Ensure your rabbit is able to behave normally
- Access to all the things they require (e.g. space, food, water, safe hiding places, companion rabbits, toilet areas and toys) at all times.
- Safe toys to play with/chew and regular opportunities to play with other friendly rabbits and/or people.
- Rabbits are highly social, playful and inquisitive and need to interact and play with other friendly rabbits.
- Many enjoy interacting with people.
- Constant access to safe hiding places so they can escape if they feel afraid. Rabbits must be able to hide from things that scare them.
- As they are prey species, they need to be able to hide somewhere secure, away from the sight and smell of predators (e.g. foxes/cats/dogs/ferrets/birds of prey).
- Opportunities to exercise daily to stay fit and healthy.
- Rabbits are active animals needing regular, frequent exercise ideally with access to a large area during their most active periods (early morning, late afternoon and overnight) when they like to graze, forage and be sociable.
- Constant access to good quality hay; it’s important for emotional wellbeing as well as dental and digestive health.
- Suitable materials that allow digging (e.g. sand box), and areas to mark territory with chin secretions, urine and droppings.
- Scents are important communication methods for rabbits.
You to be observant. If your rabbit’s behaviour changes or shows signs of stress/fear, seek advice from a vet or qualified animal behaviourist - they could be distressed, bored, ill or injured.
- Rabbit’s behaviour depends on age/personality/past experiences.
- Rabbits that are frightened/in pain may change their behaviour/develop unwanted habits e.g. aggression/hiding.
- Signs a rabbit may be suffering from stress/fear can include hiding/chewing cage bars/over-grooming/altered feeding or toileting habits/over-drinking/playing with the water bottle/sitting hunched/reluctance to move/repeatedly circling the enclosure.
- Kindness! Never shout at or punish rabbits, they are very unlikely to understand and can become more nervous/scared. If your rabbit's behaviour becomes an ongoing problem, seek expert advice.