Oxfordshire Branch

Do rabbits need to be kept in pairs?

Rabbits are naturally social animals and companionship is important to them. In the wild, rabbits live in family groups which can reach up to 30 in one warren! Mammal Society. If they are kept alone, they may begin to show some abnormal behaviour, especially if left without company for long periods of time.

For those reasons, we feel it is kinder to keep them in social pairs.

Will my rabbits fight?

Rabbits that were born and raised in the same family usually get along, and a good pairing for rabbits is a neutered male and neutered female. Not only does neutering remove the inevitable litters of kits, but it also reduces the risk of a fight. There are other benefits to neutering your rabbits, which you can ask your vet about.

A slow introduction for a pair of rabbits that don’t know each other is far better than throwing them into a hutch to see what happens. Do it gradually with a scent introduction at first and then build up the time they have in plenty of space. Watch them carefully so you can intervene if you need to, and allow hiding spots too.

Rabbits that are kept in pairs tend to be happier, calmer and less prone to being stressed, which should help them live longer. You will be able to see them grooming each other, playing together and curling up to sleep, which will give you hours of pleasure to see.

A pair of rabbits is far more rewarding to have at home than a solitary animal, but the care and time and attention you need to give them is exactly the same. In fact if you do have a solitary rabbit, you will need to give more time and attention to keeping them company…

Can a rabbit live with another animal?

Another favourite pet that lives in a hutch – guinea pigs, are often paired with rabbits, but there is no indication that having a different species as company is beneficial, and they could even be detrimental to one another. Guinea pigs and rabbits have different food requirements where guinea pigs need lots of vitamin C, in excess it can be harmful to rabbits. Rabbits only speak rabbit, and studies show that they value the company of other rabbits as much as they value food, so unless you have a rabbit/guinea pig bond already, we’d suggest you match your species. Rabbit Welfare

Rabbits are also prey to larger animals, including cats, so if they are ever together the rabbit will feel instantly threatened. If you have an indoor rabbit, please think carefully about where he lives and how much access the cat has to that place.

RSPCA Oxfordshire has numerous rabbits in foster care at any time. Many are in bonded pairs, just like Elena and Ons in the photo, who find it more difficult to find a home than a solitary bunny, despite them being just as easy to care for.

Please get in touch or keep an eye on our ‘Find a Pet’ page if you’d like to rehome a rabbit pair.