Make sure your rabbit has appropriate company
Things you should do
- Keep your rabbit with at least one other friendly rabbit, unless advised otherwise by a vet or qualified animal behaviourist. A good combination is a neutered male and a neutered female.
- Get your rabbits neutered, unless they are intended for breeding and provisions have been made to care for both parents and offspring.
- Handle* your rabbits gently every day from an early age. Rabbits which live indoors can see humans as important companions. If your rabbit has to be kept on his/her own for some reason you must provide him/her with companionship by interacting with him/her every day.
- Make sure your rabbit has places he/she can go to get away from companions if he/she wants to and that there are enough resources (e.g. shelter, food, water, hiding places) for all your rabbits at all times.
- Introduce new rabbits gradually and under supervision, preferably in a space that is new to both rabbits. Seek advice from a qualified animal behaviourist if you are unsure or have problems.
- When you are away make sure your rabbits are cared for by a responsible person.
- Never leave your rabbits unsupervised with another animal or person who may (deliberately or accidentally) harm or frighten them. Never leave your rabbits unsupervised with a cat or dog, even if you know they are good friends.
Download our Rabbit handling advice (PDF 380KB) to find out how to handle and interact with your rabbits in a safe, positive and stress-free way.
- Rabbits are naturally sociable and normally prefer to be with another rabbit.
- A rabbit can develop abnormal behaviour and may suffer if he/she is left without company and has nothing to do for long periods of time.
- Rabbits kept together will naturally form a 'pecking order' with some animals being more dominant than others. A rabbit can be bullied if he/she cannot get away from other rabbits that he/she doesn’t like.
- Rabbits that are brought up together will usually get on with each other, but if introduced for the first time as adults they may fight.
- Neutering reduces the likelihood of fighting in both male and female rabbits.
- Rabbits that are well handled by people from a young age can learn to see humans as friends and companions.
- Rabbits that receive little handling at an early age, or rough handling at any age, may find human contact distressing. This can be expressed as fearfulness, escape behaviour and aggression.
- Rabbits will usually be scared of cats and dogs because they are natural predators, but if introduced to them carefully early in life can develop friendships.