About Rabbits

RabbitsAre rabbits suitable for all ages?

Rabbits are sociable animals and can make great pets. However they do not like to be picked up and so are not always the best pets for young children. We take particular care when rehoming rabbits to find the right match especially when there are children under seven.

How long do rabbits live?

Rabbits live between 8-12 years. Some healthy rabbits may live into their teens!

Are rabbits friendly?

Rabbits are such attractive animals that it is natural for humans, particularly children, to want to stroke them and pick them up. Rabbits can be very sociable but do not like loud noises or sudden movements or being picked up, as their instinct is to think it is a predator. Rabbits can scratch and bite in such situations.

Can you let them out of their enclosure?

Yes you can. In fact rabbits need the freedom to express their natural behaviour which includes exercising, foraging and grazing and digging!

Caring for your rabbits

What you need to know...

Cleaning: Check your rabbits’ housing and toilet areas daily. If the bedding is wet it will need replacing.

Health checks: you need to check your rabbits regularly for injury or illness. Nails and teeth can easily get too long.

Feeding your rabbits: The best food for your rabbits is fresh grass, good quality hay and dried green grass forages. When adding prepared rabbit food make sure it is pellets rather than flakes, so your rabbits cannot get picky!

Treats need to be complimentary rabbit food in pellets rather than commercial treats which are high in sugars and can be hard for a rabbit to digest.

Rabbits’ teeth grow continually. They need to be worn down by eating grass and hay, which naturally contain abrasive silica to trim teeth evenly. Rabbits can get serious dental disease if fed an inappropriate diet.

Fresh water: a regular supply of clean water is vital.

Housing your rabbits

We have more than 30 rabbits in our rabbitry and our aim is to find all of them good permanent homes. Rabbits need:

  • To live in groups or at least pairs. They are sociable animals. We will only rehome single rabbits if they are going to homes with an existing rabbit.
  • A hutch of at least 180cms x 60cms x 60cms for a pair of rabbits to live comfortably
  • Space. Rabbits need space to hop, run, jump, dig, stand up on their hind legs and stretch out when lying down.
  • Security. Rabbits need to have a secure enclosure all day long which should be at least 304 x 200 x 90 cm / 10 x 6.5 x 3 ft   
  • A hutch of at least 180cms x 60cms x 60cms for a pair of rabbits to live comfortably       

Did you know?

  • Rabbit power: Rabbits can reach speeds of up to 50mph in short bursts, using their long powerful back legs.
  • Long in the tooth: Rabbit teeth grow fast: their front incisors grow at 3mm per week.
  • Lots to choose from: there are more than 50 species of rabbit in the UK alone.
  • Rabbits need exercise: Rabbits need exercise for several hours a day. They are most active at dusk and dawn. If kept in hutches for long periods their bones are weakened.
  • Rabbits are inquisitive: In the wild rabbits explore for new sources of food and for new places to burrow. Domestic rabbits too are curious and love toys and hiding places.
  • Scared as a rabbit: In the wild, rabbits are prey animals. They seek safety if they feel there is any danger, and this also applies to domestic rabbits. Provide hiding places to help your rabbits feel less stressed.

Need more help and advice?

Call the Small Animal Team at Raystede on 01825 880467 or email smallanimals1@raystede.org


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