Understanding Rabbits ~ Rabbit Behaviour ~ Rabbit Bonding ~ Bunny Rabbits Together
Bunny Rabbits Together
Rabbit Companions for Rabbits
Putting Bunny Rabbits Together Is Not As Easy As You Think...
Click on the links below to jump straight to each topic about how rabbits interact with each other...
and the importance of:
The behaviour of rabbits together is beautiful to watch, it is also a fundamental part of their happiness and well-being.
Rabbits are naturally very sociable creatures and normally prefer to be with at least one other friendly rabbit.
If left on their own with nothing to do for long periods of time a
rabbit can develop abnormal behaviour and may suffer with depression, loneliness, anxiety and stress. This can lead to illness and in some cases a rabbit can become so ill, they develop fatal conditions.
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Territorial Behaviour of Bunny Rabbits Together
If you intend to keep bunny rabbits together they will naturally begin to form a
'pecking order'. As in any social group of animals, some will be more
dominant than others. Quick tips...
- Adopt a rabbit friend that is the opposite sex of your rabbit. i.e. a male and a female.
- Trying to
bond two males will probably result in fighting that could cause serious
- Two females are also likely to be more difficult.
- Females are by nature much more territorial and will
therefore defend against a newcomer more vigorously.
- Believe it or not, rabbits can get bullied and picked on so they need a place to hide from any anti-social behaviour. Learn more about rabbit shelter and hiding places here...
that are brought up together will usually get on with each other, but
different adult rabbits may fight when introduced for the first time.
- Learn more about behaviour & bonding.
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Body Language of Bonding Rabbits
There are body language signs to look out for when monitoring rabbits together. You can see their normal behaviour patterns here.
Thumping and light chasing, when introducing rabbits together, should be allowed to continue
without interference as are the following:
Apart from the obvious, when a male rabbit mounts another rabbit or even your foot, he is
either trying to mate or is displaying dominance. A female rabbit may
mount a male rabbit to display dominance.
A female rabbit will sometimes make a growling noise when you are
interfering with her space, for example cleaning out her litter tray.
She may also lunge at you with her front feet - this is a territorial
thing but she is unlikely to bite you.
A rabbit will rub the underside of its chin against something to mark
it with its scent and claim their territory. A rabbit may even chin a
human. Scent is an important means of communication for rabbits.
Nipping and fur pulling are also quite common and not necessarily a good reason to separate them. More normal behaviour...
Rabbits also have many sounds
when they are together and voicing their feelings!
Check them out here...
If you do intend on putting bunny rabbits together, commonly called bonding, both rabbits should be altered otherwise it
could result in pregnancy, fights and/or spraying and marking of
Benefits of Neutering on Behaviour
The word neuter refers to the removal of the reproductive organs of
either a male or a female of a species, although people frequently refer
to the surgery in a female as a spay. The medical terminology for
neutering in a buck rabbit is called castration and in a doe it is
called an ovariohysterectomy.
So why is neutering appropriate for your pet rabbit?
I can't think of any reason why your rabbits shouldn't be neutered unless you intend to breed from them.
If you do intend breeding rabbits, make
sure you have the correct provisions for both the parents and
their babies. (See notes below about breeding.)
The behavioural benefits of neutering rabbits will also have positive effects when rabbits are together, both indoors and outdoors.
Note About Breeding
If you are planning on breeding rabbits, there should be a very good reason, not just because you like the idea of it.
breeders will agree, it is hard work and requires a lot of experience,
dedication and determination. You must also ensure you have secured a
safe, comfortable and excellent standard of continued life and care for
the kits you intend to sell on. Read more here...
If you intend on breeding rabbits for food, fur, or laboratory testing, you're on the wrong site - please leave and return to the 18th century from whence you came.
Why is Neutering a Good Idea?
There are actually many good reasons:
- Neutering reduces the likelihood of fighting in both male and female rabbits.
aggressive behaviour before sexual maturity by decreasing the need to
defend territory for a new family or to display defensive social
- Prevents Pregnancy - There are enough rabbits in the world. Do not
breed rabbits unless you are well educated on the topic and are
prepared to take on all the responsibilities that go with it.
Adoption & Re-homing
There are thousands of rabbits needing homes right now.
There are so many reasons why adopting a rabbit is much better than breeding more.
Learn more about adopting a rabbit.
