Rabbits as pets can be housed in exercise pens, free roaming without any boundaries in a rabbit-proofed space, and as a house companion. Rabbits can be litter box-trained and taught to come when called. They need exercise and can damage a house that has not been “rabbit-proofed” because of their innate need to chew.
Male rabbits are called bucks and females are called does. A young rabbit is called a bunny. More recently, the term kit or kitten has been used to refer to a young rabbit. A group of rabbits is known as a “colony” or a “nest.”
As of 2017, there were at least 305 breeds of domestic rabbits in 70 countries around the world. Selective breeding has produced rabbits ranging in size from dwarf to giant.
A rabbit may be considered a type of pocket pet, depending on its size. They can bond with humans, can learn to follow simple voice commands, and come when called. Rabbits are curious and playful, can be trained to live indoors perfectly, and can be litter box trained.
Not all veterinarians will treat rabbits, and pet owners may have to seek out an exotic animal veterinarian for their rabbit’s care. Rabbits need regular checkups at the veterinarian because they may hide signs of illness or disease. Additionally, rabbits need regular maintenance in the form of being able to chew on something and having their nails trimmed regularly.
Pet rabbits can often exhibit behavior problems, including aggression towards humans and conspecifics, particularly with poor husbandry. Rabbit owners can seek behavior help through their vets and rabbit behaviorists.
Featured image courtesy: Grace M. Elston
Content creator: Petrus A. van Tonder