Rabbits are a joy to own, but they are not an ‘easy-care’ pet option.
We are keen for our bunnies to go to new, loving homes; but it is equally important to us that our prospective new owners fully understand the responsibility which goes with offering a pet a new home.
If you are interested in owning, adopting or fostering a rabbit, please take a few moments to read the information provided to assess whether you feel you can provide for all the needs of a rabbit.
Please remember, there is no substitute for veterinary advice and care. Ring your vet if you have any problem with your pet’s health or behaviour
Pet rabbits can be taught to respond to commands using positive reward-based training and can also be house-trained.
A single female rabbit, a ‘doe’, can produce approximately 30 young in a single breeding season and can become pregnant again within hours of giving birth.
A rabbit’s top front teeth are called ‘incisors’ and grow at a rate of 3mm a week. Grass and hay are abrasive. Eating lots of grass and hay helps to wear rabbits’ teeth down. Wild rabbits spend around 70 per cent of their time above ground feeding
Rabbits feed on large quantities of low quality food. To extract as much goodness as possible from the food, rabbits perform a digestive process called caecotrophy. Food is passed through the gut and special droppings, called caecotrophs, are produced. Rabbits eat these caecotrophs, allowing the food to be re-ingested.
Group living is beneficial for wild rabbit survival. Rabbits are territorial animals and form complicated social structures. Wild rabbits live in large groups within warrens, which are divided into small family units of two to eight individuals, with a common group being a male and female pair.
Wild rabbits dig lots of underground inter-connecting tunnels called ‘burrows’ or ‘warrens’, which can cover more than two acres of land. Warrens can house 50 or more rabbits.
A rabbit’s main mode of communicating is via scent. They deposit faeces, squirt urine and chin mark to communicate with other rabbits. Rabbits also use different body postures and vocalisations to communicate. However, their vocalisations are very quiet to avoid detection by predators.
Rabbits have long, powerful hindlegs that allow them to achieve speeds of up to 50 miles per hour for short bursts. If chased they use quick, irregular movements to help them confuse and out-manoeuvre predators.
Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk and usually remain underground in the day to avoid predators. Rabbits have lots of physical adaptations to help them avoid becoming another animal’s dinner:
Eyes located on the side of their heads give them a very broad field of vision
Large, independently moving ears can make up to 12 per cent of a rabbit’s body surface and enable them to hear really well
A well-developed sense of smell alerts rabbits to the presence of predators
Muscular hindlegs are used to stand up on while the rabbit scans for predators and are also thumped to alert other rabbits to danger
Rabbits belong to the Lagomorph order. Lagomorphs are herbivores (feeding exclusively on plants) and include rabbits and hares.