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Tips On What To Expect If You Are Getting A Bunny Rabbit As A Pet: What You Should Know

Updated on December 23, 2017
sangre profile image

Having a bunny rabbit as a pet is a real joy and you're in for a great adventure.

Dwarf Rabbit.
Dwarf Rabbit. | Source

Bunny Rabbits As Pets

Bunny rabbits are a great pet for every age group. While you always see them associated with children, in fact they are a great pet for adults who wants an indoor pet.

Bunny rabbits are smart, intelligent and extremely adorable. They have a quirky personality and will entertain you on a continuous basis. If you are deciding on getting a pet, why not think about getting a rabbit.

I've personally found being the owner of a bunny rabbit a very enjoyable experience.

Things To Consider Before Getting A Rabbit

If you are thinking of getting a bunny rabbit for your family here are a list of things to think of first.

  1. Location
  2. Age of children in the household
  3. Predators in the area
  4. Weather


If you can house your bunny rabbit indoors, then do choose this option. You can get great indoors hutches that you can put in a corner of your room. Not only will they be in a controlled climate but they will also be in a safe area where nothing can harm them.


If you have children in your home, you need to monitor them when they are around the rabbit. If your child drops a bunny rabbit on the ground by accident, they could break their leg or spine and this is fatal.


If you house your bunny rabbit outside be aware that dogs or wild animals could break into your garden and kill them. This is why it is safer to have them indoors or if possible a hutch set up in your shed which cannot be accessed by predators.


In the summer months bunny rabbits can get heat stroke if they are not kept out of the heat. Similarly when it is cold, you need to ensure they are in a warm area. Don't be careless with the health of your pet.

Why Owning A Bunny Rabbit Is Different

I'm a cat owner as well as a bunny rabbit owner. The difference I found is that the cat can come and go as she wants. Whereas the bunny rabbit is always in the house or confined to the garden. They are in their hutch and play area all day so when you are at work or at school, you should immediately let them out. The cat stays out all day and only comes home to play, sleep and feed her belly.

Cats and dogs can have the run of the house as they usually behave themselves. On the other hand when I first got my rabbit, he had a habit of chewing wires, biting the paint on the walls, chewing the arm of the couch. You get the idea. These were all habits I had to break him out of and which I did with success. But I always know where he is at any time. If I'm in the kitchen, I keep him in the kitchen. Whereas I know I can trust the cat around the different rooms of the house.

I notice that my rabbit likes to sit on the couch, relax and sleep and will give the occasional head butt when he wants some petting. The cat just wants you do throw toys around the kitchen for her to chase. She is very active and when she does relax she goes into her mini igloo and sleeps till morning.

Another thing you will notice is that cats loves running around the house whereas the bunny rabbit is quite happy playing hide and seek under his blanket by himself. But if you leave a door open to another room, your rabbit will immediately run for the door to investigate what is beyond it.

Finally I find that interaction is a key part of owning any pet. Cats and dogs all love play time and so do rabbits. They love playing and want to hang out with you. You need to spend time interacting with your pets. I found that my cat would play for a period of time and then she would go away and eat and then sleep. Rabbits are more inclined to become active in the evening or at night and love being out of their hutch and playing.

I find rabbits to be very social creature and unless you have two who can play with each other, you the owner need to interact with the one you have as much as possible so that they don't get lonely or bored.

Caution When Handling A Bunny Rabbit

Always be careful when picking up a bunny rabbit because unlike with a cat or a dog they are not as tough.

Their bones are tiny and if they are dropped on the ground, they might not land on their feet and end up getting hurt.

There bones are also more fragile compared to a dog and they can break a lot more easily.

Getting A Rabbit For Kids

Teaching children the correct way to pick up and carry a bunny rabbit is the first thing any parent should do if they decide to bring one into their home. Don't leave them alone with the rabbit. Be on hand when they are picking up the rabbit. Make them aware of the dangers of being rough with the bunny rabbit.

Other Factors To Take Account of When Deciding On A Rabbit

  1. The lifespan of rabbits vary from country to country and outside factors can impact their lifespan. Indoors rabbits live longer than rabbits who live outdoors. The lifespan of outdoor rabbits is six years where indoor rabbits can live up to 8 years.

  2. If you can, get two rabbits so they keep each other company. If you only get one, remember a hutch is an area they go to for alone time, not an area you can leave them in for the rest of their life.

  3. Also if you have the space and the money get a hutch which has two levels. Get one that has a big open area in the front where the rabbit can run and play.

