There are estimated to be around 1.7 million rabbits kept as pets in the UK [PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report 2012].
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.
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. If you own or are responsible for a rabbit, even on a temporary basis, you are required under the Animal Welfare Act to care for him/her properly.
Find out more about the Costs and time involved in keeping rabbits (pdf 189kb).
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 that must be met.
There is no one ‘perfect’ way to care for all rabbits because every rabbit and every situation is different. 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.
Discover the basics about:
Keeping your rabbits happy and healthy (pdf 2.66MB).
How to take care of your rabbits (pdf 2.07MB).
Sources of further information on rabbit care (pdf 108kb).
Pet rabbits are related to the wild European rabbit, the biology and behaviour of pet rabbits is very similar to that of their wild cousins. Why not view our full Rabbit factfile (PDF 48KB).
Rabbits are highly social
- Rabbits are territorial animals and form complicated social structures.
Rabbits have an unusual digestive system
- Food is passed through their gut and special droppings, called caecotrophs, are produced. Rabbits eat these caecotrophs, allowing the food to be re-ingested.
Rabbits have continuously growing teeth
- A rabbit’s top front teeth grow at a rate of 3mm a week!
Rabbits are intelligent
- Pet rabbits can be taught to respond to commands using positive reward-based training.