As a pet owner, you know that there are a lot of animals that only thrive if they have a companion of the same species. This includes common pets such as rats and ferrets. And while reading this, you may be wondering if your cuddly bunny also needs another rabbit companion. Believe it or not, but a lot of rabbit owners wonder the exact same thing.
So, do rabbits need to live in pairs? Rabbits thrive better if they have a companion of their own species. They are very naturally sociable. However, a rabbit still can have a happy life by itself with the right care. If you aren’t equipped to care for multiple rabbits, you should re-consider getting a second.
Today, we’re going to explore why it is beneficial for your rabbit to have another bunny to live with. We’ll also talk about some similar topics, like the practical benefits of having more than one rabbit, or if your bunny can have a companion of a different species.
Should You Buy Your Rabbit a Companion?
So, should you buy another rabbit for your existing one to have a buddy? Many owners are surprised to find out that there is no simple answer to this question. In fact, the answer depends on the personality of your rabbit, how long they have lived alone, and on many other factors.
Here are some things to think about when deciding to get a second rabbit:
- How sociable and friendly is your current rabbit? If they shy away, or display signs of aggression, you may want to take caution when getting them a new friend. Review traits of your rabbit’s personality before deciding whether or not it is a good idea to get them a companion. You may just find that your rabbit might not be suitable to share it’s space with another bunny.
- How long has your rabbit lived alone, and is it currently thriving while being alone? If your rabbit has lived alone for many years, it may be more difficult to introduce a new friend. And if your rabbit is thriving from being alone, you may not have any real reason to introduce a brand new companion.
- What is your financial situation like as far as pet care? Can you afford a new cage big enough for multiple rabbits? Are you ready for a bigger food bill, or more trips to the veterinarian? If you have crunched the numbers and you don’t think you can afford a second rabbit, you may want to think twice.
- What does your long-term plan look like, and will a second rabbit fit into it? Will you still be able to care for two bunnies in a year or two? How about three? Rabbits live much longer than hamster and most fish. Do you plan on massive life changes, like having a baby or going to school in the near future? If moving or a major life change may be on the horizon, consider how having a second rabbit will impact your future.
- Are you prepared to house your rabbits separately if they end up not getting along? This will mean having the money and space for two cages.
- Is your rabbit already spayed or neutered? If the answer is no, you should absolutely not get a rabbit of the opposite sex before having the existing rabbit fixed. Even same sex bunnies may be more likely to fight each other if they are not altered.
- Do you work a lot of long hours with your lonely rabbit stuck at home alone? If this is the case, a companion may give your bunny much needed socialization.
If you have assessed your situation thoroughly, you may have arrived at a solid conclusion of whether or not you think you should get a second rabbit as a companion for your existing one. Remember, it is okay to take the time to truly make the best decision. Once you already get the second rabbit, it will be a lot harder to asses your current and future life situation.
Do Rabbits Do Better in Pairs?
It is hard to answer this question the same way every time, for each and every bunny. After all, rabbits are all unique and different in their own ways. But overall, it seems that the majority of rabbits do better with a companion than living a life alone. If you have the space and resources to get a second bunny, you should consider doing that.
Wild Life Vs Domestic
In the wild, rabbits tend to live in groups of many others. This means that they are naturally very sociable. However, more people tend to have rabbits living by themselves in captivity. This is usually because a lot of people feel that they cannot afford the added expense or added responsibility of having more than one rabbit at a time.
One Rabbit Vs Many
How many rabbits do you intend to own? One bunny? Two bunnies? Maybe three, or four, or even more bunnies? Before you answer that question, you have to evaluate your living situation, your finances, your home, and even your future. All of these and more are factors that determine whether you should have one rabbit or many.
Why Having Only One Rabbit Is Not Good For Its Well-being, Or Is It?
In the wild, rabbits thrive while being a park of packs with other bunnies. This means that they should not live alone. However, many rabbits do live perfectly healthy lives by themselves. Just because they may do better with another rabbit doesn’t mean that it is essential to their health and happiness. But the right bonded pair can increase your rabbit’s overall level of both.
