April 05, 2021
Which Small Pet is Right for You: Rabbits
Have you ever wondered if a rabbit would make the perfect addition to your family? These adorable, whiskered herbivores are not only great companions but are intelligent and can have unique and wonderful personalities. Learn more about rabbit temperament and ideal living situations below.
There are as many rabbit personalities as there are rabbits. Some rabbits are easygoing and relaxed, while others are demanding and constantly on-the-go. Some seek affection and constant attention from their caretakers, while others tend to be independent, territorial, and haughty.
Even the most engaging bunny can be willful and picky at times. It’s part of their charm! Taking time to learn your rabbit’s unique quirks and temperament will ensure you can happily coexist with a complex companion.
Pet Parent Tip
Why do bunnies behave the way that they do? Learn more about rabbit behaviors and their instinctual origins here.
Despite generations of domestication, rabbits maintain a deeply ingrained need for the company of other rabbits. Though the bond between human and bunny is a wonderful, complex connection, it can never equate to the close attachment bonded rabbits share.
Bonded rabbits snuggle together, groom each other, dance, play, and have entire conversations in their own subtle language. Rabbits also tend to exhibit less boredom-based behaviors (like destructiveness and hyperactivity) when kept in pairs or groups.
Best Bunny Buddies
Though many rabbits can live quite happily in trios or small groups, most bunny parents find it ideal to share their home with a pair. Unless you are bringing home a pair of very young, same-sex siblings, it is strongly recommended to have both rabbits altered (spayed or neutered) before introductions.
Without that pesky preoccupation with procreation and the haughty temperaments that can result, rabbits tend to be much more amicable and friendly with one another, making the bonding process much easier. This is true whether you are introducing rabbits of the same or opposite sex.
Keeping this in mind, the following gender pairings are ideal:
- Siblings: since they come from the same litter, raising a pair of sisters or brothers means the bonding has already been established before you even bring them home. It is still important to have both rabbits spayed or neutered to avoid the potential of hormonally-driven disagreements.
- Male/female: it is often easiest to introduce girls to boys. Never try to introduce a pair when one rabbit is altered and the other is not.
- Two unrelated females: will often become friends, but they will have to sort out a “pecking” order.
- Two unrelated males: boys can often learn to get along, but it is important to ensure a female rabbit isn’t brought into the home, even if the boys have been neutered.
Rabbits are sensitive, social animals and make wonderful companions for folks who take the time to understand, accept, and support their instincts and behaviors. Because rabbits are a prey species, it requires a patient, deliberate investment on the pet parent’s part to learn their rabbit’s unique language and work to build their trust. A rabbit may start as shy, aloof, or hesitant, but consistent, gentle, and positive interactions will soon bring them out of their shells.
Pet Parent Tip
Check out Breaking Down Bunny Bonding: 6 Tips and Tricks.
Oxbow Animal Health Rabbit Products
Rabbit Life Stages
Rabbit Noises and Their Meanings
The Importance of Spaying or Neutering Your Rabbit