Do Rabbits Need a Companion?
Ok so there has been some Very nasty debate recently on whether keeping a rabbit alone is cruel and neglectful/wrong. Personally, I do not agree with this statement AT ALL. Especially when the statement should come from someone with little rabbit experience. My opinion on the matter is based on 10 years of research, owning, fostering, and caring for rabbits.
Rabbits are generally considered to be social animals but this is based on a number of factors. For rabbits such as show rabbits, meat rabbits, or breeders it is generally considered unwise to cohouse with other rabbits due to hormonal aggression and that the phrase “breeding like rabbits” exists for a reason. However, if your rabbit is a pet I do reccommend getting your pet altered. Not only will this prevent desctruction and aggression, but will also prevent males from spraying urine EVERYWHERE. I cannot stress enough how there are place urine should not be able to reach that a hormonal buck will manage to reach. Also for females, spaying greatly decreases the chances of cancer. Take it from me who recently lost a 5 year old very sweet female. Her tumors were initially removed in surgery but unfortunately came back after a few months and not wanting to see her in pain she was euthanized.
Now just because your rabbit is altered doesn’t necessarily mean they NEED a companion. Each and every rabbits personality is unique and different. Take some of my rabbits over the years as examples.
Clark is currently in his golden years and he is a friend to all living things. He has, unfortunately, outlived two companions. He is a type of bunny that needs another bunny to squish his worries away. When he is alone he hides in the furthest corner of my closest and needs to be convinced to eat. He becomes very stressed and nervous. When he lost L.C. I stress that he would NOT have had a good quality of life on his own, hence Lois’s arrival and now two new bunnies. He is a type of rabbit that craves interaction from another bunny.
Now Little Charlie or L.C. seemed to be a healthy bun at first. He and Clark adored each other but L.C. only liked one or two people he knew well and wanted NOTHING to do with any animal that wasn’t Clark. He was nervous and took solace in Clark’s company.
Lois was also a friend to all living things and oddly enough, despite being bonded with Clark, she would leave his side to investigate new people. She adored people and loved to give them kisses. Very social bunny
Tate was a foster who was a nervous wreck and who was moved to a single bunny home. I would NOT reccommend a companion for him. Being around other animals stressed him out. He loved getting pets from humans but the minute another rabbit was in his line of sight he’d hide and start heavily and rapidly breathing. After several attempts to slowly bond him with Clark, it was decided that it wasn’t worth the stress. His new family thankfully didn’t mind having a lone bunny.
Finally…we have Cupcake…ohhh Cupcake. A big and beautiful brown lop. She was also rehomed to a single rabbit home and is actually used to introduce little kids to the care of rabbits and fun facts about them. She loves people and pets and attention. She HATES other rabbits. The minute she saw another rabbit she became RAGE INCARNATE and after putting two cat carriers face to face to try to get her used to the presence of other rabbits without any risk of harm…she tried furiously biting the bars of her carrier. Humans= love. Rabbits= rage.
So as you can see rabbits can be with other rabbits, but they can also do much better on their own. It all depends on their personality. They’re unique and independant. Those who belive rabbits are cut from the same mold clearly need to spend a few more year learning about these fuzzy balls of love and destruction.
If you think someone is mitreating their rabbits then a word of advice
1. Have actual proof and evidence and don’t just assume based on one post that they’re in a bad situation
2. Approach the owner in a firendly and HELPFUL way. Do NOT bully them and act mean or cruel
3. Don’t base your “knowledge” on a Google search. I have been caring for rabbits for about 10 years and even now I do not force my knowledge at others. Should someone ask me I would be happy to help them
4. ALWAYS compliment the bun. ALL buns deserve compliments