Rabbits are lively, energetic, and very gregarious creatures. They will develop strong relationships with other rabbits and even people. Pet rabbits have the potential to be fantastic pets, provided you know what to expect from them. A person or family with the time and space to devote to an energetic pet that likes snuggling and playing and requires a reasonable level of upkeep is the ideal owner for a pet rabbit. Lionhead, mini lop, mini rex, rex, lop, Dutch, English spot, and hotot are just a few of the several kinds of rabbits that exist.

Species Overview


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Oryctolagus cuniculus

ADULT SIZE: 8 to 20 inches long on average, weighing 2 to 20 pounds (varies by breed)

LIFESPAN: 8 years on average (varies by breed)

Rabbit Behavior and Temperament

It is a sociable animal, the rabbit. Additionally, they are typically fairly calm, lively, and interesting to watch when handled gently. Many people can even learn to come when called and to answer to their name.

Rabbits frequently develop strong relationships with their owners and like being around them. Certain bunnies don’t mind being picked up. However, they frequently prefer to have their feet on the ground and like snuggling up for pet time close to their humans. Although they don’t often bite, some may scratch if they feel mistreated.1 As a result, youngsters who aren’t familiar with delicate handling shouldn’t usually have pet rabbits.

To satisfy their demand for social interaction, it is recommended to have many rabbits. As long as they are spayed and neutered, individuals of the opposite sex can coexist. Additionally, some rabbits may get along with other domestic animals, such as well-behaved dogs and cats. However, they must never be in the presence of other creatures who would consider them prey.

Rabbits make typically calm pets, and taking care of them just requires routine cleanings and daily feedings. It’s also essential that they get daily exercise outside of their cage. They also need chewing. There should be plenty of safe chew toys available, and any areas where the rabbit is permitted to wander must be well rabbit-proofed. When a rabbit is denied toys and social interaction, it frequently behaves destructively.

Size Information

Rabbit breeds range widely in size, stretching around 8 to 20 inches long. There are small breeds that only weigh a couple pounds, as well as large breeds that can be 20 pounds or more.


Since rabbits are predatory animals, keeping your rabbit indoors in a cage is often a better choice than putting him outside.

Your rabbit should be kept in an enclosure that is at least 2 feet by 3 feet in size for one medium-sized rabbit while not being closely watched. When housing many rabbits, additional space is required. When your rabbit is stretched out completely on its hind legs, the height of the enclosure should be higher than the height of the rabbit. Avoid using wire-bottom cages for rabbits since their feet are delicate; instead, use a dog box with a plastic bottom.3

Inside the enclosure, provide your rabbit with:

  • Plenty of toys, including chew toys
  • A shelf onto which your rabbit can hop to maintain leg strength
  • Ceramic food and water dishes
  • A litter box

Make sure there is enough space in the enclosure after putting everything in it for your rabbit to fully stretch out with its rear legs out.

When their owners are around, many pet rabbits are free to explore the house. If you decide to accept it, make sure your home is rabbit-proof. Electrical cables are precisely the correct height for rabbits to detect and chomp on since they enjoy chewing.

You may offer your rabbit access to an exercise pen if you don’t want to let it roam free inside the house. The best pens are those made for pups. They provide your rabbit room to wander around without allowing them to explore potentially hazardous areas. Even as their main enclosure, exercise pens are used by many owners for their rabbits.

Specific Substrate Needs

No matter what kind of housing arrangement you pick for your rabbit, ensure sure the floor is nonslip. To provide the rabbit some padding, some owners cover the cage floor with washable carpeting. For your rabbit to build a comfy nest, you may also lay down some straw. Never use clumping litter; use dye-free paper litter in the litter box. Plan to wash down the entire cage with mild soap and water once a week and to clean the litter box at least every other day.

Brown and tan rabbit in cage in between litter pan and small bowl of carrots and lettuce
The Spruce / Sarah Lee
Gray and black rabbit laying down next to bowl of rabbit food
Gray and black rabbit outside closeup on its face

What Do Rabbits Eat & Drink?

Since they are herbivores, rabbits should eat largely hay every day. Feed as much grass hay as you like every day, such as timothy, oat, or orchard grass; stay away from alfalfa hay. Hay can be simply piled in the enclosure or placed in a hopper, a unique type of feeder. Just make sure some are constantly accessible.

Add a variety of green leafy vegetables to the hay as a supplement. Herbs, watercress, carrot tops, cucumbers, sprouts, lettuces (apart from iceberg), and watercress are all healthy options. Other fruits and vegetables should be provided in smaller quantities. For advice on feeding rates and to ensure that everything you give the rabbit is safe, see your veterinarian. Once or twice a day, you may give your rabbit fresh food by simply putting it in the cage next to it. After a few hours, throw away any uneaten fresh food to avoid spoiling.