Only you can answer the question of whether or not having a second rabbit will be better for your bunny’s well-being.
Do Rabbits Play Together?
Some people are genuinely surprised to find out that rabbits are very playful, and they will play with others of their own species if given the chance. However, this also depends on the personality of the individual rabbit, and on how long they have known their companion.
Are Rabbits Happier When In Pairs?
Most rabbits are happier with a companion of the same species. In fact, many popular pet bloggers have even argued that every rabbit should have a companion of its’ own species. But this doesn’t mean that is the case for every single rabbit. If your rabbit is aggressive and does not take well to others, it may not be happier with a companion. But if your rabbit seems lonely, or did well with other bunnies in the past, then a pair may be the key to its’ happiness.
Can Rabbits Stay Alone?
This depends on the individual rabbit. Some bunnies prefer to be alone, but many don’t. If you are home often enough and able to give your rabbit the right amount of attention that it requires, your rabbit may be able to live happily alone. But it will still be beneficial in most cases for it to have a companion of the same species to share its’ cage with. After all, you cannot spend every waking moment with your pet, despite best intentions.
Can Rabbits Die Of Loneliness?
If a rabbit is one half of a bonded pair and it’s companion passes away, the remaining rabbit could easily become stressed. And rabbits can absolutely die from this level of stress. If you are not careful, you may lose a rabbit to loneliness after its’ companion passes on.
Does Rabbit Companion Needs To Be Opposite Sex?
If you are considering getting your rabbit a companion of the opposite sex, please make sure that one or both of them are spayed or neutered. Otherwise, you may suddenly have a lot of baby bunnies on your hands that you were not prepared for. Since shelters and rescues are full of many loving rabbits that need a home, it isn’t very responsible to allow your rabbits to procreate outside of a responsible breeding program. Breeding your rabbits may also cause serious health problems, or even death from the process of birth.
Many rabbit experts believe that opposite sex pairs get along better than same sex pairs. But this doesn’t mean that having a same sex pair of rabbits together is completely impossible. Same sex pairs may be less likely to show negative behaviors to each other if they are spayed or neutered.
Can One Rabbit Live Inside and Another Outside? What is The Affect?
Overall, it is better for your rabbit’s health if you keep both of them indoors. Indoor rabbits don’t have to deal with bad weather, a higher risk of diseases, or predators on the loose.
If you have a bonded pair of rabbits, you should keep them together in the same cage. Rabbits in a pair will miss one another, and you shouldn’t separate them by having one indoors and one outdoors. If you absolutely must keep your rabbits outside, it would be better to keep them outside together in the same cage.
Is There A Practical Benefit With 2 Rabbits?
Practically, two rabbits means twice the expenses, twice the care, twice the time, and twice almost everything else. When you choose to have more than one rabbit, you will be doubling the amount of money you spend, as well as the responsibility.
However, what happens if you work a full-time job, and you are away from your beloved pet for over forty hours a week? Or what if you feel like you are otherwise very busy and you can’t give your rabbit the companionship it needs? In these cases, it seems very practical to have two rabbits instead of one. This is because a second rabbit can provide the much needed companionship that you are unable to give due to your busy schedule.
If you are a very busy person, and you are able to afford the expense of owning two rabbits, it may be very practical to have more.
Can Two Rabbits Bond Faster With The Owner Vs Just One?
Usually, rabbits tend to bond better with their owners if they are not already in pairs. This is because if rabbits do not have companionship with another animal of their own species, they will often seek out needed attention from their owners. Many people with multiple rabbits decide to keep them separate at first, in order to facilitate a better pet-owner bond. After this bond is established, many choose to then introduce the rabbits to each other.
Do Rabbits Fight? What Do I Do About That?
Unfortunately, your rabbits may fight with one another. This leads to a huge amount of stress, and it may even lead to one or both of your rabbits getting injured. Why do rabbits fight with each other? And what can you do to make them stop?
