Do Rabbits Make Good Family Pets?
We often get asked about rehoming rabbits to families with children.
Rabbits CAN make excellent family pets but this is not always the case.
However, we do end up with many rabbits here in rescue because families have been misled about their needs and behaviour, it is never the fault of the rabbit.
What would our top five tips been for families considering rabbits?
1) Rabbits should always be the responsibility of the adults in the house. They need to be able to be committed to providing for and caring for the rabbits for the next 10 to 12 years.
2) Rabbits are not toys, their primary role should not be to entertain your children nor to teach them about responsibility.
3) Consider the rabbits needs. Rabbits require 24/7 access to a minimum predator proof space of at least 3m by 2m can you honestly give this? They require a neutered companion, healthy diet, varied enrichment, yearly vaccinations and can suffer from complex health issues. Are you happy to invest the time and money required over a rabbits lifetime to ensure these needs are always met?
4) Can you ensure your rabbits will be free from fear? Essentially this means on a day to day basis that you are always giving the rabbits the choice of interacting with you and your children or the choice of removing themselves from interaction.
As they are prey animals, rabbits do not like to be held, they are easily scared by loud noises and fast movements.
A child that is always supervised around the rabbits and will happily sit, quietly on the ground and let the rabbit come to them and that understands about how and where to stroke them and how to safely offer the rabbit healthy treats means there is a good chance of point 5 being achieved.
5) Giving your family the best chance at a successful relationship with any rabbits in the household.
Have a rabbit safety zone, this is an area with multiple hideouts with more than one exit that the child is not allowed to enter, then the rabbits will not feel threatened or be forced into exhibiting fear aggressive behaviour.
Ensure that your rabbit is neutered and healthy and has a friend of their own kind.
Ensure your rabbit has enough space and enrichment at all times to keep them mentally as well as physically healthy.