Can I adopt a rabbit?
If I am buying a rabbit, what
should I look for? How can I tell if the rabbit is healthy?
How do I determine
the gender of a rabbit?
How big should my
rabbit's cage be, and where should I put it?
What supplies will
How can I bond with my
I had a great
relationship with my rabbit when he/she was a baby, but now he/she
seems to have gone bad and does not like me. What happened?
What is the
best way to pick up and
hold a rabbit?
Do rabbits need
toys? What can they play with?
Should I let
my rabbit play outside?
out-of-cage playtime should
my rabbit get?
do rabbits face when
How can I
bunny-proof my home to protect both my rabbit and my
What should I feed my
Should I give
any of those cute treats they sell in pet shops to my rabbit?
What treats can
I give to my rabbit?
Do rabbits nead baths?
Should I breed my
Why should I
have my rabbit spayed/neutered?
At what age should a
rabbit be spayed/neutered?
How often should I take
my rabbit to see the veterinarian?
What are the "danger
signs" that indicate that my rabbit needs to see a veterinarian?
Can rabbits be trained to
use litter boxes? What kind of bedding/litter should be used?
Can I adopt a rabbit?
Yes! Please go to the House Rabbit Society
website for more information. You can also provide a foster
home to rabbits waiting to be adopted!
If I am buying a rabbit, what should I
look for? How can I tell if the rabbit is healthy?
inside the ears for signs of mites or
infection. Check the eyes to make sure
they are clear and bright with no discharge (a very small amount
crusty stuff in the corner of the eye is normal, but large amounts of
is not). Check the nose and paws to make sure they are not wet (a wet
wet front paws are a sign of a cold or other respiratory problem). Check around the rabbit’s anus and
genitals. The area should be clean and
dry (stuck-on poops, diarrhea, and urine-soaked fur are signs of health
problems). Pet the bunny and feel around for any unusual lumps, bumps,
signs of pain. Feel the rabbit’s
stomach. A normal rabbit stomach should
feel like soft dough, with no lumps.
Check the fur for mites, ticks, and fleas. Check
the rabbit’s teeth to make sure that
they are properly aligned and not too short or too long.
How do I determine the gender of a rabbit?
determine gender, flip the bunny over (do
this carefully and make sure you are holding the rabbit securely) and
on each side of the genital region. If
what pops up is cylindrical with a hole at the center of the tip, the
a boy (pictures of a young male and older male). If
what pops up is pointed with a
slit, the rabbit is a girl (pictures of a young
female and older female).
How big should my rabbit's cage
be, and where should I put it?
should get the largest cage you can afford
and fit into your home. It should be at
least 3 or 4 times the stretched out adult length of your rabbit. The cage should also be tall enough for the
rabbit to be able to stand up comfortably as an adult.
Do not get a cage with a wire bottom. Wire-bottomed
cages are uncomfortable and
cause sores to form on the rabbit’s feet.
should be placed in an area where the
rabbit can have peace and quiet and also some interaction with the
What supplies will I need?
plastic-bottomed cage. (Must be at least 3 or 4 times the rabbit’s
out adult length and must be tall enough for the rabbit to stand up
when he/she is an adult.)
bottle (Water bowls are not recommended, because they can easily become
dirty/contaminated. Also, a female will
often get her dewlap (the mound of fur and
fat located below her chin)
while drinking from a bowl, causing skin irritation and infection.)
litter box for cage
litter pans for use outside of the cage.
(both chew toys and toss toys)
(No pine or cedar shavings. Only Yesterday’s News pellets, or
Hay (Only for rabbits under the age of 6 months)
- Carrier (preferably a top-loading
one that is not much bigger than the rabbit) for vet visits and
How can I bond with my new rabbit?
The best way to bond with your new rabbit
is by not
being pushy and forceful. Get on your
rabbit’s level by sitting or laying down on the floor and ignoring the
rabbit. Let the rabbit come over to you
when he/she feels like it. After a
while, you can slowly bring your hand over to your rabbit.
Let the rabbit sniff your hand. You
can then slowly bring your hand up to pet
your rabbit’s head. Rabbits love being
rubbed on their nose, under their chin and cheeks, and on the back of
neck. If you’re lucky, your rabbit may
go into what is known as the presentation smile,
in which they tuck
feet under their body and put their chin flat on the floor. Keep in mind that rabbits hate having their
feet and tummy touched. Also, don’t be
surprised if your rabbit hops away after you pat or touch their rear
end. To a rabbit, a tap on the butt means,
to the world of Bunny adolescence. Between
the ages of 3 and 8 months, your
rabbit basically becomes a bratty teenager.
