Things to know before getting a rabbit
Rabbits can become 10 to 12 years and even older. Do they still fit your lifestyle in 10 or 12 years, even when they are older and need more care? Are you willing to care for such a long time frame?
Rabbits need lots of space and demand lots of time. Can you offer them an appropriate accommodation? Can you ensure that you can offer a daily additional run area and ensure you can spend consistently sufficient time with them? Do you have at least 6 square meters of space to offer them?
Rabbits can become sick and need veterinary care. As an example, some rabbits require regular visits, weekly to monthly, to the vet to check their teeth, due to them growing continually throughout their life. Another example is regular vaccinations against deadly diseases. These are only but two of the many reasons a rabbit owner will need to visit the vet, and are some of the cheaper visits. Do you have enough financial support to address their expensive care needs and medical bills? Are you able to drop everything to care after a sick rabbit that requires 24 hour medical attention?
Same species social interaction is very important for rabbits. They do not want to be alone. Rabbits have to have at least one other rabbit as a partner and cannot be replaced by a human. A guinea pig, for example, is not a suitable partner animal because their mode of life and language is too different.
Rabbit bucks should be castrated immediately (optimally between 8 & 12 weeks old) to prevent a large number of offspring. It is very difficult to find a good home for the offspring where they can be appropriately kept.
Rabbits need fresh food daily and the enclosures must be cleaned regularly. Can you bring yourself to take care of them every single day? Is there someone that can take over these responsibilities for you when you go on holiday or become sick?
Rabbits, their food, bedding, straw, hay, grasses, vegetables, herbs etc… can cause allergic reactions. Are you, or someone in your home allergic to any of these?
Rabbits are active at twilight and have their active phase early in the mornings, in the evening and at night. Have you considered this when planning to location of your enclosure?
Rabbits may gnaw cords, furniture and walls. Are you prepared to ensure that the living areas of the rabbits are safe for them and are you willing to accept any damage that they may cause?
Rabbits may not get along well with your other pets (dogs, cats etc. ) In this case, are you able to separate them?
Only consider bringing rabbits into your home if you can answer honestly “YES” to ALL of these questions, not just some! If not, consider getting a stuffed toy rabbit instead. If you are wanting to help rabbits and enjoy their company, you can volunteer at a shelter instead. You can visit them and be a helping hand and make a difference in their lives.
Often rabbits are given as presents and before long the interest in them drops. They end up in shelters, requiring care and treatment. Instead you can sponsor a rabbit that needs your help, and give a stuffed toy as a gift.
If you consider getting a rabbit because you are thinking of getting an easy pet for yourself or your family, then a rabbit is the last type of pet you should think of. Often rabbits require much more care and considerations than other pets, for example cats or dogs, and require more care and consideration than a new owner could ever imagine. Rabbits are a lifetime commitment and need to go to the vet regularly, if not more, than a cat or dog. Rabbits are statistically the largest number of given up pets to animal shelters because people find out how much work and how time consuming it is to keep rabbits appropriately.