Bunnies and Kids: Are Rabbits Good Pets For Children?

Rabbits have been popular pets for children for many decades, and hutches down the bottom of the garden have become both a fixture in many homes, and a fond childhood for many. As people have come to understand bunnies better however, and to realize that keeping a rabbit in a wire box in the back yard can be tantamount to animal cruelty, there has also been a shift in the perception of the role of rabbits as children's pets.

Many bunny publications will stoutly declare "Rabbits are not good pets for children", and this can be true, up to a point. Rabbits are not good pets for anyone who is rough, impatient, or cruel. Rabbits often have no time for nonsense and will quickly put an end to interaction they don't like, by biting, scratching, or running away. If you don't like the idea that your child could be on the receiving end of a rather physical correction from a rabbit that doesn't want its ears pulled, or as the result of some such other real or perceived offense, then you should not be thinking about a rabbit as a pet for your darling offspring.

However, if the premise of getting a pet for your child is to teach your child how to be responsible for another life, and how to be caring, gentle, and understanding of other creatures and their needs, then a rabbit can be a perfect pet. Rabbits can be kept in relatively small apartments, if given the opportunity to run around outside of their cages. They are quiet, and do not smell as long as they are kept clean. (Keeping them clean may require cleaning them out twice daily if they are in a small cage in a small space however.)

If the necessary time is taken with them, they can become affectionate and playful pets, and if they are well taken care of, may even live between 5 - 10 years.

Some things you should be aware of if you are intending on getting a rabbit as a pet for your child:

Rabbits need exercise like any other animal. They are a prey animal, and their joy comes from running around, jumping and twisting in the air. They cannot be kept in their little cage or little backyard run indefinitely. Think of how rabbits are in the wild. They do not hop around in a few feet's worth of space, and a domestic rabbit loves to run around as much as its wild counterpart.

They need attention and affection, and they need it at their own pace. They are not good candidates for childish smothering, and small children will need to be supervised around them.

However, many rabbits are not overly receptive to human attention, especially in the beginning, You and your child will need to take the time to build the rabbit's trust.

Rabbits can scratch and bite. These are both painful, and can easily result from clumsy handling.

Bunnies are relatively frail, and special care has to be taken so that they do not hurt themselves while they are being handled or picked up.

Rabbits need a constant supply of hay.

Rabbits should NEVER be fed lettuce, as this can be lethal. There are a number of other things bunnies should never be fed, you can find them here: BAD BUNNY FOOD

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Comments 40 comments

abby 8 years ago


Toni 8 years ago

A friend of mine gave my son a rabbit. I didn't think he was responsible enough, but since i love rabbits, i though i would give it a try and if he was not gentle enough, i would take care of him. Better then going to the shelter i thought. Well this rabbit instantly became the pride of my sons life. The rabbits name was Buddy and he absolutley hated everyone in my house, of course, he didn't know anyone. However as soon as he laid eyes on my son, they were the best of friends. Buddy would wait for everyone to leave the room so it was richard(by son) and him alone and he would leave the cage, jump on the bed(actually on his back) and they would watch cartoons together. Plenty of space to run, more then enough trouble to get into, but cartoons is all they both wanted. Unfortunately, buddy passed away in July and richard was so upset. Buddy was fairly old, and i believe he had a heart attack from fireworks being set off by my neighbor. He really wanted a new rabbit, but i could not imagine a baby bunny being as content as Buddy was, but again, i love rabbits and was willing to take of the care of the new baby. Don't you know, this 3 month old baby bunny does the exact same thing. We have a huge and i mean huge area in the back yard for her to play--not interested. More cardboard mazes then my house should have--no interest. Cartoons and richard are all she is interested. She is almost like a puppy waiting for him after school. Now this rabbit loves me too, so im happy, but I think richard may be the bunny whisperer. Any one else have an experience like this??

