R A B B I T C A R E
Taken from the RSPCA web site.
Make sure your rabbit is able to behave normally
- Rabbits are highly social, playful and inquisitive animals and need to interact and play with other friendly rabbits. Many can enjoy interacting with people.
- Rabbits are active animals and need regular and frequent opportunities to exercise.
- Rabbits are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, and overnight. This is when they like to graze, forage for food and be sociable.
- Scent is an important means of communication for rabbits.
- Rabbits must be able to hide from things that scare them. As they are a prey species, they need to be able to hide in a secure place, away from the sight and smell of predators (e.g. foxes, cats, dogs, ferrets and birds of prey).
- The way a rabbit behaves will depend on his/her age, personality and past experiences.
- If your rabbit changes his/her behaviour, he/she could be distressed, bored, ill or injured.
- Rabbits that are frightened or in pain may change their behaviour or develop unwanted habits e.g. aggression or hiding.
- Signs that your rabbit may be suffering from stress or fear can include hiding, chewing cage bars, over-grooming, altered feeding or toileting habits, over-drinking or playing with the water bottle, sitting hunched, reluctance to move, and repeated circling of his/her enclosure.
Things you should do
- Make sure your rabbits can access all the things that they need (space, food, water,
safe hiding places, companion rabbit(s), toilet area(s) and toys) at all times.
- Provide your rabbits with safe toys to play with and chew, and regular opportunities to play with other friendly rabbits and/or people.
- Make sure your rabbits have constant access to safe hiding places where they can escape if they feel afraid.
- Make sure your rabbits have opportunities to exercise every day to stay fit and healthy. Make every effort to ensure your rabbits have access to a large area to exercise during their most active periods (early morning, late afternoon and overnight).
- Provide your rabbits with constant access to good quality hay; this is important for their emotional wellbeing as well as their dental and digestive health.
- Provide your rabbits with suitable materials that allow digging behaviour (such as a sand box), and areas to mark their territory with chin secretions, urine and droppings.
- Be observant. If your rabbit’s behaviour changes or he/she shows regular signs of stress or fear, seek advice from a vet or a clinical animal behaviourist.
Never shout at or punish your rabbits, they are very unlikely to understand and can become more nervous or scared. If your rabbits' behaviour becomes an ongoing problem, seek expert advice.
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