just like humans, rabbits need to play. This avoids boredom and your rabbit getting into all kinds of mischief. However, certain toys are designed specifically for rabbits. Below, you will find some of these.
Oxbow Enriched Life Play Wall
This is a chew toy that consists of a wooden frame with various materials attached to it, such as hay, sisal, willow, and corn husk. Rabbits can nibble, tug, and pull on the different textures and shapes, which can help keep their teeth healthy and prevent boredom.
Niteangel Treat Ball
This is a ball that has an adjustable opening for treats. You can fill it with your rabbit’s favorite kibble or treat, and when they roll it around, the treats will fall out. This can encourage active play and foraging behavior, as well as reward your rabbit for their efforts.
Hamiledyi Grass Scratcher Climbing Tree
This is a scratcher that is made from seagrass and corn leaf. It has removable carrot branches that your rabbit can chew on or toss around. It also has an open dish base that you can use for treats or toys. This toy can provide your rabbit with a place to scratch, climb, and explore.
Bwogue Bunny Tunnel
This is a tunnel that is made from cotton fabric and steel wire. It has three openings that your rabbit can run through or hide in. It also has a bell inside that makes a sound when your rabbit moves it. This toy can provide your rabbit with a fun and cozy place to exercise and nap.
Living World Teach-N-Treat Toy
This is a puzzle toy that challenges your rabbit’s intelligence and problem-solving skills. It has three levels of difficulty that you can adjust by changing the lids and discs. You can hide treats or pellets inside the compartments, and your rabbit has to figure out how to access them. This toy can stimulate your rabbit’s brain and reward them for their learning.
DIY Rabbit Toys
What if you can’t find any rabbit toys at your local pet store? Here are some DIY rabbit toys you can build for your rabbit with ease.
Bunny Snuffle Mat
This is a mat that allows your rabbit to search for treats or pellets hidden in the fleece fabric. You can make it by using a dish draining mat or outdoor mat and strips of fleece fabric. You can adjust the difficulty level by hiding the treats deeper in the fleece.
Rabbit Chew Toy
This is a toy that consists of a toilet paper roll stuffed with hay and treats. You can make it by cutting slits on both ends of the roll and folding them inward. Then, fill the roll with hay and some treats, such as dried fruits or herbs. Your rabbit will enjoy chewing on the cardboard and hay and finding the treats inside.
Festive Rabbit Toy
This is a toy that resembles a Christmas cracker but without a bang. You can make it by using a toilet paper roll, some wrapping paper, some twine, and some treats. You can wrap the roll with the paper, leaving some extra paper on both ends. Then, tie the ends with twine, and fill the roll with some treats. Your rabbit will have fun tearing the paper and getting to the treats.
Rabbit Grazing Mat
This is a mat that mimics natural grass for your rabbit to graze on. You can make it by using a plastic sink mat and some fresh or dried grass. You can weave the grass through the holes of the mat, creating a thick layer of grass on top. Your rabbit will enjoy nibbling on the grass and pulling it out of the mat.
Egg Box Rabbit Toy
This is a toy that uses an egg carton as a base for hiding treats or toys. You can make it by cutting off the lid of the carton and filling each hole with some hay, treats, or toys. You can also poke holes in the carton and thread some twine or ribbon through them, creating a handle for hanging or tossing. Your rabbit will have fun exploring the carton and finding the surprises inside.
Rabbits are pets that need regular veterinary care to stay healthy and happy. According to different sources, the general recommendation is that rabbits should visit the vet at least once a year for a routine checkup. This can help detect any signs of illness or dental problems, as well as provide an opportunity to ask questions and get advice from your vet.
However, some rabbits may need more frequent visits to the vet, depending on their age and health condition. If your rabbit is elderly (over 5 years old) or has a history of health problems, you may want to bring them to the vet every 6 months instead of once a year. This can help monitor their health and prevent any complications.
Additionally, if your rabbit ever shows any symptoms of illness or injury, such as loss of appetite, changes in behavior, breathing difficulties, diarrhea, or bleeding, you should bring them to the vet as soon as possible. Rabbits are good at hiding their pain, so you need to be observant and act quickly if you notice anything wrong.
Some vets may also recommend that your rabbit gets vaccinated against certain diseases, such as myxomatosis and rabbit hemorrhagic disease. These diseases can be fatal for rabbits, and there is no cure for them. However, not all rabbits need these vaccines, depending on where you live and whether your rabbit has access to the outdoors. You should consult with your vet about the risks and benefits of vaccinating your rabbit.
And that’s about it! Once you understand all the steps, you should be able to master taking care of your rabbit. If you want to take rabbit care a step further and want to learn how to make your house pet-proof, you can find more information here.
Do different species of rabbits have different healthcare methods, food preferences and portions, and thirst?
There are many different species of rabbits, such as domestic rabbits, cottontails, hares, and pikas. They may have some differences in their appearance, behavior, and habitat, but they all belong to the same order of mammals called Lagomorpha. Therefore, they have similar healthcare methods, food preferences and portions, and water needs.
How long is a rabbit’s average lifespan, and does it vary among breeds?
A rabbit’s average lifespan depends on several factors, such as breed, size, diet, health, and environment. Generally, domestic rabbits live between 8 to 12 years, while wild rabbits only live a few years due to predators, diseases, and starvation. However, some breeds of domestic rabbits may live longer or shorter than others.
Flemish Giant: 5 to 8 years
American Rabbit: 8 to 12 years
French Angora: 7 to 12 years
English Lop: 5 to 8 years
French Lop: 6 to 8 years
Dutch Rabbit: 5 to 8 years
English Spot: 5 to 9 years
Miniature Lop: 7 to 14 years
As you can see, larger breeds tend to have shorter lifespans than smaller or dwarf breeds, and purebred rabbits may have shorter lifespans than mixed breeds. However, these are only averages and some rabbits may live longer or shorter than expected.