If you’re wondering whether to get one rabbit or two, we’re here to shed more light on what will be best for the happiness of your rabbits. By nature, rabbits are gregarious and will need constant companionship not to get into emotional distress. In the wild, rabbits stay in groups, and thus they have an innate need to live in the company of other rabbits even when kept as pets.
So, can rabbits live alone?
Rabbits need the company of their fellow bunnies more than they need human companionship. No matter how hard we try, it’s impossible to give your rabbit the company and satisfaction it gets from another rabbit. The fact is that we have busy lives, and even if you manage to spend a couple of hours a day with your pet rabbit, they will still spend most of their lives without us. That’s why it’s recommended to keep at least two rabbits. So, to directly answer the question, we can say that rabbits can live alone, but they are better off kept with a fellow rabbit.
Why Do Rabbits Get Lonely Alone?
Your rabbit will likely feel lonely without the companion of another rabbit or compatible pet as they are hardwired to be social. In the wild, rabbits live in massive colonies, and thus they’ll instinctively seek company even when kept as pets.
Part of the reason rabbits have an innate need to live in the company of other bunnies is because, in the wild, they live in large colonies to feel safe. The more rabbits there are in a group, the higher the chances of predators being spotted from afar.
Your pet may not understand why it needs company since there are no predators around, but they’ll desire the company of another rabbit. Keeping her alone will make her life miserable.
What Are Signs of a Lonely Rabbit?
A rabbit that feels isolated shows the following signs:
- Fur-pulling and overeating are the most common signs of a lonely rabbit
- Hyperactivity and anger that leads to destructive behavior such as gnawing on carpets and chewing furniture
- Withdraw from human interaction whereby it refuses to play with you. At this time, your rabbit is likely getting depressed
- Wanting more attention from you, with repeated habits of soft biting and digging
When your bunny feels lonely, depression starts to kick in, leading to boredom. A bored rabbit is a destructive pet as it starts to bite cage bars, damage its teeth, pull its fur, etc. Remember that the above signs may also manifest themselves in a single bunny that doesn’t get enough attention from its owners.
Benefits of Keeping Rabbits in Pairs or Groups
When kept in pairs or groups, rabbits tend to interact with each other. From playing and eating together to sleeping in one corner of the hutch, bunnies do virtually everything together. Their own company is something human interaction cannot replace. That’s why it’s best to keep a pair or group of rabbits.
Having a pair of rabbits is something you will admire to watch. By this, we mean their bond will leave you smiling – watching your rabbits cuddle to sleep, having nose-to-nose moments, getting into some mischief in their rabbit run etc. When bunnies bond, you’ll never have to worry about your pets feeling lonely, even if you fail to check them the whole day. The only time you’ll have worries is when one of their partners passes away – the single bunny will feel lonely before it adjusts.
If you have a group of three or more bunnies, your pet will have fun days interacting with each other. With time, you’ll start seeing pairs having distinct relationships. However, to ensure there are no territorial wars, make sure there is enough space for everyone. Also, when introducing new rabbits to your home, make sure you introduce them all to a habitat that’s new to all. This will help reduce territorial wars.
How to Tackle Loneliness If You Don’t Want to Add another Rabbit
If you’re not in a position to add another rabbit, there are several things you can do to ease your pet’s loneliness, including:
- Taking your bunny outside each day for at least two hours. This will help reduce the time it feels lonely indoors
- Interacting with them more, both physically and mentally. Most bunnies are playful and like human interaction
- Pay a visit to their cage and try to engage them severally in a day
- Purchase rabbit-friendly toys to keep them busy and stimulate their minds
Can Other Pets Keep a Rabbit Company?
Rabbits can coexist with other pets where there is ample outdoor space. For example, rabbits and chickens can live together as long as safety measures are put in place.
Some people also keep guinea pigs with rabbits. However, the two are different, especially in terms of play styles and diets. If not controlled, they often injure each other due to miscommunication.
Cats or dogs should not be kept in the open space with rabbits. At first, they can get along, but with time, their hunting instincts may kick in and end up eating your bunny.
Are There Rabbits That May Do Well On Their Own?
We’ve mentioned how important it is for bunnies to live in pairs or groups. In fact, studies show that given a choice between social interaction and food, most rabbits will often choose to visit another bunny over food.
However, there are instances where some rabbits may thrive better on their own, including:
- When traumatized. A formerly abused pet rabbit may prefer to stay on its own
- A rabbit that was bullied by others may choose its own company
Some rabbits simply don’t enjoy the company of other rabbits. If your bunny prefers to stay alone, you’ll know. In this case, a rabbit can live happily independently as long as you make up for this by providing them with plenty of human interactions.
While rabbits can live independently, it’s not recommended for their happiness and health. Rabbits are sociable creatures and need to interact with fellow bunnies often.
That’s why it’s best to consider keeping them in pairs or groups instead of one lone pet. That said, if you don’t want to add another rabbit to your home for whatsoever reason, you can try to make up for the loneliness by giving your pet enough care and attention. Keep in mind that this may not work with some rabbits.