When the desire for a pet emerges, rabbits are a popular choice: they are a 'small' animal that is considered unpretentious and easy to care for. However, these assumptions are wrong: in fact, the attitude of rabbits requires a lot of time and extensive knowledge, in order to be able to become responsible and fulfill a rabbits needs.
From an animal protection point of view, rabbits should be kept together with at least one other rabbit in an enclosure that comes closest to the natural habitat of these animals.
- Rabbits are not cuddly toys! They are not suitable for children under ten years.
- Life expectancy: seven to ten years.
- Purchase: Give rabbits from animal shelters or a rescue organization a new, beautiful home. Do not buy rabbits in pet shops, which would support poor breeding and keeping conditions of the animals!
- Housing: At least one other rabbit and a near-natural enclosure of at least ten square meters and only in such a way rabbits can live out their natural behavior.
- Reproduction: Depending on the breed, the sexual maturity of the rabbits begins between the fourth and sixth months, with large breeds somewhat later. If you do not want any offspring, owners should get their animals spayed/neutered before they reach sexually maturity.
- Time: Taking care of the animals take at least 1 hour per day.
- Allergies: The fur of the animals, the required hay and the bedding can cause allergies in humans.
- Vacations: Make sure that the animals are able to be well accommodated and cared for during your vacations before buying them!
- Costs: Besides the purchasing costs of the animals, the enclosure and its equipment, as well as high-quality feed and bedding, there are annual veterinary fees for vaccinations.
- Food: Please do not feed these animals grain food. Their basic diet is fresh hay. Green fodder, vegetables, fruit and branches of fruit trees provide variety.
Keeping in open-air enclosures
- The enclosure should be well insulated and provide adequate protection from the weather.
- A minimum area of 10 square meters should be available for two animals.
- Since rabbits like to dig and jump, the fence of the enclosure should be at least 50 centimeters into the ground and at least 150 centimeters high.
- The enclosure should be easy for the owner to clean (install lockable door!) and secured against the intrusion of predators.
Housing in the apartment
FOUR PAWS advises against a pure indoor keeping. The following points are aimed at pet owners who already keep rabbits and are unable to keep them outside permanently.
- All commercial cages offered for indoor and outdoor keeping are too small and not appropriate for the species! With indoor keeping only, a room enclosure of at least 10 square meters is essential.
- There should be feeding, bottle and retreat possibilities available and cables and poisonous houseplants should be sufficiently secured.
- The habitat of the animals should be quiet, bright and free of extreme heat radiation. The keeping on the balcony is unsuitable because of the danger of heat accumulation.