  4. When you are at home, you should try to have your rabbit in the house with you so they are getting social interaction.

  5. After all why get a pet if you are not going to hang out and play with them.

Different Bunny Rabbit Breeds

White Angora Rabbit
White Angora Rabbit | Source
Baby Holland lop rabbits
Baby Holland lop rabbits | Source
Lionhead Bunny Rabbit
Lionhead Bunny Rabbit | Source
Netherland Dwarf Bunny Rabbit
Netherland Dwarf Bunny Rabbit | Source

Choosing A Bunny Rabbit

There are a variety of rabbit breeds out there and choosing one can be difficult. You might be limited by what is available from breeders in your area. If the rabbit is for a child then you most likely will choose a dwarf rabbit as the are smaller than the normal breed. If you are getting the rabbit for yourself, then you can get whatever breed you want as you will be more responsible.

If you decide to get a bunny rabbit, you need to determine if you have the time for this type of pet. Owning a bunny rabbit requires a lot of time and patience as you need to build up trust between you and them. Just like with cats and dogs, you need to set time out to train your pet to not be naughty.

Some well know breeds are:

  • Netherland Dwarf rabbit

  • Mini Rex rabbit

  • Holland Lop rabbit

  • Dutch rabbit

  • Lionhead rabbit

  • Angora rabbit

While this lists the most common types of rabbits people are getting, there are many other breeds out there. There are also cross over breeds that might be specific to a particular country.

When you decide you want to have a pet rabbit you can usually find a breeder in your area. Ask your vet for advice or try to purchase one from a really respectable pet store where you know they are not abusing the rabbits.

A sleepy mini rex bunny rabbit lying down and relaxing.
A sleepy mini rex bunny rabbit lying down and relaxing. | Source

Caring For Your Bunny Rabbit

You need to vaccinate your bunny rabbits each year. There are two diseases that rabbits need to be vaccinated against, Myxomatois and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease. Both these diseases can one spread to other rabbits very quickly and two they can cause very painful death to your bunny rabbit.

In Ireland the Myxomatois vaccine is widely used by vets but unless your rabbit shows signs of Viral Haemorrhagic Disease they will not receive this vaccine as it is dangerous to the person who is administering it.

It also has harmful side effects that your pet might be susceptible to. Owners of more than one rabbit need to be alert for ear mites and ringworm. The more rabbits you own, the more chance of this spreading among them.

It's not very often your bunny rabbits will get sick. But any owner needs to be alert to any change in their rabbit’s behaviour. Bunny rabbits don't make any type of noise so you will not be aware that they are in pain and suffering.

I got my rabbit neutered when he was over a year old as he had a habit of spraying urine on my trousers. It got to the point that it was a daily occurrence. The vet I choose to perform the procedure was also the one I got my pet from. So I knew I could trust him.

It is wise to get both male and female rabbits fixed because if you have a male and female rabbit together, they will mate. If you have a female that is not fixed, she might later develop uterine cancer. Similarly if you have two males together, they will attack each other.

Indoor rabbits will need to get their claws clipped once a month. If you are not confident, consult your vet and he/she will clip them. It is important that you don't let them get long because this could cause your bunny rabbit to have problems later on with their feet.

When bunny rabbits are exhausted and feel safe in their surrounding, you will often see them sleep this way. They fall over on their side like they have collapsed.
When bunny rabbits are exhausted and feel safe in their surrounding, you will often see them sleep this way. They fall over on their side like they have collapsed. | Source
Bunny rabbit often lay their head down flat on the ground when they are tired or just want to rest themselves.
Bunny rabbit often lay their head down flat on the ground when they are tired or just want to rest themselves. | Source

Understanding Bunny Rabbits Behaviour

Bunny rabbits are very intelligent creatures. After a few months your rabbit will be able to identify you by the outline of your body and your voice. When you get up or come home, they will get all excited to see you and will want to come out and play.

Rabbits love to get petted just like cats and dogs. They love to have their cheeks and nose rubbed and love getting any attention from you. If you really earn the trust of your rabbit, they will allow you to pet their tummy.

It takes time to earn their trust. For the first few months that I had my rabbit, he ignored me, didn't let me pet him, ran around the house, caused many a person to nearly trip and loved to bang his full food bowl. I though he would never grow up. But one day out of nowhere, I called his name and he ran over. Next thing I knew, in the morning when I got up and went to the kitchen, he would jump up on his cage to be let out. He would be so excited in the mornings for people to get up and that in turn made you smile.

