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What Should You Know Before Getting a Pet Rabbit?

20 May 2015
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UK - Thinking of getting a pet rabbit? Here are the top five things you need to know before bringing home a bunny…

Should I get more than one pet rabbit?

Rabbits are very sociable creatures and in the wild they live together, not alone. They become very lonely if kept on their own.

Company of their own kind is extremely important so keep them in pairs or a group of rabbits only, and make sure they’re neutered.

If you’re thinking of getting a friend for your bunny, check out our advice on how to introduce them to each other successfully.

Does my rabbit need to be neutered?

Getting your female rabbit spayed protects them from getting pregnant, preventing unwanted litters and complications with pregnancy. It can also protect them from developing potentially deadly diseases of the womb.

Male rabbits that haven’t been neutered are also more likely to fight, putting them at risk of injury, infected wounds and contracting diseases.

A neutered male and neutered female rabbit is the best combination.

Blue Cross is offering vouchers for rabbit owners to get their pets neutered at a discount.

Why do rabbits eat their own poo?

Rabbits’ bodies make a special kind of “faecal” pellet that contains lots of great nutrients to keep them healthy – they don’t actually eat their own poo!

The droppings are similar to poo, but are softer and bulkier, and have lots of vitamins in them that weren’t absorbed by a rabbit’s body the first time around.

Bunnies are herbivores, which means they eat plants – and these can be difficult to digest so they have to go through a rabbit’s body twice. Eating these pellets is essential for bunnies, so if they stop doing it, take them to your vet.

Sometimes this can look like they have diarrhoea or they can get a dirty bottom – which is very dangerous as it makes them vulnerable to attack by flies (maggots). See your vet immediately.

All rabbits need vaccinations against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease.

Myxomatosis is a viral disease that is often fatal. It is spread by biting insects such as fleas and mosquitoes, and by contact with an infected rabbit.

Rabbits should be vaccinated again myxomatosis annually, but if you live in a high risk area (with lots of mosquitos and/or wild rabbits) your rabbit might need to be vaccinated more frequently.

Viral haemorrhagic disease is also usually a killer disease. It is easily spread between rabbits, by other animals and wild birds, or by foods, such as hay or vegetables, which have been contaminated by infected wild rabbits, or even by the wind.

All rabbits, even indoor ones, need annual vaccination, and you need to reduce their chance of coming into contact with the virus by making sure not to give them leaves picked from areas with wild rabbits.

How much space does my bunny need?

Rabbits need lots of space to run around, stretch their back legs and stand upright.

The bigger your rabbit’s run is the better. If your rabbit can’t stand up without their ears touching the top of the run, and can’t hop across the run at least three times, then their run is too small.

Rabbits are prey animals so they need places to hide in their run. Try a piece of tubing or cardboard box with holes cut in two sides.

Make sure their run is secure so foxes and neighbourhood cats can’t get in.

Give your rabbits space to run, jump, hop and binky to their heart’s content and you’ll have happy bunnies.

ThePetSite News Desk



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