Rabbit 101

Quick Facts
LIFESPAN: Approximately 7-10 years
SIZE: Varies by breed (2-10 lbs)
EXPERIENCE LEVEL: BEGINNER

Socialization & General Care

  • It’s important to get your new friend used to you, and used to being handled. Start by feeding your rabbit treats by hand and petting him; once he’s comfortable, you can gently and securely pick him up. Hold him for a short time at first, and gradually increase the time. Remember that all pets may bite, scratch, kick or try to escape especially when stressed.
  • Rabbits should never be picked up by their ears.
  • When picking up a rabbit, be careful to fully support his body so he feels secure.

DID YOU KNOW?
A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing

Nutrition

  • Rabbits are herbivores and a large portion of their diet should consist of hay. Rabbits that are less than a year old should be fed alfalfa hay which is high in calcium and protein while rabbits over a year old should be fed timothy hay. Other types of hays can be mixed in to provide variety. Fibre is critical to a rabbit’s diet as it keeps the intestinal activity normal.
  • For optimal nutrition, your rabbit should be fed a high- quality pellet diet. Since rabbits have a tendency to overeat their pellets and become obese, you should limit how much your rabbit over the age of seven months eats daily. Under seven months, rabbits can be free-fed pellets.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables should be offered every day and any uneaten food should be removed before it spoils. Acceptable choices are dark leafy greens (kale, collard, carrot tops), carrots, zucchini, broccoli, papaya, apple and melon.
  • Treats should be offered sparingly; once to twice weekly. Acceptable choices are pre-packaged treats made for rabbits, raisins and alfalfa hay.
  • Fresh water should be available at all times and food dishes and water bottles should be cleaned daily.
  • Never give your rabbit beans, nuts, potatoes or junk food including chocolate.
  • Mineral wheels should be provided in their cage.

Health Issues to Watch For

  • Sneezing, discharge from nose or eyes
  • Cloudy, sunken or swollen eyes
  • Diarrhea or discoloured droppings
  • Bare patches in fur
  • Lethargic behaviour
  • Weight loss; not eating or drinking normally
  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Shaking
  • If you notice any of the symptoms above seek veterinary care.

Fun Rabbit Facts

  • Rabbits come in a variety of sizes. Some species weigh only two pounds while others can weigh more than ten pounds.
  • Rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents.
  • A male rabbit is called a “buck”. A female rabbit is called a “doe” and a baby rabbit is called a “kit”.
  • A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing.
  • In the wild, rabbits do not hibernate.

History of the Easter Bunny

Pet Expert Approved