Are Rabbits Social Animals?

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Last Updated on April 18, 2022 by Rei Garnet

It might seem like a surprise to some of you, but rabbits are actually social animals. Most people have this idea that rabbits are snobby or not as clingy as other popular pets like cats or dogs.

But, rabbits are actually very social towards their kind, and if they trust their owners enough, they too will receive the same kind of love.

It’s also recommended that you get a pair of rabbits if you’re planning on adopting. This is because rabbits would thrive much better if they had a companion.

While any pairing of rabbits would do (male-female, male-male, etc.), the best pairing would be male and female, given that both are neutered/spayed.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits are social animals:

Are rabbits solitary or social animals?

Contrary to the notion that rabbits are snobby, rabbits are actually social animals that thrive much better when they are with their companions.

Wild rabbits would spend their days hiding in their burrows, grooming, playing, and sleeping next to each other.

Rabbits also grieve a lot after the death of a companion, which is why it’s often recommended to leave the corpse of the dead rabbit inside the cage to let the other rabbit grieve properly.

Also, pet rabbits require attention from their owners as much as possible. Play with your rabbit as much as you can, especially if your rabbit doesn’t have another rabbit as a companion.

Can rabbits live alone?

A rabbit looking at a window looking depressed

While rabbits can live alone, it would likely affect their health if they were alone for long periods of time. Rabbits that are confined alone for long periods of time will eventually develop depression or stress.

Depression in rabbits would affect their appetite, which in turn could lead to dangerous digestive problems like GI stasis.

While it’s possible to have just one rabbit, you need to spend a lot of time with them. That’s not really possible for most of us because we’re away at work most of the day.

That’s why it’s often recommended to get a pair of rabbits so that they can keep each other’s company while you’re away living your own life.

What to do if your rabbit is not socializing?

A rabbit that’s not socializing with another rabbit could be a sign that they’re being territorial towards the other rabbit. To fix this, you should get both of your rabbits neutered to prevent any hormonal-related aggression.

If both are neutered and are still not socializing with each other, check if the rabbit that’s not socializing is exhibiting any symptoms that it might be sick.

Rabbits that were suffering from diseases or were in pain would be withdrawn and would often spend their days minding their own business. Talk to your veterinarian if you suspect any health problems.

If you’re sure that both rabbits are healthy but would still not socialize, I would suggest giving it more time. It could take a while for rabbits to form a bond.

Finally, if your rabbit is not socializing with you, play with them every day. Spend time with them, but don’t force them if they want to be left alone.

Rabbits are naturally withdrawn from their owners when they first get them. They need time to make sure that you can be trusted.

Give them some treats, play with them, and give them some space. That’s all we can do at the beginning of the relationship.

Can rabbits socialize with other animals?

A rabbit and a dog socializing with each other

While it’s entirely possible for a rabbit to socialize with another pet, you would need to train and monitor your pets until they’re comfortable with each other.

Remember, rabbits are prey creatures, while popular pets like dogs and cats are predatorsCats and dogs have a natural instinct to hunt, so it’s entirely possible for them to hurt your rabbits.

Smaller rodent pets like guinea pigs are much more suitable matches for rabbits. It’s actually the opposite with smaller pets like guinea pigs. Your rabbits are more likely to hurt the guinea pig due to the size difference.

Are there rabbit breeds that are more sociable?

All domesticated rabbit breeds are more sociable than wild ones. Breeds like lionhead, mini lop, harlequin, polish, rex, Himalayan, and jersey wooly are all sociable and affectionate.

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Welcome to Bunnyhorde

Also, any breed can be unsociable when they’re not neutered or spayed. That’s why it’s important that you get your rabbits neutered before they reach their sexual maturity at around 4 months.

Doing so would make your rabbit more tolerable and easier to deal with.

Summary

It might not be obvious due to their silent nature, but rabbits are extremely social with the ones they trust. Rabbits in the wild would spend most of their day socializing with other rabbits inside their burrows.

Rabbits also thrive better when they have a companion. A rabbit that’s been in isolation for long periods of time would eventually develop depression, which in turn could affect its appetite.

Reduced appetite in rabbits is extremely dangerous because it could lead to dangerous digestive conditions like GI stasis.

By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.