Bunny Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long do rabbits usually live?
An indoor rabbit typically live 8-12 years.
Q: Should my rabbit live outside or inside?
Rabbits are indoor pets and for their health and safety they should not be kept outside. Even the approach of a predator can cause a rabbit to have a panic attack which can lead to them injuring themselves. This means there is no such thing as a safe outdoor hutch!
For socialization purposes it is also best to keep your rabbit inside with you, where it can get all the love and attention he or she craves.
Q: What is living with a house rabbit really like?
Like people, each rabbit has his or her own personality; some are very active while others prefer to hang out and relax on the couch with you. It’s important you find a rabbit whose personality matches yours and provide a calm environment where they feel safe so they can be themselves. In the wild rabbits are prey, so loud noises can scare them, and rough handling will upset and hurt them.
It is also important to know that rabbits are awake and active during dusk and dawn. This means your rabbit is going to see you off to work or school in the morning and they will be waiting for you to play with them when you get home in the evening.
Q: How should I set-up my rabbit’s space?
Every rabbit needs room for a litter box and food, a place to hide, and room to stretch out. One of the best ways to give your rabbit everything he or she wants and needs is by using an exercise pen rather than a cage. Visit this page on the advantages of pen living to see how some other rabbit owners have set their bunnies’ living spaces.
Remember, rabbits also need several hours of exercise time daily so you should allow them to run free in one or more bunny proofed rooms in your house whenever you are there to supervise them.
Q: What does bunny proofing a room mean?
Bunny proofing a room means you keep all things that can harm your bunny out of their reach. This includes but is not limited to:
- removing poisonous house plants
- removing the danger of electrical cords (these should be tied and tucked away or covered with hard plastic)
- securing heavy objects that they could otherwise knock over
Q: What should I feed my rabbit?
Your rabbit should be given unlimited access to water and hay. Additionally they should be provided with fresh greens and pellets daily. Here is a diet breakdown:
- Timothy hay, oat hay, orchard grass or brome will make up 65% of your rabbit’s diet. You do not need to limit the amount of hay you give your rabbit.
- Leafy Greens such as leaf lettuce, romaine, kale, cilantro, and parsley should be provided daily to your rabbit and make up about 20% of his or her diet.
- Plain timothy hay based pellets will make up 10% of your rabbit’s diet. The pellets mixes with corn, seeds or dried fruit are not healthy for your rabbit.
- Treats can make up 5% of your rabbit’s diet. Healthy treats include pieces of fruit or herbs (basil, mint, etc.). Do not give your rabbit sugary or dairy treats such as candy or yogurt drops.
Q: Can I litter box train my rabbit?
Yes you can! By nature rabbits urinate and deposit most of their pills in the same place (or same few places), and those places are usually in a corner. By simply putting a litter box in the corner where the rabbit wants to “go” you will have your bunny urine trained. Pill training requires a little more work since you need to give them a place where they feel safe and will not be bothered.
Q: Should my rabbit be neutered or spayed?
Yes, your rabbits should be neutered or spayed, and all the WPHS rabbits will be altered before going home with you.
Altered rabbits are healthier and live longer, easier to litter box train, less prone to destructive or aggressive behavior and you can give an altered rabbit a rabbit friend to play with.
Surgery is as safe on rabbits as any other animal, but you need to make sure you see a veterinarian experienced with safe rabbit surgery techniques. If you have an unaltered rabbit you can also have them spayed or neutered at the WPHS.
Q: What is a bonded pair and why should I adopt two rabbits?
A bonded pair is a set of rabbits who are best friends and they must be adopted together. The adoption fee is the same for a bonded pair as it is for a single rabbit.
You should consider adopting a bonded pair because rabbits are very social animals that are often happier and healthier when they have a friend to play and snuggle with. Bonded pairs can keep each other company, groom each other, and comfort each other during times of stress.
Q: Where else can I go for reliable rabbit information?
The Pittsburgh House Rabbit Club educates owners and supports shelters via seminars, special events and individual coaching on the care of domestic rabbits. The Pittsburgh House Rabbit Club holds many great events in the city throughout the year that current or potential rabbit owners are welcome to attend.
Rabbit Wranglers is a Pittsburgh based non-profit organization created to assist shelters with their high maintenance and overﬂow rabbits. They provide support to the rabbit community through outreach and education; and thy help people with the care of their rabbits through grooming, boarding, medical respite and bonding.
The House Rabbit Society’s web site is an extensive, reliable on-line resource on topics from rabbit care, to rabbit behavior, to common rabbit medical problems.