Bunny Care Guide: Should I Get One Rabbit, Or Two?
Often when one is getting a pet, especially if space is already limited, it is tempting to get just one. This is unfortunate for many animals who tend to be gregarious. Bunnies fall into this group of pets, and though they can be kept alone, they are often happier if there is two or more of them. If you get a pair of bunnies when they are very young, this process is simple. Assuming that they are not both same sexed rabbits who mature and begin to fight due to hormones, bunnies who have been raised together from kits are generally pair bonded for life.
But perhaps you aren't in this situation. Perhaps you already have a young or adult bunny who has been kept on its own for some time. If this is the case, you may find that you have an interesting predicament before you. Although your rabbit probably will do better with company, rabbits are very picky about who they will and will not be friends with. So simply going to the pet store, getting another rabbit and tossing it in the cage with your existing pet is not going to be good for either bunny.
First of all, this is a very stressful scenario for any creature, and is really tantamount to emotional cruelty. Any new rabbit you obtain will need to have its own quarters and its own space. Bunnies can be very territorial, and although pair bonded bunnies will often share sleeping space quite happily, a new arrival has very much yet to earn that place. Imagine if you were relaxing in your bedroom, perhaps even dozing in your bed, and all of a sudden there is a stranger in there! It is discomforting to say the least, and like people would have a tendency to do, bunnies can get violent if confronted in this way with the new addition to the household.
Ideally you should take your bunny to a rabbit shelter or breeder's property and let it 'pick' a new companion. Some bunnies will instantly get along, whereas others won't. Rabbits that don't instantly get along probably never will, so no matter how cute one of the prospective bunnies looks, don't bring it home unless you want a very annoyed resident rabbit, and you're prepared to spend time making sure they have separate areas to run in.
If this is not an option, you can take a chance and simply chose a bunny you like. It may or may not go well with your new rabbit, but it is important that the two are introduced on neutral ground. Your existing rabbit is much more likely to be aggressive if it feels his or her territory is being invaded. Two females or a spayed male and female are the best matches.
As with all difficult social situations, allow both bunnies to have an easy out. Don't shove them at one another, let them discover one another. Some bunny aficionados even recommend taking both bunnies for a drive in the car in separate but adjoining cages, the theory being that the stress helps bond the bunnies together, something like a rabbit team building exercise.
Take it slow, be sensible, and let your bunnies decide how their friendship is going to progress and you should be fine.
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