There are estimated to be around 1.7 million rabbits kept as pets in the UK , making them the third most popular mammalian pet after cats and dogs.
There are many different breeds and varieties of rabbit, varying in size, body shape and personality.
Typically, rabbits live for 8-12 years, but some may live for longer.
Understanding rabbits' needs
The biology and behaviour of pet rabbits is very similar to that of wild rabbits. This means they have very complex needs and although traditionally thought of as good pets for children, this is not the case as they are not easy to look after well. Being aware of how wild rabbits live can help you understand your pet rabbit’s needs better, so why not check out our Rabbit Factfile to learn more.
Your duty to care
Owning and caring for a rabbit is great fun and very rewarding, but it is a big responsibility and a long-term commitment in terms of care and finances.
Find out more about the Costs and time involved in keeping rabbits (pdf 189kb).
If you own or are responsible for a rabbit, even on a temporary basis, you are required by law to care for him/her properly.
Read more about the Animal Welfare Act and your duty of care to your animals.
The five welfare needs
There is no one ‘perfect’ way to care for all rabbits because every rabbit and every situation is different. Rabbits are now increasingly kept indoors as house pets as well as outside. It is up to you how you look after your rabbit, but you must take reasonable steps to ensure that you meet all his/her needs.
Read our expert reviewed pet care information to find out more about the needs of rabbits: Environment, Diet, Behaviour, Company and Health and welfare.
Check out our rabbit poster to discover the basics about: Keeping your rabbits happy and healthy (pdf 2.66MB). This poster includes an illustration of a good rabbit enclosure to give you some ideas about your rabbits' housing set-up.
You'll find lots more detailed advice under these main webpages, so do take a look around our rabbit section for top tips on keeping your rabbits happy and healthy.
You can also download our booklet: How to take care of your rabbits (pdf 2.07MB).
If you cannot find the information you are looking for these Sources of further information on rabbit care (pdf 108kb) may help.
 Reference: PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report 2012