So you are thinking about rehoming a rabbit? Good choice, rabbits can be very rewarding pets.
Like any animal the more attention, time and care you can give them, the more interaction and entertainment you can get back from them.
Watching a rabbit exhibit normal behaviour such as digging, running free and playing in a secure area, will lift most people’s spirits.
Stroking their soft fur and having them sit quietly with you (if they want to!) is a very relaxing experience. They can form strong emotional bonds with you that will equal other pets such as cats or dogs.
Will your rabbits live indoors or outdoors?
To find the right rabbit for you, you first need to decide whether you want an indoor or an outdoor rabbit.
If you decide that you want your rabbit to live indoors with you, you will need to find an area for the rabbit to live and decide what form the housing will take. Some people convert large dog crates, partition part of their room with fencing or make a large wooden hutch. If the rabbit will be free roaming during the day, electrical and phone cables will need to be covered with tough cable protectors to stop the rabbit chewing through them. A litter tray should be available for the rabbit to use and the rabbit must have access to food and water at all times.
Rabbits that live indoors will still need a secure area outside, where they will be able to get vitamin D from the sun and be able to exhibit normal behaviours such as grazing and digging.
We would still recommend keeping a rabbit with a companion of their own kind, however if they are receiving plenty of human company it would be okay to keep a single rabbit when living indoors.
If you prefer to keep your rabbit outside then it will definitely need a companion of their own kind. A neutered rabbit of the opposite sex will make the best match. You can adopt a fully bonded pair of rabbits from the rescue centre, which is easier than having to try and bond the rabbits for yourself. They will require adequate outdoor housing. Read more about suitable outdoor housing for rabbits here.
What breed of rabbit is best for you?
Once you have decided about where the rabbit or rabbits will live, the next thing to think about is what breed of rabbit would suit you best. There are large or small breeds, long or short haired breeds. Some of the longer haired breeds require a lot of coat maintenance. The fur will need daily grooming and may need some regular trimming. Never try to shave a rabbit’s coat as they have extremely fine skin that can tear easily.
The larger rabbit breeds tend to be more docile and friendly, however they do not tend to live as long as the smaller breeds. Obviously if you are hoping to adopt a larger breed it will require a lot more space to live in and it will eat a lot more food.
Another consideration is whether you would want to adopt a baby rabbit or an older one. We occasionally have litters of rabbits looking for new homes. We neuter our male rabbits at the age of eight weeks, the female rabbits are neutered at the age of six months. We allow them to go to their new homes before this age and ask you to take them to our vets to be neutered once they are old enough. The advantage of having younger rabbits is that you will be able to bring them up and tame them yourself.
The benefit of adopting an older rabbit is that you will know their personality straight away. Some rabbits are very confident and enjoy human company, whereas others are more timid.
A few rabbits do not enjoy human company much at all and are happier with their own kind and prefer to have a more natural life style, wandering around a secure garden, doing their own thing, with a protective hutch to go into at night.
Not many rabbits like being picked up for cuddles, but most rabbits enjoy snuggles on the floor.
When you have decided what rabbit or rabbits you think would fit in well with your family, you can have a look at the rabbits we have available for rehoming and fill in one of our application forms. This can be done by clicking the green “Apply to rehome me” button on the rabbit’s webpage and filling out the online form, or by visiting our rescue centre and filling out a form in our Reception. You can also talk to our Rabbit and Guinea pig team – we will be happy to try and help you find your forever friend.