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General Care

Rabbits are known as a “pocket pet” - any small mammal kept in a house like hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, fancy mice, and fancy rats. On average a rabbit will live 7 to 10 years, up to 15 years. During this time you might see some cute behaviors, but also some strange behaviors that you weren’t expecting. It’s important to prepare yourself to understand what is considered “normal” behavior and when you should be concerned. Below is a list of some of the common attributes you can expect to see from your rabbit:

  • Twitching Nose: A rabbit is biologically and genetically programmed to be aware of their environment and any predators. Therefore, even while they are sleeping, you might see nose movement.
  • Large Moveable Ears: A rabbit’s ears have a large surface area to collect the sound waves and detect potential danger. It also acts as a heat sink, where in warmer climates, they can release heat quickly.
  • Large Protruding Eyes: A rabbit's eyes allow for almost 360-degree vision around its head and when combined with smelling and hearing, they can pinpoint things in their environment accurately.
  • Digging: Long ago rabbits lived in burrows where they could hide, sleep and reproduce. Now males use it as a way to place small deposits of feces to mark their territory.
  • Jumping: Rabbits are not meant to leap or jump as a normal part of daily life, but when it’s essential it can tap into this power to escape from predators. Do your best to not force your rabbit to jump down from tables or surfaces that are more than a few inches off the ground
  • Vocalization: Most rabbits do not like to be very loud to avoid predators, but you might hear purring, soft clicking sounds, or slow quiet grinding of the teeth. Aggressive noises could be grunts, growls and loud teeth grinding. Rabbits can also scream if they feel they are in danger or afraid.
  • Scent Marking: Marking territory and communication with other rabbits is a perk to a rabbit’s feces. Both males and females have a scent gland, which they secrete to clearly mark their territory.
  • Urine: Rabbits have two methods of urination. One is to drain the bladder in a normal position and the other is to lift the hindquarters and spray urine on a vertical surface. Often, animals neutered before or shortly after sexual maturity will not spray urine.
  • Body Language: Rabbits will often lie on their side or belly with its back legs outstretched or squat on the ground with ears folded against its head. Submissive rabbits make themselves look as small as possible and stay very still, with the eyes somewhat relaxed and not tense. When a rabbit is afraid, it will look similar to a submissive rabbit, but with tense and “bugged out” eyes and the body/ears pressed downward to avoid detection from predators.

For more information on general care, take a look at our rabbit feeding section.

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