Rabbit 101 by the RSPCA
We’ve asked our friends at the RSPCA Halifax and Huddersfield Branch for advice for people who own or are thinking of adopting a rabbit into the family. Here’s everything you need to know.
1. Rabbits are active
They need opportunities to hop/run/jump/dig/stand fully upright on their back legs or stretch out fully when lying down.
You need to 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.
2. Rabbits are a prey species
They need to hide in secure places, away from sights and smells of predators (e.g. foxes/cats/dogs/ferrets/birds of prey). 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
Provide constant access to safe hiding places to escape if feeling afraid. Rabbits need to hide from things that scare them.
Provide a safe, secure, hazard-free environment for them to live in. Any hazards within their environment may injure them.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. If you’re away
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).
The size/temperature of anywhere they’re left (including vehicles) needs to be appropriate.
If you’re interested in giving a rabbit, guinea pig or other small animals a home, please visit the RSPCA website (www.rspca-halifaxandhuddersfield.org.uk) to view all the lovely animals looking for their fur-ever families! You can read more about taking care of your rabbit here.