Make sure you introduce rabbits as slowly as possible. Don’t put them together unsupervised, especially if they barely know one another. Spayed and neutered rabbits are less likely to fight each other. Ultimately if your rabbits refuse to get along, this may mean that one of them prefers to be alone.
Would Different Breed of Rabbits Get Along As Pair?
If you’re interested in keeping more than one rabbit at a time, you may be wondering if bunnies will get along if they are of two different breeds. After all, there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a rabbit breed, and you may be wondering why you should be limited to just one.
Generally, it doesn’t matter that much whether your two rabbits are of different breeds. This only becomes a concern if you are trying to house a small breed of rabbit with a giant or large breed. You don’t want a very large rabbit trying to hurt a tiny one. Stick to keeping rabbits together that are of a similar size, in order to avoid potential problems. Overall, the sex of the rabbits you keep together is more important than the breeds.
What is The Sign Rabbits Are Bonding Together?
When first introduced, two rabbits may fight a little bit with one another. While this is normal, you need to take steps to ensure that your rabbits do not hurt one another. This is especially true if one is an adult, and one is younger. If you are trying to introduce a baby rabbit to an adult, you may want to wait until the younger rabbit has grown up a bit more. Be incredibly cautious; adults rabbits have the ability to hurt or kill a baby bunny if left unsupervised.
Do Rabbits Get Stressed When New Companion Is Introduced?
Like most animals, rabbits will naturally become stressed out when you introduce a new companion into their space. They may attack the new rabbit, mark their territory more, or display a range of many other behaviors.
The key to successful introductions lies in introducing the new companion slowly. In other words, don’t just get a new rabbit and shove it in the cage unsupervised with your existing bunny. This will do nothing but cause unbearable stress. It may even put your new companion at risk of getting seriously attacked and hurt.
How Do Rabbits Mark Their Territory?
Like many animals, rabbits mark their territory through unique ways. Many people don’t know that rabbits actually have scent glands located under their chins. This is why you may often see a bunny rubbing its’ chin on a person, or even on an object. A more frustrating way that rabbits mark their territory is by leaving droppings in that area.
Owners may have a harder time with a rabbit who is not yet spayed or neutered. Intact rabbits may develop a habit of spraying urine in a specific spot to mark their territory. Rabbit urine can be smelly, and harder to clean up after than bowel droppings.
Is It Recommended That Two Rabbis Live In The Same Cage?
It is okay to let two bonded rabbits live in the same cage together. However, this will involve you investing in a bigger cage than one you would be able to keep one rabbit in. More rabbits means that they need more space!
If you get two rabbits together as a pair, you should be able to start by putting them in the same cage unless you want to separate them for some reason. But if you have an existing bunny and get a new one, this changes things. Placing a new rabbit directly in the cage with an existing rabbit may cause a lot of fighting, stress, and potential injuries. Have separate cages in order to introduce your rabbits to each other slowly. This way, you’ll minimize the risk of fighting during the bonding process.
What Happens To Rabbit If Companion Dies
Like human beings, rabbits can become depressed and listless if their companions pass away. This is especially true if you have multiple rabbits living in the same cage together. And the longer your rabbit was with its’ companion, the sadder it will be when that companion passes away. So, what do you do when your rabbit’s companion dies?
Here are a few things you need to know if this happens:
- Your rabbit may need extra attention from you at this time. Give your rabbit as much extra attention and love as you can to help ease its’ stress.
- Don’t rush out to get your rabbit a new companion right away. Give them and yourself some time to process everything. You need a chance to make a good decision when it comes to choosing a new companion after the passing of an old one.
- Right after the companion rabbit dies, allow the living rabbit to have time alone with the body. Rabbits have emotions, too, and this will give them time to properly grieve for their friend.
The death of a companion can be very rough when dealing with a bonded pair of rabbits. With love and understanding, you will be able to help your living rabbit through this.
