Rabbits As Pets

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Rabbits As Pets

Rabbit facts you need to know Which breed? Handling your rabbit One or two? Male or female? Its not surprising that rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK after cats and dogs as they are loveable, playful and intelligent animals. Rabbits make ideal pets for older children or teenagers who can handle them easily.  There are many different breeds and varieties of rabbit, varying in size, body shape, coat and personality.  On average a pet rabbit lives between 8-12 years, but if they are well-loved and looked after they can live for longer. Rabbit facts you need to know Rabbits are active animals and in the wild they have wide open spaces to hop, run, jump and dig about in.  Your pet rabbit should have plenty of space to chase about as it keeps them fit, healthy and happy! Rabbits are very sociable and live in large groups in the wild.  Pet rabbits can get very lonely if they are left in their hutch by themselves for long periods of time.  They will need a companion or lots of your love and attention to keep them happy.  Neutered rabbits often get on better.   The best combination is to have a neutered male and a spayed female as two males will fight and two females can be aggressive towards one another.    Wild rabbits live in warrens which are communal groups of underground burrows.  They are always on the alert for predators such as foxes and dart down their rabbit holes for safety.  Rabbits are naturally timid and startle easily.  Your pet rabbit will need a safe and secure rabbit hutch to hide away from things that scare them like dogs or ferrets.  Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk and often nap during the day so your rabbit hutch needs to be in a quiet spot so your rabbit can sleep peacefully. A rabbits burrow is warm, clean and dry.  Rabbits line their burrows with grass, moss and fur when they have babies.  Your pet rabbits hutch needs to be draught free, cosy, waterproof and free of damp.  Rabbits that live in wet, draughty and dirty conditions suffer and become ill. Rabbits are intelligent and can get bored easily so give your pet rabbit lots of exercise, toys and activities to keep them busy. View our rabbit Products section for our range of rabbit hutches, runs, toys and accessories BackTo Top Which breed? There are over 70 different breeds of rabbit recognised by the British Rabbit Council and they come in a variety of colours, sizes and lengths of coat.  Rabbit breeds can basically be categorised into 4 different types:  Fancy Breeds, Lop Breeds, Normal Fur Breeds and Rex.  Within these types youll find that rabbits can range in size from 1kg to over 10kg! Miniature and Dwarf rabbit breeds such as the Netherland Dwarf and Miniature Lop can weigh between 1 – 2.5kg. Medium sized rabbit breeds like the Angora and English can weigh between 2.5 – 3kg. Large rabbit breeds such as the New Zealand and French Lop can weigh between 4 – 5kg. Giant breeds of rabbit like the British Giant and the Flemish Giant can weigh at least 5kg.  The worlds largest rabbit is a Continental Giant named Darius who is only a year old and weighs 22.7kg!  Darius measures 4ft 3 inches from nose to tail and is still growing. Lifespan - In general, the smaller breeds are longer lived, with most dwarf and small rabbits living on average 8 - 12 years. Medium sized breeds generally live around 6 - 8 years and the large and giant breeds tend to have the shortest lifespan at around 5 - 6 years. Personality - Different breeds of rabbit can also have different temperaments. Smaller breeds tend to be more alert, active and highly-strung than the larger breeds, which are generally more placid and even-tempered.  As larger breeds are less active they are more prone to being overweight. Visit our rabbit Breeds section for more details on rabbit breeds Grooming – Long haired and giant rabbit breeds will need extra grooming.  Breeds such as the Angora and Cashmere Lop and have fine silky wool and their coats will need daily grooming and often require clipping.  Giant rabbits sometimes have problems keeping themselves clean as they are not very agile and cannot reach their lower quarters to groom, especially as they get older. View our rabbit Health advice to find out more on grooming your rabbit Housing - Large and giant breeds of rabbit require a lot of space for both living and exercise.   If your rabbit is very large you might need to invest in a purpose made hutch however most giant breeds are kept as indoor only rabbits and sleep happily in dog or cat beds.   View our rabbit Housing advice to learn more Health – Large and giant rabbit breeds are prone to obesity and tend to suffer from joint and mobility problems.  Certain breeds of rabbit, including the giant breeds, Netherland Dwarfs and Lop breeds, are prone to problems with their eyes and teeth.  Long haired rabbits can suffer from fur balls which can cause life threatening blocks in the gut. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Visit our rabbit Health advice to learn more BackTo Top Handling your rabbit Rabbits are naturally quiet, shy and timid so spend time letting your rabbit get to know you.  Rabbits enjoy human company and once you have gained their trust they make loving and affectionate pets. When you start handling your rabbit remember to get down to their level.  Rabbits prefer to keep all four legs on the ground and will find it less threatening if you lie down or sit next to them.  This is a good way of letting your rabbit get used to you.   As rabbits are prey species they will be very frightened if you pick them up without supporting their back legs and may kick or scrabble with their claws to get free.  Rabbits have fragile bones, especially in their backs, so when you pick your rabbit up make sure you support their tummy and bottom as well as their back legs.     Be gentle with your movements so as not to startle or scare your rabbit. Rabbits are not normally aggressive unless they feel threatened or cornered.  A scared rabbit may bite, scratch or kick out with their powerful hind legs.  You can tell if your rabbit is frightened as they will thump their hind legs on the ground to warn others of danger and can make a loud scream. BackTo Top One or two? If you are able it is always best to have two rabbits rather than one.  Rabbits need company and are happiest when they have a buddy.  Some rabbits will tolerate guinea pigs as companions but this is not a good idea as rabbits can hurt guinea pigs if they kick out or jump on them.  Rabbits and guinea pigs also have different dietary requirements and different means of communicating.  If you do have a single rabbit make sure you spend lots of time with them and youll end up with a friend. BackTo Top Male or female? Male rabbits (bucks) can become territorial if they are not neutered and also scent mark.  Males kept together will fight and even if they are neutered they may still be aggressive with one another. Female rabbits (does) kept together will also fight.  The best match is to have a neutered male kept together with a spayed female.  If you keep a male and female rabbit together that have not been neutered be warned - a female rabbit can become pregnant at 5 months old, produce approximately 30 young in a single breeding season and can become pregnant again within hours of giving birth! Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. BackTo Top