Rabbits can be a lot of fun to own. They can also become one of your biggest headaches when pet ownership doesn’t meet your expectations.
These are the key points you’ll want to consider if you want to bring a rabbit home as a bet.
List of the Pros of Having Rabbits as Pets
1. Rabbits are super cute to have around the house.
The personality of a rabbit is very similar to what you could expect if you were bringing a kitty home as a pet. There’s only one difference: the energy level. A rabbit loves to bounce around in freedom if you keep them in a cage while away from home. If you have a free-roaming bunny in the house, then you’ll have plenty of happiness. Between the floppy ears, the big tufts of fur, and the way their face wobbles when they eat, how can you not love bunnies?
2. Rabbits can live for a long time.
The average lifespan of a rabbit is at least 10 years. There are some breeds, especially the miniature ones, that don’t live as long, but most will. Some can even make it beyond the age of 20. Although that means you’re making a long-term commitment to the animal, they are relatively easy to care for each day. All you need to do is give them some shelter, food, water, and love. If you want a snuggle animal, there’s an excellent chance that a bunny is going to want as much attention as you’re willing to give.
3. Rabbits can help to teach responsibility.
Rabbits might seem like a fragile pet to own at times, but most of them are sturdy animals that can withstand a missed food dish or less free time in the yard. If you have children at home that need to learn responsibility, then having a bunny is usually better than trying to teach this lesson with a dog or cat. These animals are social creatures, so they are going to want attention from you. They love to play, but there are also times when they prefer to be independent. Also, some bunny advocates caution against having a bunny as a pet for young children because bunnies need to be approached in the right way when they are touched and few like being held high off the ground. A young child is less likely to consistently approach bunnies correctly.
As long as you are ready and willing to learn what it takes to care for a rabbit and can approach handling it in the proper way, you’re going to have a great friend by your side for a long time.
4. Rabbits tend to be docile creatures.
When rabbits receive the love and care they need to thrive, then they integrate easily into your family. They tend to be quite friendly, making them a docile option that works well for young children. You’ll need to teach the kids not to pull the ears or be rough with their playing. The positive interactions will help to create a robust emotional bond that will last for years. Bunnies can also adapt to different environments, both indoors and outdoors.
There will be times when your rabbit wants to be independent. When you can recognize this trait and be there for their social times, then you’ll have a happy household.
5. Rabbits have several different breeds and personalities available.
As with most domestic pets, there are several different styles, breeds, and personalities available if you want to have a rabbit at home. Unless someone has already had a bunny, it is unusual for individuals to be aware of how much diversity there is with this advantage. Each one is an individual, but there are also specific characteristics and traits that tend to apply across an entire group.
There can be practical reasons to be aware of the plethora of choices available to you with this advantage. Larger rabbit breeds do need more care and cost more to manage over time. Miniature bunnies also have their unique challenges to consider. If you take your time during the selection process, there will be a perfect addition waiting for your family.
6. Rabbits are highly intelligent.
You can train rabbits to perform tricks, understand orders, and even use a litter box if you’re willing to be patient and social with them. Their intelligence isn’t as advanced as it would be when training a dog, but don’t discount what your bunny can figure out how to do. As an added bonus, teaching your pet to do tricks adds to the social aspect of your encounter, which is something that everyone will love.
There are times when rabbits seem uncoordinated, but they are disciplined animals who prefer to be clean. If your bunny seems depressed for some reason, it is probably because there is a problem with their living situation.
7. Rabbits are usually quiet.
If you live somewhere that has strict noise requirements that you must follow, then having a dog as a pet could be a challenge. Cats are sometimes barred from apartments and other rental living situations because their urine can be damaging. Rabbits solve both problems. Even when you have an upset bunny, their vocalizations tend to be extremely quiet. They won’t wake you up at night because they follow the same sleep cycle that you do.
When bunnies are happy, they tend to make purring noises that are similar to a kitty. Some even do a little clucking, although you must listen very closely to the animal to hear them. If the rabbit is unhappy, some will growl or hiss, but it is still much quieter than what you’d experience with other pets.
8. Rabbits don’t need to have much space to be content.
You will need to give your rabbit time to exercise every day so that they can be healthy. Most bunnies don’t require a lot of physical space to be content. You’ll want to give them enough room to run back and forth in their enclosure to ensure that there isn’t any anxiety associated with the experience. Bunnies don’t need a yard to thrive, and many of them are better off inside because of their size and status as prey. If your home is big enough for you, then it will be large enough for a bunny too.
List of the Cons of Having Rabbits as Pets
1. Rabbits require a lot of cleanup work.
The average rabbit is going to leave up to 500 pellets behind every day. Even the smaller bunnies release about 300 pellets that you’ll need to manage. This aspect of animal care applies to cats, dogs, and more, but their waste isn’t as easy to pick up. Their cages tend to stink because the feces accumulate quickly despite the visual appearance of the bedding being clean. You will need to either clean out the cage often or give the bunny extra time out in the yard to prevent this disadvantage from occurring.
