The decision to bring an animal into your life isn’t to be made on the spur of the moment. Failure to properly consider what it means to have a pet often leads to abandonment.
Did you know that 6.3 million pets are handed over to animal shelters annually? This sad statistic is due mainly to a poor understanding of what it takes to properly look after an animal.
With a bit of research, you can ensure you’re making the right choice. For example, the lifespan of pet rabbits is much longer than most people realize. If you’re considering rabbit ownership, you should know a few more things to prepare.
Read on to find out more!
The Joy of Small Pets
Pets are a wonderful addition to any home, so long as you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you’ve never owned a pet before, it’s a good idea to start small. Although an Alaskan Malamute might seem like the coolest pet ever, you may find you’ve bitten off more than you can chew with one.
The size of your pet is not proportional to the love they’re capable of giving or receiving. Nor are small pets less fun to play with or lacking any way in personality. The longer you spend with an animal, the more of their personality is revealed, and in the case of some, you may double-take at their strength of character.
Rabbits make a fantastic pet and tick many of the boxes people usually look for, but they’re often overlooked. Most people default to getting a cat or a dog simply due to their popularity. When it comes to pets that come in on the smaller side, a rabbit could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Remember, though, just because a pet is small doesn’t mean they don’t take up a lot of space! Pet rabbits love to explore and aren’t shy about doing so. Before you know it, your new bunnies might claim your living room as their own and your favorite spot on the couch, too.
Rabbits as Pets
Humans evolved with cats and dogs at our sides throughout millennia, so there’s no wonder why we’re so fond of them. Their predatory nature and innate intelligence helped us to hunt and keep pests at bay, but they were never thought of as family members but rather as helpful tools. As our needs changed, their forms remained fit for purpose in many ways.
Despite the passage of time blunting the instincts they needed to survive the unforgiving past, their instincts are still very much a part of them. By nature, they’re equipped with wicked teeth and claws, something not everyone sees as ideal attributes for a cuddly little pal. Rabbits, on the other hand, are all cuteness, fluff, and floppy ears.
Their benefits are many in the face of what could easily be drawbacks to owning some of the more typical choices. For example, a rabbit won’t tear up your sofa or bark at the postman for invading its territory. On paper, rabbits are the perfect choice of pet with most of the charms of alternatives and very few of their drawbacks.
Lifespan of Pet Rabbits
The average lifespan of a rabbit pet is anywhere between 5 and 10 years, a long time for anyone who isn’t convinced a rabbit will be a good fit. For the owner who’s sure of it, this timeframe will no doubt seem all too short. If you’re lucky, your domestic pet rabbit might live as old as almost 19 years, a record set by an Australian rabbit called Flopsy!
One of the most important parts of pet ownership is understanding exactly how long you can expect them to live. Having a hamster as a pet isn’t the same as signing up to look after a tortoise for the next 100 years. Lifespan is a serious consideration for any pet owner, especially when taking the lifestyle you have into account.
Rabbits can be thought of as generally low-maintenance. Much like cats, you can leave for a weekend, and they’ll be able to fend for themselves quite happily, so long as you leave them food and water. This means they’re quite a low-impact pet in terms of allowing you to live your life as you see fit without much undue worry.
With rabbits, you can visit friends and family or go on holiday without having to shoulder any guilt. Rabbits are content to be left to their own devices for a few days while you live your life, which is an attractive prospect for many.
Rabbits aren’t such complicated creatures and live predictable lives, but they still require a certain standard of care. Ensuring your rabbit has everything they need isn’t difficult, but it is mandatory. Once you’ve set things up, maintaining a rabbit-safe environment isn’t time-consuming or particularly costly.
If you’re keeping your rabbit inside your house “free range,” you still need to provide them with a corner of their own. This can be done by investing in a specifically designed rabbit hutch, cage, or even puppy pen. The important thing is that they have a space to sleep, drink, and eat comfortably if you ever have to leave for a few days.
It’s not a good idea to give your rabbit the run of the house if you’re away for longer than a day. Even the most thorough attempts at bunny-proofing your house might not be enough to guarantee their safety while left alone over extended periods. Ensure all wires are protected or out of reach, as pet rabbits are prone to chewing on them when left unattended.
Rabbits need access to fresh hay at all times as a primary food source, and fresh water is also a must. Your rabbit will establish a specific area to do their business in, so setting up a bunny litter tray in their area helps take advantage of this.
Aside from these basics, take the time to bring your rabbit to the vet at least once a year for a checkup. So long as you’ve provided them with the care and attention they deserve, they’ll be a contented friend for years to come!
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to choose between a range of rabbit breeds, there are a couple worth considering above others. While all rabbits are adorable and make fantastic pets, some might suit you better than others, so it’s worth your time to do some research. Rabbit breeds have personalities and characteristics that differ considerably.
Firstly the Mini Rex is a great option with a calm and quiet personality, weighing between 3 and 5 pounds. These little guys don’t need much attention in the way of grooming and are the perfect introduction to the world of bunny ownership. They commonly live to be between 5 and 7 years old, so you’ll have ample time to enjoy their company.
The Holland Lop is particularly cute with floppy ears and an energetic personality; they’re a little smaller than the Mini Rex, growing to be between 2 to 4 pounds. They also need some space to explore and expend their energy. They’re known to shed their fur in the summer, and they live between 7 and 14 years, which is an older rabbit lifespan to expect from many breeds.
Dwarf Hotots are highly prized because they’re known to bond well with their owners and have active gregarious personalities. Despite being somewhat diminutive in size, weighing around 2 to 3 pounds, they need to be monitored so they don’t overeat. They’re also predisposed to malocclusion, meaning their teeth sometimes become misaligned, but that won’t stop them from living up to 10 years.
Whichever rabbit you choose, you can’t go wrong with bringing a bunny home. They’re bundles of joy, and each has distinct quirks of personality you’ll love getting to know. Be careful when conducting small pet research online, as photos and videos may have you running to the nearest pet store.
Becoming a Rabbit Fanatic
It doesn’t take much to get hooked on rabbit ownership, and for good reason. Rabbits are a solid addition to any home needing a couple of pets. It’s worth noting that rabbits are social creatures that prefer to live with at least one other rabbit if possible, which is a perfect excuse to bring multiple bunnies home!
If you’ve enjoyed this trip down the rabbit hole of bunny ownership and feel the question of the average lifespan of pet rabbits has been answered, check out the rest of our blog today!