Angela Veryser 8 years ago

That's the sweetest story I've ever read. We've had rats and I can tell you countless stories like my sick old dumbo rat which almost lost her hair by that time sitting on my hubbys feet every night until she died. And them eating off our plates and cleaning our ears with the most ticklish heavenly sensation you could imagine and making chittering noises while we stroke them. We even had a rat who loved nothing more than getting loooooong back rubs! And even a story about our favorite rat dying in our arms with tears falling upon her hairless body cannot compare to the story I just read. Maybe of course that is because we are getting two funny bunny lionheads tomorrow!!!! So exited...our 8 mo old baby was so exited while watching the pictures with us yesterday I cannot believe that she could understand that those small pix were actually pets but I recognize her "augh augh" sounds that she makes when she goes after my mothers cats. Well, I hope you have the longest life with your lil bunny and I hope that our expierence will be as beautiful as yours.

renee 8 years ago

i want arabbit

brian4 8 years ago

i think ur bunny is cool and i have one and they good for kids

tina 8 years ago

bunnys are great pets for kids if they are traned

Gina 7 years ago

I WANT A RABBIT!!!!!!!!!! Well Im getting one but not until 3 months and I have to take care of my two cats and dog and it sucks because I have to get up at 3 i n the morning everyday even on the weekends. My dad says that "It will be good for you besides you don't even take care of the dog. HE says that I won't be able to do but im gonna show him wrong. By the way if I do it I'm getting a hollond lop.

Zainab 7 years ago

I think bunny are good pets but a little hard to take care of.

Emza's 7 years ago

My cat has recently passed away and i want an indoor/outdoor pet i thought a rabbit or guinnie pig would be good but i never realy liked them, i have always being scared of them! but after reading all these comments i have changed my mind, i don't want another cat because she got run over, she was very young, and my parents said i could get another pet in time. i don't want an animal that roams the street, and i can't get a dog because we already have 2 and one of them is very agresive, our 2 dogs have grown up together but he is getting better we go to training every week and that has helped! thanks for all the advise.

Abi 7 years ago

I am going to get two rabbits soon, does anyone have any advice, as I have not had one before, although my mum has had three so can help, but I would like to know some more information. I am getting my rabbits (hopefully a baby ones!) from the local RSPCA centre, and am going to get a large hutch with a big run too! I am sooooo excited!

lavender 7 years ago

That's so cool i have a rabbit

Aisling 7 years ago

hi my name is Aisling and I am getting a miniuture bunny and I think there great pets but my brothers got a pet snake so I gotta watch out

vanesssa123 7 years ago

do you know that some idiots thought they had to buy a spray for spay

Mahia 7 years ago

I have two amazing rabbits Dumbo (a mini lop) and Munchies a dwarf, that ended up not being so dwarf like. Anyways they both have very different personalities. Dumbo loves to run around and play with you, where Munchies just likes to chill with me when im playing video games, he likes to give me kisses constantly and will follow me just about anywhere around the house. Dumbo also follows me but he will often get frustrated if i don't play with him or give him attention. They're amazing pets and much nicer than my roommates cat (who attacks all humans). Plus, my bunnies love dogs, and other animals (aside from the cat they live with) and are very dog-like as far as training them goes. Patience and persistent work on training a rabbit goes a long way!

The Info-Bunnie profile image

The Info-Bunnie 6 years ago

Yes you are very right. Rabbits make awesome companions for children but to the children: Please be carful, in my four years, I have had male rabbits that don't like to be played with. Most of them were Lion Head Rabbits. Not all males are aggressive, some actually are nicer than some females. All rabbits are different. They all have different personalities, characteristics, and looks. Please choose your rabbit or kit wisely.

want a bunny 6 years ago

i want a bunny but i travel a lot got any advice?

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mrbartley 6 years ago

Sorry to say but you're totally wrong on the lettuce an what not to eat for rabbits. Here in Japan, there are 23,000 elementary schools that all keep rabbits. These rabbits only receive scrap vegetables produced through making the school lunch. So a rabbit's diet here includes carrot, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, cucumber etc.

I've also kept rabbits for a number of years and have always given them lettuce and they've never had a problem.

And the final nail in your anti-lettuce-for-rabbit belief is this article on the University of Miami's website by Dr Dana Krempels on rabbit diet which you can read here: http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/diet.html

Besides, if you've ever had a garden, those wild rabbits have no problem eating your lettuce and other vegetables.