Would It Be Okay To Get Your Rabbit Non-Rabbit Companion? What Are the Possible Effects?
A lot of people wonder if it is okay to get your rabbit a companion that is not another bunny. However, this could easily turn into a disaster for many reasons. Sometimes, some species just don’t go together that well with rabbits. And in the worst cases, your bunny or new companion could end up killed or seriously injured.
Let’s compare a few of the common species that some people try to pair with their rabbits as companions, and we’ll talk about the possible effects.
- Dogs. You should absolutely never leave your rabbit alone with a dog while unsupervised. Many breeds of dogs have prey drive towards animals such as rabbits. This means that your dog may be very likely to stalk, grab, and kill your bunny. Even if your dog has never displayed these behaviors in front of you before, it doesn’t mean that they won’t harm your rabbit if you are not looking.
- Cats. Just like with dogs, you should always supervise any interactions between a cat and a rabbit, whenever possible. Many outdoor cats have been known to prey on rabbits, and bring them home as trophies to their owners. Even if your cat doesn’t intend to hurt your rabbit, it could accidentally injure the bunny with its’ sharp claws.
- Hamsters. Hamsters are much smaller than a rabbit, and could easily slip out of most cages intended for a bunny. Unlike the previous examples, your rabbit may be likely to seriously harm a hamster. Not even the smallest of rabbits should be trusted unsupervised with a pet hamster. This precaution is more for the well-being of the hamster than of the rabbit!
- Guinea pigs. Since they are generally around the same size and have similar care, many naive owners believe that guinea pigs and rabbits may be able to live together. Unfortunately, this is not true. Rabbits and guinea pigs are very likely to fight one another. They are two different species with two different methods of communication. They also have two different required diets. Guinea pigs should not consume food manufactured for a rabbit, and the opposite is also true. Your rabbit will be much happier without a guinea pig sharing its’ cage.
- Turtles. A handful of owners on online forums report that they have success with rabbits and turtles cohabiting with each other outdoors. But in general, there are some reasons why they should not mix. Rabbits could get sick from eating a turtle’s food. They could also get sick from drinking the water that a turtle has been in. Turtles and tortoises could also injure a rabbit. As with many other species, make sure that you supervise any interactions between a rabbit and a turtle or tortoise.
- Ferrets. Ferrets are predators, and they are known to hunt rabbits in the wild. Your rabbit may feel unsafe around a ferret. Likewise, you may witness your ferret trying to hurt your beloved rabbit. It is best to keep ferrets and rabbits apart at all times. Even if you are able to supervise them, a ferret may scare or cause harm to your bunny.
Clearly, it is in the best interest of both animals if the companion you choose for your rabbit is of the same species. You don’t want to risk your rabbit getting killed, and you certainly don’t want to adopt another animal that will end up being a bad companion for your rabbit.
Today, we have discussed the benefits of keeping rabbits in a pair instead of alone. We’ve also discussed similar ideas, such as how to introduce new rabbits to existing ones, if one rabbit bonds to its’ owner better than a pair will, and what to do when your rabbit’s companion dies. If you have any other suggestions about keeping rabbits in pairs, please leave them in the comment section.
Where should I get a rabbit from? You should get a rabbit from a shelter, rescue, or a reputable breeder. Never get a rabbit from a backyard breeder, or a rabbit mill who’s only goal is to mass produce rabbits in order for profit. You should also avoid purchasing a rabbit from a pet shop, since many pet shops are supplied by large mills.
Should my rabbits be spayed and neutered? There are many potential benefits to spaying or neutering your pet rabbit. Rabbits are less likely to mark their territory with urine if they are fixed. They also will face less health risks, such as mammary tumors or unwanted pregnancies, if they are spayed or neutered.
Do rabbits get lonely? Rabbits can get lonely very easily. This is especially true if a rabbit is part of a bonded pair, and it’s mate dies or is taken away. Rabbits can also get very lonely if their owners spend a lot of time away from them, and keep them in cages by themselves without needed companionship.