During this time, your bunny may act like he/she hates you, but
reality, they still love you. Your bunny
may act like a spoiled brat, he/she may start to lunge at and bite
he/she may lose any good litter box habits he/she had.
It is at this time that males (and in rare
cases, females) may start to spray people and objects with urine. It is at this time that your rabbit can be
spayed/neutered by a competent
rabbit veterinarian. This may last for
weeks or even over a month, or your rabbit may seem to never go through
puberty at all and will continue to be the sweet bunny they are. If you do not spay/neuter your rabbit at this
time, this may occur again around the age of 10 months when another
surge occurs, or at any other time for the rest of their life whenever
have a hormone surge. You just have to
put up with this behavior until your rabbit is spayed/neutered.
I had a great relationship with
my rabbit when he/she was a baby, but
now he/she seems to have gone bad and does not like me. What
What is the best way to pick up
and hold a rabbit?
keep in mind the fact that rabbits hate
to be picked up and held. However, it is
sometimes necessary to do this. Never
corner a rabbit. Before picking your
bunny up, pet them until they go into a presentation
smile. Then you can quickly pick up
the bunny by
putting one hand under their tummy behind their front legs and the
their rear end. Next, you quickly bring
the bunny to your chest, with all four legs resting solidly against
with one hand supporting the rabbit’s butt and the other hand around
rabbit’s shoulders. Hold on tight, but
not too tight. Never let a rabbit’s
feet dangle, and always keep each end of the rabbit supported to
risk of the rabbit twisting or falling and breaking his/her back.
Do rabbits need toys?
are very important to the mental health of your rabbit.
Rabbits who have toys to play with are less
likely to destroy furniture. (Kind of like how kids who are involved in
activities are less likely to get into trouble.) Wood
toys are especially important for a
rabbit’s teeth (Please note that rabbits under the age of 4 months
cannot play with wood toys. They can, however, play with soft
grass mats). Please do not give any random sticks you may
find to your rabbit (the wood could be poisonous, sprayed with
pesticides/chemicals, or infested with unwanted critters).
Should I let my rabbit play
No. There are too many dangers outside (bunny might get lost,
bunny might eat a poisonous flower or plant, bunny might get hurt,
bunny might eat or get covered in pesticides and chemicals used on
lawns, bunny might get mites, bunny might get a tick, bunny might get
How much out-of-cage playtime should my rabbit get?
should get as much playtime out of the
cage as possible. You may want to
section off a small bunny-proofed room or hallway with an exercise pen
gates so your rabbit can play even when you are unable to constantly
supervise him/her. When you are able to
constant supervision, give the rabbit the freedom to roam a
or even the entire bunny-proofed house.
Put your rabbit in a cage when you are asleep and when you are
What dangers do rabbits face when
- Chewing on rugs or fabric can cause fatal
- Chewing on wires can shock or electrocute and kill
- Rabbit could accidentally ingest toxic paints,
stains, waxes, and polish when chewing on furniture.
- Rabbit could ingest something harmful (like a pin,
chocolate, or a candy wrapper) when searching the floor.
- Rabbit could fall off of high places and break
their fragile backs and legs.
- Rabbit could be hurt by a small child or stupid
person (dropping rabbit, pulling on the rabbit’s ears, etc.)
- Rabbit could eat poisonous house plants.
- Rabbit could knock something over and get injured
by a falling object.
- Rabbit could accidentally eat holiday ornaments,
such as tinsel.
- Rabbit could drown in a sink, tub, toilet, or
- Rabbit could be burned by a fireplace.
How can I bunny-proof my home to
protect both my rabbit and my
Rabbits are a lot like 2-year-old
children, so you
should bunny-proof your home almost in the same way that you would
- Give rabbits safe
toys to play with, so they won’t
feel the need to “play” with your furniture.
- Keep anything that is important, valuable,
poisonous, breakable, electrical, or easy to knock over out of bunny’s
- Keep bunny away from flames and hot objects.
- Keep bunny away from sinks, tubs, buckets, and
toilets and keep the lid on the toilet closed.
- Before letting your bunny out, check the floor for
any things that the bunny might accidentally eat that could hurt
- Put plastic tablecloths covered by sheets over
floors and furniture to prevent chewing, urine stains, and holes on
rugs. This also keeps rabbit fur from
getting all over the place.
- Cover wires with PVC pipes or special
covers. You can also block access to wires
with plexi-glass or a strategically-placed
piece of furniture.
- Do not leave your rabbit unsupervised.
- Do not leave small children, friends, strangers,
or family members who do not live with you alone with your rabbit.
What should I feed my rabbit?
Please see the feeding guide found here.
