What is a suitable environment for pet rabbits?

Environment logo © RSPCA publications and brand 2010

Rabbits are active and will need an environment with plenty of room to hop, run, dig and stand fully upright on their back legs as well as stretch out when laying. A secure and well-ventilated living place that's dry and draught free is essential for your rabbits' wellbeing. Access to safe hiding spaces within their environment is important, as are separate sleeping and toilet areas. Lots of fresh bedding should keep your rabbits nice and warm. The whole environment should be regularly cleaned to keep your pets' happy and healthy.

Top tips for your rabbits' home:

  • Rabbits are active, needing opportunities to hop/run/jump/dig/stand fully upright on their back legs/stretch out fully when lying down. Provide a secure living environment large enough for all your rabbits to exercise and stand up fully on their back legs without ears touching the roof. Learn more about your rabbits behavioural needs.
  • Provide a large living area and a secure shelter where they can rest, feel safe and are protected from predators, extremes of weather and temperature. Ensure all areas are well ventilated, dry and draught-free. Living in draughty/damp/hot/poorly ventilated/dirty environments can cause suffering and illness
    Rabbits are a prey species, so need to hide in secure places, away from sights and smells of predators (e.g. foxes/cats/dogs/ferrets/birds of prey).

    Provide constant access to safe hiding places to escape if feeling afraid. Rabbits need to hide from things that scare them.

  • Rabbits are intelligent and inquisitive. If they're bored, they may suffer so they'll need daily exercise opportunities to stay fit and healthy.
  • Provide enough bedding to keep warm. Bedding should be safe to eat, e.g. dust-free straw/hay.
  • Rabbit's need regular (ideally constant) access to suitable toileting places. If providing litter trays use newspaper, hay/straw, shredded paper and/or paper-based non-clumping, non-expanding cat litter.

    Toilet areas should be separate to sleeping areas. Try placing a hay rack over the litter tray to encourage them to eat hay.
  • Regularly clean their housing and toilet areas.
  • If you're away, try finding someone to care for rabbits to meet all their welfare needs within their own home for familiarity. If boarding, keep grouped rabbits together and take familiar items (e.g. toys).
  • Transport rabbits in a comfortable and safe manner. Put familiar smelling items in carriers/new environments to help them feel at ease. See Transporting rabbits (PDF 458KB).
  • The size/temperature of anywhere they're left (including vehicles) needs to be appropriate.
  • Provide a safe, secure, hazard-free environment for them to live in. Any hazards within their environment may injure them.
Did you find this useful?