Home » FAQs

Frequently asked questions about rabbit care, diet, health, behaviour and more, with links to further reading

What should I feed my rabbit?

    Rabbits should be fed a hay based diet with small amounts of dry food and vegetables. A rabbit should eat approximately its own body volume in hay every day - that's a pile of hay as big as your rabbit - about an eggcup full of dry food (nuggets, not mix) and a variety of green, leafy vegetables such as spring greens, broccoli, savoy cabbage etc. Click here for more info on feeding rabbits

What plants are safe for my rabbit to eat?

    Rabbits do not have an instinct for what plants are safe to eat and as a general rule of thumb should be kept away from any plants grown from bulb and evergreen shrubs and trees. Click here for a list of safe and poisonous plants

Can I keep two rabbits together?

    Yes, as long as both rabbits are de-sexed and are introduced correctly. They are best kept in pairs of neutered male and spayed female. Rabbits are very gregarious and companionship is vital to their emotional wellbeing. Click here for more info on introducing rabbits

Can I keep my rabbit indoors?

    Rabbits can be kept indoors, either in a cage or free range (house rabbit). They are very easy to litter train and no more destructive than a cat or dog. Click here for more info on house rabbits

What type of bedding is best for rabbits?

    The traditional rabbit bedding is wood shavings or sawdust, however, studies have shown this to cause liver disease in rabbits. The best bedding to use is a paper pulp bedding such as Carefresh or a wood pellet cat litter, both of which are highly absorbent and control odour well. Click here for more info on bedding for rabbits

Why won't my rabbit let me stroke it?

    This may be because your rabbit associates being stroked with being picked up. Let your rabbit approach you, for example at dinnertime, and stroke it a couple of times before it has a chance to run away. Your rabbit will soon associate being stroked with good things and let you stroke it for longer and longer each time. Click here for more info on interacting with your rabbit

Why is my rabbit aggressive towards me?

    Female rabbits can be territorial, especially over their litter tray and sleeping area, so avoid disturbing your rabbit when she is in the tray and clean it out when she's not looking. Aggression is also associated with fear, perhaps your rabbit has had a bad experience in the past and his/her trust of humans is broken. A lot of patience and time is needed to build a bond with a rabbit so don't give up hope, just keep treating him/her gently. Rabbits can also show aggression when they are in pain so if your rabbit is normally placid then take it to the vet for a check up. Click here for more info on behavioural problems

Why does my rabbit bite me?

    This can either be a sign of aggression or simply a way of getting your attention, for example when the rabbit wants its dinner. It can also be a request for you to move your hands or feet out of its way. Click here for more info on rabbit behaviour

Why does my rabbit not like being picked up or held?

    Rabbits have a natural fear of heights so it is better to interact with them at ground level. Try wrapping a nervous rabbit in a towel or blanket when you hold it, this will prevent it kicking out and hurting itself and will stop it scratching you. Click here for more info on handling your rabbit

Why does my rabbit chew holes in the furniture and / or the carpet?

    This is usually a sign of boredom though most rabbits display this behaviour at times. If there is a particular area where your rabbit likes to dig or chew, cover it with a blanket or spare piece of carpet and offer your rabbit alternatives such as newspaper, cardboard or some apple or willow wood to chew on. Click< here for more info on destructive behaviour

Why does my rabbit chew cables?

    Rabbits seem particularly drawn to cables, perhaps because they resemble tree roots which would need digging out of burrows in the wild. Always protect cables with plastic cable covers. Click here for more info on rabbit proofing your home

Why does my rabbit run around my feet?

    This is most likely a way of getting your attention or of begging for food. In unneutered males, this may also be courtship behaviour and may be accompanied by spraying urine. Click here for more info on common rabbit behaviour

Why does my rabbit try to mate with my feet / soft toy / cushion / another rabbit?

    Female rabbits may sometimes mount others as a sign of dominance but generally speaking this behaviour is seen in unneutered male rabbits. This is very frustrating for your rabbit so it is kindest to have him neutered. Click here for more info on neutering rabbits

Why does my rabbit pull out its fur?

    Unspayed females will sometimes do this when they are going through a phantom pregnancy. They may attempt to build a nest and line it with their fur. This usually only lasts a week or so but is distressing for your rabbit so it is best to get her spayed. Click here for more info on spaying rabbits

Why does my rabbit pee outside the litter tray?

    If your rabbit has lost its litter training, try confining it in a smaller area with the litter tray for a while. Clean up any messes to remove the smell so the rabbit doesn't go there again when released. A dilution of white vinegar is good at removing rabbit urine from most surfaces. Click here for more info on litter training

Why does my rabbit leave droppings outside the litter tray?

    This is very common behaviour and is your rabbit's way of marking the territory around the litter tray as his/her own. There is not much you can do to stop this, just sweep them up and put them in the tray

Why is my rabbit sitting hunched up and showing no interest in its surroundings?

    This is a sign of illness, especially when accompanied by the rabbit not eating. Unless sleeping, a normal rabbit will be moving around freely, alert and interested. Click here for more info on rabbit healthchecks and spotting signs of illness

Why is my rabbit not eating?

    A rabbit not eating is a very serious problem as gut stasis can occur within hours. This is often the first sign of illness in rabbits and can be caused by any number of things, the most common being overgrown teeth which are causing the rabbit pain when it tries to eat. Click here for more info on GI stasis

Why is my rabbit panting?

    This can be caused by the rabbit being overweight, too hot or ill. Rabbits don't cope well with extremes of temperature and can very quickly overheat. Click here for more info on heat exhaustion

Why is my rabbit unsteady on its legs?

    This may be a sign of a potentially fatal illness, E. Cuniculi and can be accompanied by head tilt, convulsions and tremors. Click here for more info on E. Cuniculi

Why is my rabbit dribbling?

    This is most likely caused by overgrown teeth, leading to the rabbit dribbling food or saliva down its chin. Click here for more info on rabbit dental disease

Why does my rabbit have a wet nose and / or runny eyes?

    Runny eyes are relatively common in rabbits and have a variety of causes, including dental disease, infections or exposure to an irritant. Click here for more info on runny eyes in rabbits. When accompanied by a runny nose, this can be a sign of a more serious problem, Pasteurella. Click here for more info on Pasteurella

Why does my rabbit keep shaking its head?

    This is usually indicative of a problem with the rabbit's ears, although sometimes rabbits shake their head and flick their ears when they are excited or to invite you to play. Click here for more info on ear mites

Why is my rabbit grinding its teeth?

    A soft grinding of the teeth, for example when you are stroking your rabbit, indicates contentment, while a louder grinding may be a sign of overgrown teeth or pain in general

Why are my rabbit's droppings soft and / or runny?

    Rabbits produce two kinds of droppings, the round solid pellets that you see and softer caecal pellets that they take directly from their bottoms and eat. If your rabbit is producing an excess of these caecal pellets its diet is probably too rich in vegetables and too poor in hay. Click here for more info on sticky bottom syndrome in rabbits

Why does my rabbit have bald spots on its back feet?

    Many rabbits, particularly house rabbits who spend a lot of time running and sitting on hard floors, can develop sore hocks where the hair rubs off their heels. In most rabbits this is not a problem but if the bald spots become red or inflamed they will need to be treated. Sore hocks are much more common in overweight rabbits and those with long nails. Click here for more info on sore hocks

Share this