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Rabbit advice: Companionship counts

Being lonely is no way to live for a rabbit

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Everyone needs a friend

Many people don’t realise that rabbits need company in order to remain well balanced, happy animals. So if you want to keep one – or you already have one – why not make it two? Or maybe more? Rabbits who live in friendly pairs or groups are much less likely to suffer from lack of stimulation, plus it makes keeping a pet even more fun for you!

Two's company

Rabbits naturally live in groups, and while lots of human companionship can be great for a rabbit, having a friend is an essential ingredient to your rabbit’s happiness. Rabbit associations and rescues now recommend always keeping more than one rabbit to stop your rabbit getting lonely and frustrated, as the welfare of solo rabbits is often poor. Guinea-pigs do not make suitable companions for rabbits – they have different needs and languages, and rabbits can bully or accidentally injure guinea-pigs.

Neutered is better!

Neutered rabbits are calmer and more receptive to a companion, as well as having no risk of unwanted mating. Importantly, rabbits should be neutered even if they are in same sex pairs. This results in more relaxed and healthier rabbits – fights between rabbits can be vicious and should be avoided. 

More information on neutering your rabbit

Choosing a companion

Rabbits can be together from birth which works well, or two rabbits can be introduced to each other. Introductions, or ‘bonding’, can take weeks but is well worth the effort. Your vet or nurse can give you guidance on introducing your rabbit to their new companion.  Rabbits work best in mixed gender pairs, with one spayed female and one castrated male. Male-male pairs and female-female pairs can also work well, but both should still be neutered.

More information about housing your rabbit with another animal

The human touch

Rabbits don’t just benefit from being close to other rabbits. A caring human touch is important too. Handle them gently early on in life and they will learn that humans are to be trusted, and that makes things much better for both of you. It means you can play together and also groom them easily while checking for any health problems. 

Getting away from it all

Although rabbits are very social animals, they also need to be able to spend time alone if they want to. If you have two or more, make sure there are enough hiding places for everyone, as well as sufficient food and water so that no one goes hungry or thirsty.