2. Rabbits need to be inside during extreme temperature events.
Bunnies are sensitive to changes that happen in their environment. If it gets a little hot or cold, then they aren’t as friendly because they feel uncomfortable. When you have extreme conditions that occur at your home, then you will need to bring the animal inside for the duration of the event. Their sensitivity to the hot or the cold can be problematic if you live in a geographic region that receives four seasons annually with big swings in the climate.
Some people can use a finished garage as a place to house their rabbits in this situation. If you don’t have a lot of indoor space, then the smell of the bunny is going to seep into your upholstery and linens over time.
3. Rabbits will chew anything and everything.
It would be accurate to describe this disadvantage in terms that are similar to what you’d experience with a goat. The only difference is that the rabbit is not going to swallow everything that they chew. They need to be gnawing on things to help with their teeth. If they have access to your furniture, clothing, or similar soft items, then it will be destroyed. Wooden items will have teeth marks on them. Even if you keep the bunny in a cage for a majority of the day, you’re going to hear them chewing on the metal bars or other materials used for construction. The only way to get around this issue is to provide chewing toys or tools for them so that they can stay mentally engaged.
4. Rabbits can be surprisingly expensive.
Rabbits might seem like an affordable investment at first since you can purchase one from rescue organizations for under $20 most times. If you work with a pet store or local breeder, your standard bunny is going to be in the $40 to $75 range. It is when you get to the rare breeds that problems begin to develop financially. Show rabbits, champion bloodlines, and other factors can drive the cost well above $500 in some situations.
Then you have the cage to consider, which will cost about $200 unless you make it yourself. Most families spend about $40 per month on supplies for a rabbit, and then you’ve got veterinarian expenses to consider. If your budget is tight, then you might want to think twice about this pet option.
5. Rabbits can become aggressive if not socialized correctly.
Rabbits are social creatures. They need to bond with someone if they are going to have a successful life experience. That means you need to take your bunny out for cuddles every day. They also need time to roam, eat fresh vegetables with you, and explore all of their boundaries. If you keep them restricted in their cage without much attention, then your pet is going to become more aggressive over time.
When rabbits don’t get the opportunity to socialize, then they will start to scratch at you. Some of them will begin to bite. If you’re unsure of how much time you’ll have to spend with your bunny after bringing them home, then it might be better to get two of them instead. Then they can build social connections with each other.
6. Rabbits are prey animals for many other pets.
Your bunny is the natural prey of dogs and cats. If you already have other pets at home, then bringing a rabbit into the mix is not always a great idea. Most of your other animals are going to see the new addition as a tasty treat instead of as a new companion and friend. If you do have other pets, then ideally, you’ll keep them separated at all times. Introduce them carefully to each other in a controlled environment for a limited time. Some dogs can recognize that as the pack leader, you’re adding the bunny to the group, but this is not always the case.
If you’re thinking about a kitten or a puppy, try adopting one at the same time you bring a bunny home. When they grow up together, then they’re more likely to see each other as family instead of one of them being dinner. Everything ultimately depends on the individual animals.
7. Rabbits are fast, so they can escape quickly if left outside unattended.
Rabbits are prey animals, so there is speed built into their DNA. You will find them moving quickly whenever they sense a predator might be nearby. Domesticated bunnies also have this trait. It can be fun to see them running around the house at full speed, an event that you’ll often see called “zoomies” by other rabbit owners. This trait also means that the animal is well-versed at finding escape routes when they don’t want to be captured at the end of playtime. Endless games of hide-and-seek are good fun to a bunny!
Rabbits also take every opportunity to escape that gets presented to them. If anyone leaves a door open, then the bunny is going to find a way to get outside. Since that circumstance can be dangerous to their health, you’ll want to consider ways to bunny-proof the house and change some of your habits.
8. Rabbits can get injured easily.
Most rabbits are prone to the development of specific health problems. There are also issues with them becoming injured at times. Some of them are quite hardy, but there are many individuals who are susceptible to health problems. Overgrown teeth are a major issue, so make sure there are things for the bunny to chew. Upper respiratory illnesses occur frequently, causing redness, discharge, and sneezing. You’ll need to manage ear mites and abscesses at all ages.
Bunnies groom themselves frequently, so hairballs can be an issue if you don’t help with that process. Rabbits need a lot of fiber in their diet to avoid constipation, and then reproductive system cancers are common if you haven’t spayed or neutered the bunny.
The pros and cons of having rabbits as a pet depends on the amount of time you can dedicate to their care and upbringing. If you work full-time and no one is at home during the day, then a content bunny will be one with toys, a clean cage, and some human voices from a radio or TV in the background. Then make sure that you snuggle for a few minutes after returning home before moving on to your next chore.
If you don’t have the time to care for your rabbit socially, then they almost always fail to thrive. A healthy bunny can live for more than 20 years, but one that is lonely all of the time might not see their first birthday.
That’s why evaluating each crucial point in this guide is an essential part of the decision-making process. Looking at these issues with an inward lens will let you know if you’re ready to have a rabbit as a pet.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.