Before deciding on a rabbit as a pet, ask yourself some questions, such as: What do I want from a pet? Can I afford it? Should I get one or two rabbits? Will a rabbit get on with other pets?
Before deciding on a rabbit as a pet, it might be helpful to ask yourself these questions:-
What do I want from a pet?
Rabbits can be very affectionate and interactive but this is dependent on how comfortable and safe they feel in their environment. They are prey creatures who scare easily and need gentle handling. They love routine, dislike change and do not travel well. However, a rabbit that feels secure and whose needs are respected will be a wonderful companion - playful, bossy, demanding, mischievous and, above all, loving.
Will a rabbit fit in with my lifestyle?
A rabbit's key needs are companionship and exercise. They are most active at dawn and dusk and therefore fit well with people who work through the day and are able to spend time with their rabbit in the morning and evenings. As they do not make noise like a cat or dog they are very good indoor pets for people living in close proximity to their neighbours.
Can I afford it?
Rabbits are not particularly cheap pets. The initial cost of buying a rabbit and providing housing for it can be up to £300. Rabbits must be vaccinated twice a year against myxomatosis and yearly against VHD, costing around £20 to £30 per vaccination and it is strongly recommended that rabbits are neutered or spayed, like a cat or dog, to reduce behavioural problems and prevent cancer, costing around £60 for neutering and £90 for spaying.
Should I get one or two rabbits?
Rabbits need almost constant companionship. The best way to provide this is to keep two rabbits together. If you can only keep one rabbit due to cost or space restraints, you should spend as much time as possible every day with the rabbit; this is much easier if you have a house rabbit rather than a hutch rabbit. Your rabbit will relish the attention you give it as you are the provider of food, shelter and affection but for true companionship nothing beats another rabbit.
Should I get a rabbit for my child?
Rabbits are traditionally seen as a children's pet but in fact are not an ideal pet for a young child. They require a certain amount of looking after in terms of cleaning the cage etc and children naturally often get bored with this. They need to be handled gently so are not good for "rough and tumble". Put simply - a young child's boisterous and noisy nature is not a good fit with a rabbit's natural fear of loud noises and sudden movements. However, if you are happy to take responsibility for the care of the rabbit and are able to spend some time introducing your child to a rabbit and explaining their needs, children and rabbits will co-exist very happily.
Will a rabbit get on with my other pets?
Rabbits are often kept with guineapigs but this is not ideal as the guineapig will usually end up being bullied by the rabbit.
Rabbits can become friends with cats and dogs if the introductions are carried out properly and the cat or dog is not of an aggressive nature. However, nature dictates that cats and dogs are predators and rabbits are prey, therefore no relationship is ever entirely safe. At all times the rabbit should have somewhere to retreat to where the cat or dog cannot go.