Additionally, you can provide a restricted supply of commercial rabbit pellets. Overfeeding on pellets, however, can lead to obesity and intestinal problems.4 So make sure to talk to your veterinarian about the feeding quantity. Put enough pellets in the ceramic bowl to last a day. Before feeding the amount for the next day, throw away any unused pellets.

And lastly, rabbits should always have access to clean water. Use a ceramic bowl or water bottle fastened to the side of the cage, and change the water every day. Make sure your rabbit learns how to drink from the bottle.

Common Health Problems

Rabbits are prone to certain medical problems, such as:5

  • Digestive issues, including blockages and diarrhea
  • Eye problems, such as corneal ulcers
  • Respiratory infections
  • Skin issues, such as mites and fleas

Some rabbits also might experience overgrown teeth. Rabbit teeth continuously grow and need to be worn down via their diet and chew toys. Overgrown teeth can make it difficult for a rabbit to eat and drink and typically must be trimmed by a vet.6


Not all veterinarians accept rabbits as patients. So before acquiring a pet rabbit, make sure there is a vet near you who will be able to treat it.

Training Your Rabbit

Litter Training

Due to their tendency to choose specific locations as their toilets, rabbits are generally tidy animals and respond well to litter box training. Put a litter box within the rabbit’s enclosure, where it has already relieved itself, that it can easily hop into and out of. Additionally, guarantee that your rabbit has access to a box whenever it is outside of its enclosure. It’s advisable to keep the rabbit’s outside space to a small area (like a puppy playpen) until it has mastered the usage of a litter box. That way, when it has to relieve itself, it shouldn’t be too far from a box.

Add some hay to the box along with the litter to encourage your rabbit to enter. To keep it clean, change the hay everyday. change the litter every few days. The rabbit won’t likely want to use the box if it gets too dirty. Additionally, unspayed or unneutered rabbits are more inclined to defecate beyond the litter box to indicate their territory.


Getting several hours of exercise per day is essential to keep a rabbit happy and to prevent health issues, such as obesity. Let your rabbit out of its enclosure as much as possible to allow it to roam in a safe area, as long as you’re able to supervise. A minimum of four hours outside of the enclosure per day is ideal. To encourage activity, offer toys such as a tunnel for exploration or a treat ball.


Although rabbits do groom themselves, brushing aids in removing lank hair and avoiding hairballs. Routinely brush short-haired rabbits once every week. To avoid tangles and matting, long-haired rabbits may require regular brushing.

In general, baths are not required, but you might need to gently wipe a dirty area of your rabbit’s coat with a moist cloth to spot clean it.

Since they spend most of their lives inside, most rabbits also require nail trimming since their nails don’t naturally wear down sufficiently. You can learn how to correctly clip nails at home from your veterinarian.

Read More: Complete Care and Maintenance Guide for House Rabbits

Upkeep Costs

Despite their diminutive size, rabbits are quite costly pets. Your main monthly expenses will be for food and litter. Depending on how many rabbits you have and whatever types you pick, budget between $40 and $60 per rabbit. Additionally, you’ll have to spend $10 to $20 on replacements for worn-out toys, particularly chew toys, on a frequent basis. Last but not least, remember to include periodic veterinarian checks and emergencies in your budget.

Pros & Cons of Keeping a Rabbit as a Pet

Rabbits are quiet pets that don’t take up a great deal of space. They also can be quite social, playful, and engaged with their owners. However, their upkeep is relatively expensive. And they need a lot of interaction, which often means keeping a second rabbit.

Purchasing or Adopting Your Rabbit

Pet stores may have rabbits, but frequently they won’t be able to provide you with enough details regarding the history and health of their rabbits. It is preferable to choose a reputable breeder or rescue group. Because some individuals tend to misjudge the animal’s care requirements, costs, and longevity, it is simple to discover adoptable rabbits. The typical price range is $20 to $100, however it might vary depending on the breed and age of the rabbit.


Local vets that specialize in exotic animals may be able to suggest a reputable breeder or rescue group for you. A breeder’s major advantage is that you’ll probably have access to a larger range of young animals and uncommon breeds. Don’t disregard elder rescue bunnies, though. Older rabbits are frequently already calm around people and often litter trained, so you can tell a lot about their personalities straight immediately.

If you want to bring home numerous rabbits, talk to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering to prevent becoming an unintentional breeder yourself.



  • Does a rabbit make a good pet for kids?

    Rabbits can be good pets for older children who understand how to handle them gently and respect that rabbits don’t always like to be picked up.

  • Are rabbits hard to take care of?

    Rabbits require a moderate amount of care that involves daily feedings, regular cleanings, and lots of play and interaction.

  • Does a rabbit like to be held?

    Some rabbits accept being held, but most prefer to remain on the ground. However, many still enjoy cuddling up next to their favorite humans.

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