Keeping rabbits with other animals
Rabbits are naturally sociable animals and like the company of other rabbits. When you keep rabbits together, they form a 'pecking order', with some animals becoming more dominant than others. Rabbits can develop abnormal behaviour and may suffer if you leave them on their own and with nothing to do for long periods, so you should keep your rabbit with at least one other friendly rabbit. Here's what you'll need to keep in mind.
Keeping rabbits together
Keep your rabbit with at least one other friendly rabbit, unless you're advised otherwise by a vet or qualified animal behaviourist. A good combination is a neutered male and neutered female, as neutering reduces the likelihood of fighting in both sexes.
Introduce new rabbits to each other gradually and under supervision, preferably in a space that's new to both rabbits. Rabbits brought up together will usually get along, but if you're introducing them for the first time as adults, they may fight. Talk to a qualified animal behaviourist if you're unsure or have problems.
Rabbits and humans
Rabbits that are well handled by people from a young age can learn that humans are friends and companions, so handle them gently everyday from when they're young. If they're not handled in early life, or are roughly handled at any age, they may find being handled stressful and scary, which can lead to fear, escaping and aggression.
Rabbits living indoors can see humans as important companions. If your rabbit has to be kept alone, you must provide them with companionship by interacting with them daily. Read our advice on how to handle your rabbit.
Rabbits and other animals
Rabbits will usually be scared of cats and dogs, as they're natural predators. However, if you introduce your pets with care in early life, they can forge friendships.
A few things to remember about socialising your rabbit
- Give your rabbit somewhere to escape - they'll need places to go to get away from companions if they want to. Rabbits can be bullied if they can't get away from other rabbits they don't like.
- Provide enough resources - such as shelter, food, water and hiding places - for every rabbit at all times.
- They need constant supervision when they're with another animal, or with a person who may deliberately or accidentally harm or frighten them, or with a cat or dog - even if you know they're good friends.
- If you go away - make sure you ask a responsible person to care for your rabbits.
For more information, read our blog Adopting a companion for my lonely rabbit (and helping them bond!).