This took time and this is why you need to be patient with your rabbit. Each is different, I got mine from a breeder who was a veterinarian, so I knew his background was not like those in pet stores.

Trust needs to be built between you and your rabbit. But when that trust is formed you will both have a fantastic relationship and you will see your rabbits true personality come out.

Rabbits behave a little differently to cats and dogs. You need to watch their body language to see how they feel. Body positions can give you an impression of their current mood. If their head and body is flat on the ground, it means they are happy and enjoying themselves. If they are jumping up in the air and kicking their legs out to the side doing a Binkies, well give yourself a pat on the back, you have one extremely happy rabbit.

When your rabbit is scared or stressed out, they will thump their back legs on the ground which is their way of giving a warning. Sometimes loud noises can upset your rabbit and he might get frightened so try to remember that animals hearing is stronger than humans.

Types Of Hutches For Your Bunny Rabbit

Large rabbit hutch for your bunny rabbit if they are kept outside.
Large rabbit hutch for your bunny rabbit if they are kept outside. | Source
One story hutch for your rabbits if they live outside.
One story hutch for your rabbits if they live outside. | Source
If you have decided to home your bunny rabbit inside, you can get indoor pens to house them.
If you have decided to home your bunny rabbit inside, you can get indoor pens to house them. | Source

Environment: Should You Keep A Bunny Rabbit Inside or Outdoors

If you decide to keep you rabbit outside you need to make sure you make their environment as safe as possible. These are some of the threats they could face

- Predators

- Overexposure to sun, heat, wind and rain

- Theft

· Diseases

· Shock (with will result in death)

It is your responsibility to have a safe hutch enclosure for your rabbit. You must make sure there is plenty of space for them to run around and get exercise. Keeping your rabbit inside is much safer and gives you more time to bond with your pet.

Bunnies are very sociable creatures and they enjoy nothing more than hanging out with you in your sitting room or the kitchen.

But be aware you must bunny proof your house if you have them inside. Cover wires, beware that bunnies like to chew any type of wood. To avoid your table legs being chewed, please give your bunny a wood toy to chew on and never leave a bunny rabbit in a room unattended.

Also just like cats, your rabbit can be litter trained to go to their litter tray. This take time, and some persistence on your part. But it can be done.

Fill a litter tray with hay or newspaper and keep putting your rabbit in there when they need to go to the bathroom. Eventually he/she will learn this is where they go to do their business.

Never Starve Your Rabbit

When feeding your bunny rabbit, give them plenty of hay and water. Give them enough pellets each day to help keep their digestive system in good working order.
When feeding your bunny rabbit, give them plenty of hay and water. Give them enough pellets each day to help keep their digestive system in good working order. | Source

Feeding Your Rabbit

You need to make sure you feed your rabbit the right food. If you give them human food you could kill them. So don't be tempted to give them a biscuit.

Rabbits need roughage everyday. So you need to have a supply of

  • Pellets

  • Hay

  • Fresh vegetables/fruit

  • Water

You need to make sure when buying pellets that they contain a high fibre content. A lot of the brands out there today are made up of dried vegetables and fruit, but beware that these are loaded with sugar and are not good for the rabbits teeth or their digestive system.

Hay: When giving them hay make sure it is a good alfalfa brand and make sure it is always stocked up in the pen. Fresh hay prevents hairballs and digestive system blockage.

Vegetables: When giving fresh veggies and fruit to rabbits these are a few that they love cabbage, carrots, apple, basil, Brussels sprouts, celery, cilantro, kale, mint, parsley, wheat grass, wheat grass but to name a few. But make sure not to overfeed your rabbit either, give him the correct weight of pellets according to his/her weight.

Water: Always have their water bottle filled up with fresh water. Change it each day. Also rabbits can drink water from a bowl. I have a bowl of water on the ground when my rabbit is in the kitchen.

Final Tip

Rabbits like to chew and nibble on wood. So make sure you buy the wood sticks available in all good pet stores. As a rabbits teeth are constantly growing you need to give them wood sticks to chew on. This also keeps them away from your wooden furniture.


Rabbits are just like any other animal, they are intelligent, loving and sweet. Just like any other pets they are a joy to own. The more time you spend with them, the more their personality will develop.

If you keep your rabbit indoors, this gives you more of an opportunity to spend time with them. Plus just like cats and dogs, they will greet you in the morning.