Should I give any of those cute
treats they sell in pet shops to my rabbit?
treats sold in pet shops that are made for rabbits are very bad for
them. Many contain unnatural colorings and
preservatives. The seeds and added sugar
in the treats make rabbits fat.
the things in these treats, such as corn kernels, can cause fatal
your rabbit’s intestines (corn in any form is bad for rabbits).
What treats can I give to my
amounts of banana, grapes, and sunflower seeds (NOT
THE SUNFLOWER SEEDS MADE FOR PEOPLE!) can be given to your rabbit 1 or
2 times a
month. Dried fruits (pineapple, papaya,
apple...) can also good treats and can be given more often than
bananas, grapes, and sunflower seeds..
Do rabbits nead baths?
Rabbits do not
baths. A bath can send a rabbit into
shock or the rabbit may become so scared that he/she has a heart attack
dies. If your rabbit gets dirty, you can
spot-clean the dirty area with warm water and a little bit of Bunny
shampoo (sold at pet stores) and then rinse thoroughly.
If your entire rabbit gets really dirty, you
can carefully give you rabbit a bath. Do
not put your rabbit into water and do not get your rabbit’s head and
unless absolutely necessary. Pour warm
water over your rabbit and then wash the rabbit with a small amount of
Bath. Rinse thoroughly by pouring warm
water over the rabbit. Towel-dry your
rabbit as much as possible, then allow rabbit to air-dry.
You may use a blow dryer on a very low setting
if necessary. Do not allow the rabbit’s
tail and feet to remain wet for a long time.
Excess moisture on the feet can damage exposed skin and leave it
susceptible to infection. A wet tail
will attract flies, which are a health hazard to your rabbit.
you discover that your rabbit has fleas, mites, or ticks, bring your
a qualified rabbit
vet can then treat your rabbit. Do not
attempt to treat a problem yourself.
Should I breed my rabbits?
never breed your rabbit. Breeding and
giving birth are extremely stressful to a female rabbit and shorten her
lifespan. Also, by breeding your rabbit
you are contributing to the growing number of homeless house rabbits. The people you sold or gave your rabbits to
could have adopted one of the thousands of rabbits currently in
instead. So for the good of your own
rabbit and for the good of rabbits around the world, please do not
bunnies. The only breeding that is okay
is breeding for show (in which 2 purebred pedigreed rabbits of the same
are bred together to produce purebred pedigreed babies for rabbit
are similar to dog and cat shows.)
Why should I have my rabbit
rabbit will be unable to breed, and will therefore be unable to
contribute tothe problem of homeless rabbits.
- All risk
of your rabbit getting a reproductive cancer is eliminated (Neutered males cannot get testicular cancer.
Spayed females cannot get mammary cancer, uterine
cancer, ovarian cancer, etc.) Statistics
show that most rabbits, especially females, will
get or die from a reproductive
cancer before they reach the age of 5 (normal
lifespan of a spayed/neutered
well-cared-for house rabbit is 8-12 years)).
rabbit will be more calm and less aggressive.
- Your rabbit will live longer.
- Your rabbit will be easier to litter-train and
litter box habits will improveYour rabbit will stop spraying things
(Male rabbits are generally the only rabbits
who spray, but a small number of females also spray.)
- Risk of hormonally-induced infections is
At what age should a rabbit be
rabbits can be neutered as soon as their
testicles descend (this occurs between the ages of 3 and 8 months). Females can be spayed as soon as they are 6
months old. After the age of 6 years,
surgery becomes very risky, so rabbits over the age of 6 should not be
How often should I take my rabbit to
see the veterinarian?
should take your rabbit to see the
veterinarian once a year. After your
rabbit reaches the age of 6 (the age at which your bunny becomes a
“senior citizen”), you should take him/her to see the veterinarian
What are the "danger signs" that
indicate that my rabbit needs to see a veterinarian?
- Diarrhea with listlessness
- Sudden loss of appetite with bloat
and abdominal gurgling
- Loss of appetite with labored
- Loss of appetite with runny nose
- Incontinence (urine-soaked rear
- Abscesses, lumps, or swellings
- Any sudden change in behavior
!!!IMPORTANT!!!- Loss of appetite
is extremely serious. If a rabbit’s
gastrointestinal tract goes empty and stops functioning, the rabbit
die. Also, if the normal gut flora
(a.k.a. “good bacteria”) decreases, the rabbit can die.
(This is one reason why most antibiotics are bad
for rabbits. The other reason is that
rabbits are allergic to many antibiotics.)
- Sitting hunched while loudly
grinding teeth (this is a sign of pain)
Can rabbits be trained to use
litter boxes? What kind of bedding/litter should be used?
Please see the guide found here.