Rabbits and their welfare
Rabbits are wonderful and playful, however they are also a huge responsibility. Like with other animals, they also need a loving home and a commitment to care for them for the rest of their lives.
In the wild, rabbits are busy defending their territory, reproduction and will spend time foraging.
However, keeping these animals captive can cause both behavioural and health problems.
Rabbits are amazing as they are strong and clever, they have an excellent sense of smell and have strong limbs which allow them to leap great distances.
They are social animals who enjoy the company of other rabbits and live in groups. They are territorial and enjoy grooming other rabbits too. When looking out for their prey they will stand upright on their hind legs and will thump to alert others to danger.
Over the years it’s become more common in the UK for people to keep rabbits as pets. If you choose to bring a rabbit into your life you must always think carefully as this is a lifetime commitment.
Their welfare needs must be met and they need to be cared for which includes regular veterinary checks, plenty of space and stimulation in terms of their environment. Rabbits who show aggressive behaviour towards people can indicate that there they are distressed and suffering emotionally.
An important part of keeping rabbits is companionship, they should be kept in pairs. They can often become lonely and bored so careful consideration for their environment and living conditions is vital for their welfare.
An appropriate diet is essential to keeping rabbits well and healthy. They must have fibre which is essential for their digestive system, including green veg.
Rabbits need to feel safe and secure so they can hide and be sheltered. Providing protection and places where they can hide is essential.
They also need to be kept stimulated by enriching their environment, twigs, places to hide, climb, cardboard boxes and things to help keep them away from boredom which can lead to poor health. They need to be relaxed and happy in their environment.
Health risk can be obesity in rabbits, look out for your rabbit putting on extra weight and keep an eye on their teeth, which can become overgrown and infected.
Regular vet checks will help ensure rabbits are well and healthy.
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