Young rabbits in a hutch (European Rabbit - Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Rabbit Behaviour

Rabbits can make very good pets for adults and children. The more they are handled from an early age the better. Socialisation with other animals and people is important to ensure they don’t develop anti-social behaviour traits.

Like any animal, if they are provided with the correct housing, nutrition, social and environmental stimulation, they should be very amiable with other rabbits and people.

It is always advisable to neuter both male and female rabbits when they are housed together, as this will reduce fighting. Female rabbits can become very territorial and aggressive during the mating season and rabbit bites hurt!

Rabbits live in social groups in the wild, so are not suited to living in solitary confinement. In fact most responsible rabbit rescue organisations will no longer rehome single rabbits.

The combination least likely to show aggression is a neutered male with a neutered female. Two females living together can be the most problematic pairing, even when both are neutered. It is not uncommon for rabbit owners to report great friendships between some dogs, cats and rabbits.

Various toys can be provided to keep your rabbit entertained e.g. cat balls, twisted rope dog toys, toddler teething rings or cardboard tubes. The interior of the hutch can be enhanced by providing ramps, branches, tunnels and tubes.

As rabbits are prey animals they are very susceptible to stress. A rabbit must always have a safe haven to escape to should they feel threatened. When rabbits are ill or in pain they tend not to show it outwardly by making a noise (in the wild this would only attract a predator). Instead they become quiet and motionless.

If you are experiencing a problem with your rabbit, behavioural consultations are available by appointment. Please feel free to call and discuss any problems.