Rabbits are beautiful animals
Rabbits are wonderfully complex
In their natural habitat, wild rabbits live in groups, in warrens. They can cover vast areas and live in communal groups looking after each other.
However, in the UK the rabbit is often kept as a companion animal and is one of Britain’s favourite animal friend.
They are intelligent and social creatures that need mental stimulation and space. It was estimated in the PDSA Wellbeing 2015 report, that there’s approximately 1.2 million rabbits in the UK kept as companion animals.
Sadly, they can be neglected and misunderstood. Often being bred and housed in people’s gardens in extremely cramped conditions. It’s very important for them to have a secure space for exercise, an area where they can be free to run, play and display their natural behaviour. They are very inquisitive and social beings, they like to play, explore, dig and forage.
Often if left alone, they can become stressed which can cause many problems. Understanding their behaviour will help you to know when something is wrong.
Often people will buy small cramped hutches, which are inadequate and not fit for purpose. A hutch is only supposed to be an area for shelter and must not be its only living space. They need to enjoy their freedom which is crucial for its wellbeing.
Food & dental care
People have been keeping rabbits for years but many of them will suffer because they don’t have the proper food and can become obese. It’s so important for them to have the correct food as they have unusual digestive systems and always keep water clean and fresh to avoid poor health and dental problems.
They need hay, grass and greens to keep teeth healthy as well as regular dental checks to avoid rotting teeth. Their teeth grow at a continuous rate (3mm a week!), so they can easily become overgrown causing immense suffering and pain.
Keeping your rabbit healthy is highly important because if they become bored or unhappy, they can become aggressive and depressed. Always follow health and welfare advice and always check your rabbit’s health.
If you choose to bring a rabbit into your family, why not adopt one from your local rescue shelter. It’s a huge commitment and one that needs careful consideration. It’s essential that the whole family are on board with caring for their new companion.
Please always contact a veterinary professional if you have any concerns or problems. Keeping a close eye on their health and welfare is vital for a happy life.
If you see any cruelty, suffering or distress to animals, please call RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.