With their long ears, fluffy tails and adorable hopping, rabbits make wonderful pets and remain a firm favourite amongst families. However, they’re pretty complex creatures and there is so much to learn about them, so we’re sharing some facts about rabbits that you might not know below.
Fact 1: They need company
Getting your rabbit a friend is one of the best things you can do to make their life a happy and fulfilled one. They’re extremely sociable animals, often living in big groups in the wild, and thrive with the company they keep. The best combination is often a neutered male and neutered female.
Fact 2: They can live for up to 12 years
Many well-looked after rabbits can live for 8-12 years, making them great long-term companions.
Fact 3: Their teeth never stop growing
Rabbit teeth continue to grow throughout their lives, and should be worn down by chewing on grasses, wildflowers and vegetables so they don’t get too long.
Fact 4: Baby rabbits are born with their eyes shut
Once their eyes do open, they have almost 360-degree vision thanks to the structure of their eyes and placement on the skull, meaning they can be very difficult to sneak up on.
Fact 5: They can’t sweat or pant
Without the ability to sweat or pant, rabbits are at high risk of heatstroke. Wild rabbits regulate body heat by staying in burrows on warm days, only emerging when the temperature drops. To help keep your rabbits comfortable, make sure they always have places to stay cool.
Signs of heatstroke include (but aren’t limited to):
- Hot ears
- Fast breathing
- Shaking and tremors
- Blood from mouth and nose
If you think your rabbit is experiencing heat stroke, contact your local vet right away.
Fact 6: Carrots aren’t that good for them
Bugs Bunny has some explaining to do! Rabbits mainly eat hay and/or grass, along with small, measured amounts of leafy greens and pellets. Surprising to many people, root vegetables and fruit aren’t a natural part of their diet, as many are high in sugar and should only be fed in small amounts as occasional treats.
Fact 7: They’re most active at dawn and dusk
Rabbits are crepuscular, which simply means they’re most active at dawn and dusk. They love a good snooze during the day, which leads many people to wrongly assume they’re nocturnal, but if you check on your furry friend at sunset you’ll probably find that they’re in the mood to play!
Fact 8: They ‘binky’ to express happiness
If your rabbit is leaping or hopping and performing twists and kicks in mid-air, it’s known as ‘binkying’ and happens when they feel really happy or excited.
Fact 9: Their ears come in handy
A rabbit’s ears serve two key functions. The first – and most obvious – is to help them monitor their environment and detect predators. Domestic breeds can rotate their ears 180 degrees, which means they’re able to pinpoint the exact location a sound is coming from. The second function is to help them regulate their temperature, using the ear’s large surface to prevent heat stroke and hypothermia.
Fact 10: They drink a lot
Rabbits need access to plenty of fresh water at all times and will often drink more than a dog that is 5 times their size. It helps to keep everything moving in the gut, flush out excess calcium and keep their bodies healthy in general.
For more advice on your rabbit, or for any other concerns you may have, please get in touch with your local St Kitts practice.
St Kitts Veterinary Centre: 01252 844044
Basingstoke Veterinary Centre: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799