There’s no denying it; rabbits are the absolute cutest. These fluffy friends are also popular as pets. After all, who doesn’t want a little Bugs Bunny bouncing around the house?
The first thing all rabbit owners must know before adopting a pet rabbit is that these creatures have different needs than those of ordinary cats and dogs. For starters, pet rabbits don’t eat the same as most domesticated animals, and their lifespans differ as well. So, how long do bunnies live? Let’s dive right into it.
Rabbit Lifespan and How Long Do Rabbits Live?
Your bunny’s lifespan can be affected by a number of factors, such as your home environment and how you look after your rabbit. The average bunny lifespan is between 8 and 12 years.
However, some of them can live up to their teens. In fact, the oldest bunny in the world lived to the age of 18. Each rabbit is different, so here are some indicators to predict how long your pet rabbit will live.
As you may have guessed, smaller rabbits, especially dwarf bunnies, live longer than their larger peers. This is also true in human anatomy since blood takes longer to circulate in taller or larger bodies. Sometimes, being smaller has its perks.
2. Living Environment
Where will your rabbit live?
An indoor bunny will undoubtedly live longer than one that lives outdoors. This is because outdoor rabbits are easily exposed to more bacteria, harsh weather conditions, as well as to other animals that may be carrying diseases.
The risk of injuries and accidents are also higher with an outdoor bunny. Make sure to keep your new friend safe inside your home and away from the unknown dangers of the outside world.
Mixed breed bunnies are prone to live longer than purebreds. So, although a designer rabbit may sound enticing, it’s probably not a good idea to support the inbreeding of any animal. For example, even in human genetics, individuals of mixed ethnicities or races will have stronger bodies and immune systems as opposed to those that are inbred.
Moreover, it’s a great call to spay and neuter your rabbit, especially if female. Female bunnies could contract cancer if not spayed properly.
It’s no secret that animals with healthy and regular diets live longer. However, rabbits have complex digestive systems, so it’s important to feed them specific foods. A balanced diet of hay, fruits, vegetables, and treats will keep your rabbit healthy and happy for many years to come.
Vitamins, minerals, and fiber content are also needed, so don’t skimp on your next trip to the local pet shop!
Although pellets are yummy snacks, they’re not as rich in nutrition, so try to keep a balance of all the foods and supplements mentioned.
Other Factors to Consider in a Pet Rabbit’s Lifespan
A pet rabbit lifespan is also dependent on their health with hygiene. Rabbits are more susceptible to illnesses and attract parasites, and if neglected, this may shorten their already short existence.
Always wash your hands before and after handling your little bunny friend. Additionally, cleaning their cage regularly will promote healthy habits for the rabbit.
Regular checkups with your veterinarian will also help avoid any serious issues with your rabbit life span. Female rabbits are also more likely to contract mammary or uterine cancer, while male rabbits can contract testicular cancer. As mentioned before, getting rabbits spayed or neutered could save their lives.
Like any living being, spending life in a cage can be stressful for rabbits. These creatures need both space and mental stimulation outside of their cages. Whether you choose to keep them as indoor or outdoor rabbits, they will need a room or a yard to mark as their home and playground, along with chewable toys and stimulating things to play with.
Treat your bunny as a child discovering the world and processing everything. Just like a child, it can get sad and bored, so give them some room to breathe and explore their unique personalities.
Moreover, bunnies are easily stressed and need a calm home environment. Otherwise, they could actually die from shock and stress. Keep your bunny safe from children, cats, and/or dogs, because they might not respond well to them socially and could end up hurt.
Having an indoor bunny with a regular routine and plenty of time and room for play will, for sure, be the easiest way to lengthen its lifespan.
How Long Have Rabbits Lived in Our World?
Rabbits have been part of human surplus since the beginning of time, supplying food and fur.
But by the 20th century, American homes began adopting rabbits as pets, breeding wild cottontails to have longer lifespans altogether.
Domestic bunnies are not like the ones running around in the wild and require different needs as well. Those wild cottontail rabbits are distant relatives and might carry disease, so keep them away from your domesticated rabbit.
How long do rabbits live in captivity? In contrast to their relatives, domesticated rabbits live longer because of evolution and general safety from dangerous exposure. Overall, a domestic rabbit lifespan is directly affected by how its owner treats it.
Common Causes of Death In Rabbits
As to how long bunnies live as pets, their lives could be cut short for many reasons.
As mentioned before, rabbits are susceptible to contracting several types of cancer and can also die from shock. Additionally, there’s another potential danger to their lives: gastrointestinal stasis. Caused by stress, dehydration, or even blockage, your rabbit is sensitive enough to get it. This disease, just like shock, can kill them in an instant. Watch out for the signs, such as your rabbit not eating regularly or having smaller feces droppings than usual.
Outdoor rabbits are at risk of dying from heatstroke if not watched and cared for properly, so make sure to bring them in the shade or inside during hot summer days. They can also die from injury, poisoning, other infectious diseases, as well as stress-induced heart attacks.
Adopting or Buying a Bunny
If you’re thinking of bringing a cute little bunny into your home, here’s what you should know before you get started.
Adopting a Rabbit from an Animal Shelter
After cats and dogs, rabbits are the most surrendered at animal shelters.
Rabbits often need a home because of various difficulties, such as their owners moving or abandoning them. It’s usually not for health or behavioral issues either, as these are perfectly good rabbits.
Though it depends from state to state, it should not cost you any more than $100 to adopt a bunny.
Directly Buying a Rabbit from a Breeder
If you’re looking for an expensive bunny with a shorter lifespan, then this could be the option for you. However, be warned, breeders or animal mills are often abusive toward rabbits. Make sure you buy from a reputable breeder and pay them a visit before investing any money. Verify that their rabbits are well kept and happy, or else they could also die quicker due to prior abuse, neglect, and trauma.
How you treat and nurture your bunny will make a huge difference in its lifespan, along with many biological factors.
Though cute, soft, and cuddly, rabbits – like any creature – are a lot of work to maintain. But their love and companionship are totally worth it! With the right care, you too can raise a healthy, happy, and of course, lovely pet rabbit.