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Top 3 Myths and Facts about Rabbits

Top 3 Myths and Facts about Rabbits

Top 3 Rabbit Facts and Myths

Rabbits are a pet that we often misunderstand. Despite their size being closer to a cat than a hamster, people frequently underestimate the responsibility and commitment of owning a rabbit.

Rabbits, like dogs or cats, each have their own personalities and complicated needs, but we sometimes unthinkingly accept false yet widely-held beliefs and myths about them. This means that, while our intentions are positive, we sometimes fail to give the best care to our pet rabbits.

With the help of Nick Jones, Pet Behaviourist and Brian Faulkner, Veterinary Expert, Petplan investigates some of the most common rabbit facts and myths. Find out the truth, with some expert advice here.

“Rabbits live short lives”

Do rabbits live short lives?

People often assume that it is less of a commitment to get a rabbit than a dog or cat, as it will live for considerably less time. This is a common underestimation of the responsibility you are taking on when getting a rabbit.

Rabbits are much longer-lived than we often assume. They live on average for 5 to 7 years and it is not unusual for rabbits to live for more than 10 years. We can see then that the life of a rabbit is actually more comparable to a dog’s, so ensure that you understand the responsibility you are taking on by adopting or purchasing one.

“Rabbits are happiest outdoors”

Are rabbits happiest outdoors?

We often think that because wild rabbits live outside, our domesticated rabbits must be happier outside too. However, it is better to consider what our rabbit’s needs are and where we are best able to provide these for them.

Rabbits need shelter, stimulation and security, as well as food and water of course. Shelter and security can be easier to provide indoors; however you may not have enough space to do this. You may also have another preventative factor, such as a cat or dog that doesn’t respond well to the rabbit.

We can see then that there is no universal answer to whether rabbits should be kept in or out of the home. The decision must be made according to your own circumstances.

Can rabbits live off carrots?

Perhaps because we’ve all seen Bugs Bunny eating them endlessly on television, people often assume that carrots are a great food to give to their rabbits. Unfortunately, this is a mistaken belief.

Carrots are root vegetables which rabbits do not eat as a part of their natural diet – this consists of hay and leafy green vegetables. Too many root vegetables can lead to diarrhoea, as it is hard for rabbits to digest the complex carbohydrates contained within them. Furthermore, carrots are very high in sugar, compared to a rabbit’s normal dietary staples. This is bad for their health and can easily lead to tooth decay.

If you do want to feed your carrots to your rabbit, you should only do so sparingly. Do not ever feed them whole carrots; instead try giving them a small slice as a sugary treat.

You must also remember to never feed carrots – even small slices – to a rabbit under 6 months old. Their diet should consist of only hay, water and pellets, as their digestive systems are not yet robust enough to digest anything more complex.

If you have any worries about your rabbit’s diet, you should consult a vet or expert who will be able to provide advice.

Do you have any myths about rabbits that you’d like to dispel? Let us know in the comments below.

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