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A suitable environment for rabbits

Environment logo © RSPCA publications and brand 2010

Ensure your rabbit has a suitable place to live


Rabbits need:

  • A secure living environment large enough for all to exercise and stand up fully on their back legs without ears touching the roof.
    - Rabbits are active, needing opportunities to hop/run/jump/dig/stand fully upright on their back legs/stretch out fully when lying down. 
    - See: behavioural needs, Rabbit Housing Advice (PDF 280KB) and Keeping rabbits indoors (PDF 140KB)
  • A large living area and a secure shelter where they can rest, feel safe and are protected from predators, extremes of weather and temperature. Ensure all areas are well ventilated, dry and draught-free.
    - Living in draughty/damp/hot/poorly ventilated/dirty environments can cause suffering and illness
  • Two rabbits in garden © Philip Toscano/RSPCA photolibrary
    Constant access to safe hiding places to escape if feeling afraid. Rabbits need to hide from things that scare them.

    - They’re a prey species, so need to hide in secure places, away from sights and smells of predators (e.g. foxes/cats/dogs/ferrets/birds of prey).
  • Daily exercise opportunities to stay fit and healthy. Rabbits are intelligent and inquisitive. If they’re bored, they may suffer.
  • Enough bedding to keep warm. Bedding should be safe to eat, e.g. dust-free straw/hay.
  • Regular (ideally constant) access to suitable toileting places. If providing litter trays use newspaper, hay/straw, shredded paper and/or natural wood or paper-based non-clumping, non-expanding cat litter. Toilet areas should be separate to sleeping areas. Try placing a hay rack over the litter tray to encourage them to eat hay.
  • Regularly cleaned housing and toilet areas.
  • Familiarity. If you’re away, try finding someone to care for rabbits to meet all their welfare needs within their familiar home. If boarding, keep grouped rabbits together and take familiar items (e.g. toys).
  • Transporting in a comfortable and safe manner. Put familiar smelling items in carriers/new environments to help feel at ease.
    - See: Transporting rabbits (PDF 458KB).
  • The size/temperature of anywhere they’re left (including vehicles) to be appropriate.
  • To live in safe, secure, hazard-free environments. Any hazards within their environment may injure them.

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