Basic Care: Rabbits
INSIGHTS INTO RABBITS
The domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) can be a fantastic and loving pet. When well kept, the average rabbit can live for up to 10 years or more! Typically, dwarf breeds live longer than giant breeds. Let us help you set your rabbit friend up for success at home!
Domestic rabbits are a crepuscular species, meaning that they are most active around sunrise and sunset so that might be when your rabbit wants to play. Many bunnies will adjust their schedule so that they are most active when you first wake-up and between your dinnertime and\ bedtime. It is important that your rabbit has a dedicated “bed-time” so as not to interfere with normal circadian rhythms. Studies have shown that rabbits with interrupted sleep cycles while dealing with illness have a poorer prognosis than rabbits that are allowed to have normal sleep cycles.
Most rabbits are gregarious animals meaning they enjoy the company of other rabbits. Typically, rabbits live as a bonded pair. However, not all rabbits get along and some rabbits are best kept alone. For more information on bonding rabbits visit: https://rabbit.org/faq-bonding-multiple-rabbits/.
While rabbits are typically regarded as a species that does not vocalize, rabbits actually have a variety of verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate how they are feeling. For example, a happy rabbit may hum or jump and kick their back legs (referred to as a “binky” in layman’s terms). An angry rabbit my thump their hind feet or grunt. A rabbit in severe distress may even scream. If your rabbit screams while being handled, immediately put the rabbit down.
If your friends like your rabbit and want one of their own, recommend that they adopt a rabbit from a rescue or check with a local humane society. We don't recommend buying them from pet stores.