How long do rabbits live?
The average lifespan of a rabbit is 7 years and can be up to 12 years with proper care. Smaller rabbits tend to live longer than larger breeds.
A rabbit matures between 4-8 months of age (depending on the breed) and is considered a "senior citizen" around 5 years.
How big do they get?
It depends on the breed. Dwarf rabbits don't usually exceed 3 pounds, while Flemish Giants average around 12-14 pounds. An "average" breed typically weighs around 5-7 pounds.
What do they eat and how much?
The majority of a rabbit's diet should be grass hay, and they should always have access to it. Also ensure that your rabbit has easy access to fresh water (bottle or dish).
Pellets: On average, feed ¼ cup of pellets per 5 lb of rabbit weight
Fresh foods: The main component of the fresh foods you feed your rabbit (about 75%) should be leafy greens. An approximate amount is 1 packed cup of greens for 2 lbs of rabbit body weight (once a day or divided throughout the day).
Treats/fruit: In moderation
For more information, see our Diet section
What size cage do rabbits need?
The cage should be large enough so that, at a minimum, the rabbit can stand up, lie down and stretch, and take at least 3 strides from one side of the cage to the other.
A quick and easy idea for a rabbit home is to use a large dog crate. Include a "second-story" which the rabbit can hop up to by securing a board with holes drilled through it to the sides of the crate with zip ties.
For more information, see our Housing section
Do they smell?
As with any animal (even humans), if proper care isn't taken, an odor will occur. While rabbits themselves are scent-free, their urine definitely is not. Litterboxes should be cleaned daily and more frequently if there are multiple rabbits using the box. And, male rabbits should be neutered in order to curb spraying and marking territory.
Rabbits should NOT ever be bathed unless an extreme health circumstances arises, and then, only the affected area should be cleaned (see our Health & Hygiene section)
In general, as long as soiled bedding is removed, the cage is routinely cleaned, and litterboxes are emptied daily, your rabbit (and house!) should remain scent-free.
Do rabbits go to the bathroom all over the house?
No - once a rabbit has been properly litter-trained, he should use his litterbox almost exclusively. Accidents around the house should occur rarely.
When bringing home a new rabbit, it's important to expand his or her territory slowly. Because rabbits have a natural tendency to use the same area as their bathroom, establishing that area early on curbs frequent accidents outside the cage. See our section on Litterbox Training for more information and tips.
Please note that an occasional accident shouldn't be unexpected, especially if your rabbit is young. Oftentimes, a rabbit may leave a fecal pellet if they are unexpectedly spooked or if they are marking territory. If your rabbit is having a hard time with litter training, please feel free to contact us for tips or talk to your local veterinarian.
Do rabbits need to go to the vet?
If your rabbit is demonstrating any type of distress (lethargy, drooling, not eating, diarrhea, eye or nasal discharge, tooth issues, showing pain, visibly injured, etc.), then an appointment should be made ASAP. See our Health & Hygiene section for more on rabbit health problems. See our Vets section to find a local veterinarian who sees rabbits.
An initial vet visit is always a good idea in order to establish baseline health. While rabbits are healthy, a checkup is probably needed every two years.
If your rabbit is not yet spayed/neutered, scheduling this operation with a vet will not only help increase the lifespan of your pet but will also improve temperament and litterbox habits as well as curb spraying (for males).
Are they friendly? Do they cuddle/enjoy being picked up? Do they bite?
It depends. Many rabbits may enjoy sitting on your lap, being picked up, or being cuddled. However, many do not enjoy being lifted suddenly or being held. Part of whether or not your rabbit is a cuddler depends on her history and her temperament.
It's important to recognize that a rabbit is a prey species; as such, they have an instinctual fear of being pursued or being suddenly lifted into the air. As babies, they are never carried by their mother's (like kittens or puppies are), and the sensation of being picked up can be unnatural to them.
If they are mishandled, feel threatened, or are held in an uncomfortable manner, they may scratch and bite, which can lead to injury for both the handler and the rabbit. It's important to not force a cuddling experience because your rabbit will resist more and more each time. Please see our section on Handling for the proper ways to pick up, hold, and handle your rabbit.
Ultimately, your rabbit's temperament just depends on her experiences and personality. One of my rabbits is a rescue rabbit and is terribly fearful of being held; however, she loves to be pet when she is on the ground and will grind her teeth in pleasure. While she is usually scared of strangers, she's friendly to me - she'll follow me around the house, beg for treats, and jump excitedly when given attention. Whether you will consider a rabbit to be friendly just depends on your definition.
Can they get along with other animals?
Absolutely. Many people have found success with bonding their rabbit to cats and/or well-trained dogs. Rabbits can also get along well with other small animals, such as guinea pigs, but it's necessary to keep them in separate cages, as their diet, immunities, and social behavior differ.
Introductions between your rabbit and your other pet should always be slow and supervised, and the importance of neutral locations can't be emphasized enough. Supervision is key, as is ensuring that your dog or cat is well-behaved and not aggressive/territorial.
For more information on rabbits coexisting with other rabbits or other animals, see our section on Bonding.
Is a rabbit a good pet for a small child?
From the House Rabbit Society (http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/children.html):
Many people are surprised and disappointed to find that rabbits rarely conform to the cute-n-cuddly stereotype in children's stories. Baby bunnies (and many young adult rabbits) are too busy dashing madly about, squeezing behind furniture, and chewing baseboards and rugs to be held. Also, rabbits are physically delicate animals which means they can be hurt by children picking them up. Because rabbits feel frightened when people pick them up, they kick and struggle which means children can also get hurt. Rabbits are also built to react to sudden changes which means they may either run away or try to bite when approached too quickly and too loudly. Stress-related illnesses are common. For these reasons, many children, especially young children, will find it difficult to interact with a rabbit and soon lose interest.
I found an abandoned wild rabbit/a nest of wild rabbits. What should I do?
Unless the rabbit appears to need emergency care, the best thing you can do for the rabbit is leave it alone. If you have already disturbed the rabbit, returning it to the place you found it gives the rabbit the best chance for survival. Mother rabbits do not sit on nests and only feed their young for a few minutes each day. Not seeing mom around doesn't mean that the rabbits have been abandoned. Leave the area, so as not to prevent the mother from returning.