Rabbits kept alone are at high risk of loneliness
May 14, 2018
In the wild, rabbits live in big groups and they enjoy being with friends who will play with them, groom them, understand them and look out for them. So if these sociable animals are kept on their own, they may become bored, depressed, and very lonely. If you think that your rabbit may be one of the 55% of British pet bunnies that are lonely, give us a call on 01202 485880 to discuss the problem – we can help you figure out whether your rabbit is happy, and advise you on how to fix the problem if he isn’t.
Signs of loneliness in rabbits may include:
- Becoming withdrawn
- Excessive grooming
- Pulling fur out
- Destroying things
- Being aggressive towards humans
If your rabbit lives alone, there are a number of things you can do to help. The best one is to get another rabbit. Rabbits are best kept with other rabbits, rather than with guinea pigs or other small furries. But it can take a while for two rabbits to become friends and you may need to spend some time gently introducing them. Our top tips for ending up with bunny besties are:
- Pair a neutered male with a spayed female
- When first introducing two rabbits, do so gradually and under supervision, in a space that is not ‘home’ to either of them
- Contact the team at Best Friends Vets in Christchurch for advice on how to help rabbits to bond.
It is important that you house your rabbit with at least one other friendly rabbit, unless a vet or a qualified animal behaviourist has advised you that your pet should live alone. In this situation, it is your job to provide him with companionship on a daily basis. Where possible, play with your rabbit at ground level – this makes you less threatening than when you are standing up. It also reduces the risk of injury if you happen to drop your pet. And make sure that you move slowly and talk quietly, to avoid scaring him.
Nobody wants their pet to be unhappy, but it can be difficult to figure out what your rabbit is telling you. The team here at Best Friends Vets has a lot of experience with rabbits, and we would be happy to discuss your pet’s behaviour with you, and whether he is showing signs of loneliness.