© 2011 Sp Greaney


Submit a Comment

  • sangre profile image

    Sp Greaney 4 weeks ago from Ireland

    I did not know that. :) Thank you for passing that on. I have heard about diapers for dogs. It's amazing what you can find today on Amazon.

  • grand old lady profile image

    Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 4 weeks ago from Philippines

    We used to have lovely rabbits as pets. As babies they were adorable, but as they grew older, their pee and pellets increased as well. Now I understand that Amazon sells rabbit diapers online. I have two dogs but if I didn't have them, I would be fine with a rabbit with two weeks worth of diapers:)

  • sangre profile image

    Sp Greaney 4 years ago from Ireland

    Hi grand old lady, thank you so much for your comment. As you know having a bunny rabbit as a pet is fantastic. Our guys is such a cutie.

    Having our guy litter trained is a lot easier than having to clean up after him. It's amazing how he quickly learned by routine what he had to do. We started from day one with the training.

    Getting them vaccinated especially if you live in the countryside is important, who knows what could wander into your garden spreading germs.

  • grand old lady profile image

    Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 4 years ago from Philippines

    I used to have a rabbit, it very cute and lived long. However, it's only now through your hub that I realize that the rabbit should have had injections and could have been toilet trained. My rabbit also was fed fresh cabbage and carrots. This hub is very helpful. I will pass it on to a friend of mine who has a rabbit.

  • sangre profile image

    Sp Greaney 4 years ago from Ireland

    @ bethh, thank you so much for your kind words. Good luck with the new bunny. :)

    I'm sure you will have such fun when he/she arrives. I know my guy keeps me entertained on a daily basis.

  • profile image

    bethh 4 years ago

    I'm getting a rabbit either in the summer or next week. Your hubs have really helped me a lot! I know what too expect and it's been really useful! This is my first bunny and I want too make sure its healthy and happy :D thank you very much!

  • sangre profile image

    Sp Greaney 5 years ago from Ireland

    @purnimamoh1982, I'll check that out. I think they don't get enough credit for being smart and adorable. :-)

  • purnimamoh1982 profile image

    purnimamoh1982 5 years ago

    Very true. Rabbits as pets are so satisfying and watching their activities is quite refreshing. Some of my experience of having rabbits at home.

  • sangre profile image

    Sp Greaney 6 years ago from Ireland

    @ Lilly, I agree with your words. Cutest pets out there.

  • profile image

    Lilly 6 years ago

    Bunnies are soo cute

  • sangre profile image

    Sp Greaney 6 years ago from Ireland

    @ sgbrown, thanks for your comment. My little fellow spends most of his evening indoors. Having the shoebox as litter tray was a smart idea. They do get use it, most of the time. I love most animals, but I think rabbits now have my devotion. They can be funny little fellows.

  • sgbrown profile image

    Sheila Brown 6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

    Wonderful hub! My daughter had a pet rabbit when she was in 3rd grade. Her name was Duchess, she lived for about 7 years. We had a hutch simular to the outdoor hutch you showed here, but she spent a lot of time indoors. She was actually hous broken. She would at least pee, in a large shoebox we placed by the back door. Now the other was a different story. Little pellets everywhere! The only really bad thing was that she would chew up any electrical cord she could find. Rabbits can make great pets if you know what to expect. Very nice hub here! Voted up and interesting! Have a great day! :)

  • sangre profile image

    Sp Greaney 6 years ago from Ireland

    @ R Talloni, glad you found it helpful.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

    Bunnies are amazing pets. So glad you posted good guidelines for owning them.

  • profile image

    sangre 7 years ago

    Me too, they are friend for life..

  • trackio1 profile image

    trackio1 7 years ago

    love rabbits XD

  • profile image

    Sangre 7 years ago

    I don't see why not, a lot of people I know keep guinea pigs and rabbits together. It really depends on the nature of your rabbit.

    If you see signs of aggression from either one of them I would separate them straight away.

    Start introducing them to each other gradually. Maybe have one inside the hutch and one outside. Let them get to know each other. Make sure each one has his own space in the hutch to chill out, so they can get away from the other one if need be.

    If they dont' get on maybe just put a divide between the hutch to keep them separate.

    Hope that helps.

    ps: thanks for comment..

  • Joe Cook profile image

    Real Life Stories 7 years ago from UK

    Hey there,

    Nice work - I tell you, the french angora is one funny looking little rabbit!

    Just a quick question, is it okay to keep degus and rabbits together in the same hutch?

    Anyway, thanks very much.