Life expectancy 6 - 14years
Adult body weight 2- 6kg
Breeding 4 - 10months
Pregnancy 31 days
Litter Size 1 -12
Weaning 4 - 6weeks
• A hutch should serve as a temporary enclosure only. It needs to be safe & secure for the rabbit & provide protection from predators. It should be large enough to allow the rabbit to exhibit its normal behaviours. All pet rabbits should be given the opportunity to exercise outside of the hutch for a few hours each day
• Hutches should be easy to clean. Remove soiled bedding daily & totally clean the hutch at least once weekly
• If kept outdoors ensure that the hutch is rain proof & avoid extreme weather conditions. Rabbits can succumb to heat stroke very easily in hot weather. Hutches need to be well ventilated. Mosquito proof the hutch using fly-screen wire
• At home this ‘burrow’ can be simulated in the form of an upturned box or a covered corner of the room. By providing these ‘bolt holes’ rabbits may feel more secure in their environment. More security = less stress = healthier rabbit!
• Newly acquired rabbits are more susceptible to the changes in their environment & can get digestive upsets at this time. Feed them their ‘usual’ diet when you first acquire them
• Suitable bedding includes hay, straw, shredded paper etc. An all wire floor is unsuitable. Change bedding regularly.
• When rabbits are indoors, be aware of them chewing electrical cords & furniture! Rabbit proof your home!
• If you intend to keep more than one rabbit (which is recommended as rabbits are sociable animals), suitable mixes include 2 females, male & female (if you want many kits!) or mixes of neutered rabbits
• It is not advisable to mix guinea pigs with rabbits as guinea pigs can get diseases from rabbits. Also, their dietary requirements differ and they may bully each other
• You can toilet train a rabbit, they soon learn to use a litter tray or particular area to defecate & urinate in. Suitable litter materials include hay, straw, some cat litters (avoid clay types)
• Provide rabbits with ‘play time’ - toys can be wooden toys/old phone books to chew & boxes etc to crawl around in. Try hiding treat items amongst
• Exercise is important. Allow rabbits to exercise freely. This promotes good physical & mental health. Provide your rabbit with access to unfiltered natural sunlight regularly Feeding Feeding is very important to pet rabbit health, please refer to ‘Feeding recommendations for pet rabbits’ notes Handling
• Rabbits may enjoy being patted & handled, ideally start handling a rabbit from a young age
• When handling a rabbit support the fore & hind quarters from underneath rather than holding them from around the belly & chest. NEVER hold a rabbit from its ears!
• Rabbits can kick out very strongly with their legs & scratch you & also cause themselves serious injury in doing so
Health & Veterinary Care
• Have any newly acquired rabbit checked by a vet, especially if you intend to mix the rabbit with others!
• Coats may require regular grooming & nails may need occasional clipping
• It is advisable to vaccinate against the fatal & incurable viral disease; Rabbit CaliciVirus
• Desexing is recommended between 5-6 months of age for both does and bucks. It is essential to have female rabbits desexed (even if they live alone) due to extremely high rates of reproductive tract cancer. Desexing may also help prevent other diseases & reduce territorial soiling of your house & other behavioural problems.
• At home you should always monitor closely your rabbits food intake, body condition, eyes, ears, mouth, feet & toileting behaviour.
For books ‘Rabbits for Dummies’. Internet; American house rabbit society www. Rabbit.org
This information was provided by:
DR DAVID VELLA BSc BVSc (Hons) DABVP (ECM) & Associates
Sydney Exotics and Rabbit Vets