Imagine how a rabbit stuck in a hutch feels…
Owning a rabbit can be so rewarding, they are inquisitive, endearing and very affectionate. However, rabbits are sadly amongst the most neglected pets in the UK. Ideally, it’s best to have at least a pair of neutered bunnies because they do need company of their own species. Researching what a rabbit needs to be happy and healthy, potential owners often don’t give enough consideration to an essential requirement, providing suitable accommodation. Bunnies can become stressed, ill, and display aggression if they are not able to express normal behaviour due to being confined. Rabbits, like cats, will use a litter tray if trained and many live indoors. However, for their safety you need to ‘bunny proof’ your home:
- Move all wires/leads out of harms way. Gnawing nashers can easily chomp through cables causing harm to your pet and property.
- Be prepared for damage to skirting boards and any chewable surface! You can by plastic guards to deter your rabbit nibbling baseboards etc
- Block off areas your rabbit can get into but you can’t. Providing a safe, human accessible ‘hidey hole’ will help your rabbit feel secure.
- As well as chewing, rabbits dig and although a hole may not be forthcoming in your floor that doesn’t stop them trying!
It’s crucial that rabbits have space, whether that’s indoors or out. Think about their wild cousins, they live in large communities with the freedom to stand on their back legs, stretch their full length and run! There is something very special about seeing a domestic rabbit ‘binky’ through being able to move naturally and express happiness.
If you are housing a rabbit outside, their accommodation needs to be spacious, dry, with indoor and outdoor areas. During the summer, your rabbits will need some shade too. This short video gives you info on outdoor accommodation specifications.
Over the last year, us humans have had to spend longer periods indoors. It’s proven that restrictions (albeit required) can have a negative effect on our health and wellbeing. We miss socialising, getting outside, freedom! Having experienced lockdowns for nearly 12 months, imagine turning months to years as a bunny can live to be 12+. It’s the plight of a lot of pet rabbits to have these constraints imposed for all their life and we want to help change this. For more info visit RSPCA England & Wales