Rabbit wanter age 11 6 years ago

I really want a Rabbit but my mom said that Rabbits are not for kids, also i am very patient and quiet, i think a rabbit is the pet for me. but i will have a hard time convicing my parents! any ideas!

Jasmyn 6 years ago

I have 3 California Whites and I love them I have 2 females and 1 Male and my oldest female is going to have babies soon very excited I have been reading books and doing my studies on line so I can be prepared for when they get here. My mom's boyfriend and I are going to make a nesting box soon for Dandy and her babies we still have about 3 weeks till they will be here. But unfornutely we will be out of town about the time she has them. I hope Dandy and her babies will be okay.

Jasmyn 11 years old In Wyoming.

losaa 6 years ago

um i have a hammy. but i like rabbits.

Kid who loves rodents 6 years ago

Well, I don't have a rabbit, but I have two rats. Anyway, what I'm gonna say is: my friend and her little sister both have rabbits, and they give them constant love and exercise. They don't annoy them, and the rabbits seem very happy. I don't believe that rabbits are not good for kids. I just think that 1. you have to choose the rabbit carefully, as all rabbits are different, and 2. with small children, always supervise.

lalala 6 years ago

I am getting a rabbit in two months cuz' i am saving up for one with my pocket money. My dad cracked and is now giving me money for the vet for its vaccinations


Nataly 6 years ago

I have a 4 month old rabbit he is adorable!

Jazmyne 6 years ago

I want a dog, but my mom lives in an apartment so we cant have dogs,or cats. So I was thinking of a bunny. We seen bunnys at Goody's Pet Sulp, wich is only acrossed the road. I want a pure black male but my mom wants the oppisite, she wants a pure brown female. Can you help me think of bunny names for a pure black male, or female. Im excited. My mom is gonna get me whatever 1 I want. What colors or names os gender should i get?

Jazmyne again 6 years ago

Sorry I forrgot to sat THANK YOU very much for all the information and Toni that was a beautiful. Good Luck To every one!!

rabbit master 5 years ago

to jazmyne, u could call ur rabbit midnight or star???

Everyone else, i think the hol thing about rabbits not being okay for children is pathetic because my for year old daughter has a rabbit and the rabbit loves her BD

Ash 5 years ago

My Momma might get my little sister a rabbit (sister is 7) and I also have another sister (9) what type of rabbit should we get? We also have a female hamster and we live in Arizona?

Internet Troll 5 years ago

Why don't you get a gay bunny! just like you!

S&A Angels Rabbitry 5 years ago

wut are u thinkin? seriously? rabbits can make GREAT pets an i personaly say if u have a small child get a bigger breed so u don't gotta worry about the kid stepping on it im 16 now an had bunnies all my life an are able to handle the big breeds such as flemsih with eas i breed flemsih, french lops, lionheads, and netherlnd dwarfs!


credo2002 5 years ago

Is is expensive to have a rabbit as a pet? How much approximately is the yearly cost ~ with food, vaccines, etc.? What about monthly cost/maintenance? What is the best type of rabbit for kids 7-10 years old?

sarah 5 years ago

i luv bunny's

jones 5 years ago

hi sarah

victoria 5 years ago

hi everybody what's up it's vicy best

nina 5 years ago

































maria 5 years ago

hola como estas tenes ambre

the girl who wants a bunny 4 years ago

i want a bunny soo badly i am one child out of 4 who will get a pet 1st any tips?

aliceleftinwonder profile image

aliceleftinwonder 4 years ago from Somewhere along I-5

Thanks for the article. I raised, breed, and showed rabbits from about seven until high school (I still had them, but stopped showing).

As far as a pet for children, I agree completely; you have to know the temperament of your child and the household. For the most part, it's just like any other pet, and all interaction should be supervised, specifically with younger children.

trace y. 3 years ago

wow that's so great

eddy 3 years ago

i think rabbits are ummm.. nice i am going to get one in 1 day form now i think thay are paly full :) soooo ya

hailee dorgan 2 years ago

they are so good

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