- False Pregnancy Prevention - Does develop a decreased
appetite and have gastrointestinal disturbances, which are completely avoided if they are spayed.
- Decrease in urine spraying, especially from males. This does not smell nice and if left unchecked they will continue to spray out of habit.
- Health Benefits - Cancers; (uterine & mammary gland), uterine disease, testicular disease, abscesses from bite wounds and hematomas can all be prevented or drastically reduced if your rabbits are neutered.
Once neutering or spaying is done, you should allow enough time for their
hormone levels to settle down. This usually takes about three to four weeks.
There are many other reasons why you should neuter or spay your rabbits. Find out the other benefits of neutering...
Introducing New Bunny Rabbits Together - Bonding
Rabbits are much happier when they have a rabbit friend to share their life
with. While humans may provide much in the way of company and interaction, another rabbit can offer much more.
- They can groom places that they themselves can't reach and you may not do to an acceptable degree.
- Rabbits can have many individual relationships just like humans and you may find that your rabbit is more friendly and confident towards you once they have the security of a bonded companion.
- They are emotionally and physically healthier because their friend
offers constant companionship where you cannot.
- A good bond will last a lifetime. In the wild, rabbits tend to
live in male/female pairs and will mostly remain partnered for life.
- Rabbits don't care about what breed or size their companion is, but obviously putting an older rabbit with a teenager that is full of game play and energy might tick them off a bit.
When you are ready to introduce new bunny rabbits together you must do it gradually and under careful supervision, preferably in a space that
is new to both rabbits. Note the following:
- Keep the rabbits separate from one another but with the ability to see each other.
- If either rabbit is displaying aggressive behaviour such
as loud growling and biting, wait a while longer before trying the
- For two de-sexed rabbits, it can take anything
from a couple of days to a few weeks - it all depends on the rabbits'
- Rabbits that are introduced too soon may fight and take a long
time to recover from the trauma of it.
The good news is, you can actually aid the bonding process in the following ways:
- You can put both rabbits into a stressful situation. I don't mean dangerous, just mildly un-rabbit-like, such as taking them for a ride in a car (in separate carriers of course) but where they can see each other. The theory being that rabbits turn to each other for comfort.
- You can also copy the typical bonded behaviour of rabbits, such as grooming, or by stroking one or both rabbits as they sit
together, this should encourage them to want to lick each other.
- Most importantly you must remain relaxed and calm
or the rabbits will pick up on your nerves.
Learn ALOT more about bonding rabbits together here...
Bunny Rabbits Together Need Places to Hide
It can be very stressful for a rabbit if their companion starts to show aggressive behaviour.
sure your rabbit has a place or places where they can run and hide to get away from any anti-social behaviour.
Also remember that these places must have adequate shelter, water and food at all times too.
Learn more about shelter and hiding places...
If you are going away for any reason, such as a holiday or business trip out of town and you need to leave your rabbits for any length of time, make sure your rabbits are cared for by a responsible person that understands rabbits and their needs.
leave your rabbits unsupervised with another a cat or dog, even if you know they are good
friends with each other. They are animals at the end of the day, and they each have individual survival instincts that may clash in extraordinary circumstances.
Handling Rabbits & Companionship
While bunny rabbits together may be the ideal situation, you may only have one rabbit. This could be because one of a pair has died and you have decided, for what ever reason not to replace him or her.
It could be that you have rescued a mistreated rabbit and their behaviour is such that they reject or fight with other rabbits.
What ever the case may be if a rabbit is to be kept on their own you must provide him or her with
companionship by interacting with them every day.
- Rabbits that are well handled by people from a young age can learn to see humans as friends and companions.
that receive little handling at an early age, or rough handling at any
age, may find human contact distressing. This can be expressed as
fearfulness, escape behaviour and aggression.
If you handle
your rabbits gently, every day, from an early age they will get to know, love and trust you. They will start to see you as an important companion.
Generally rabbits don't like to be picked up. It's understandable really. In the wild, the only time they are picked up, apart from by their mother as babies, is when they are about to be eaten by a predator!
As the correct handling of rabbits is a vital part of the important interaction you have with your pet bunnies, and because they have such fragile spines that can be fatally fractured if not handled correctly, I have dedicated a whole page on the subject.
Have you got some stories or pictures of your bunny rabbits together? We'd love to see them.
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