Skip to main content

This is how long you can expect your new pet rabbit to live

Follow these tips to help your rabbit live a long and healthy life

Rabbits are pleasant house pets — a delight to care for when you know how to keep them happy and healthy. Like other beloved animals, a pet rabbit’s life expectancy depends on their breed, diet, and living conditions. What is a pet rabbit’s lifespan? Let’s dig a little deeper and answer some important questions, such as how long your adorable pet rabbit lives and how to extend their years.

Multicolored rabbit on carpet
NeONBRAND / Unsplash

How long do rabbits live?

Here’s a fun fact: The oldest rabbit that ever lived was 18 years old! By contrast, wild rabbits only live up to about three years, since many die very young. But there’s good news. In the absence of predators, pet rabbits have a life expectancy of eight to 12 years. Like dogs, larger breeds tend to have a shorter lifespan while smaller rabbits often live at least 10 years.

While there are more than 300 domestic rabbit breeds, some petite pet rabbit breeds include the Mini Lop, Mini Rex, Holland lop, English Angora, and Netherland dwarf. Other rabbits with long life expectancies include the American rabbit, Lionhead rabbit, and Harlequin rabbit. Of course, size alone doesn’t determine your pet rabbit’s life expectancy. A larger breed can live longer than a dwarf if you provide nutritious food, space to roam, regular social interactions, and mental stimulation.

Here are the important factors you need to know if you want to extend your pet rabbit’s life.

Woman holding black rabbit
Sincerely Media / Unsplash

How can I extend my pet rabbit’s life expectancy?

Diet

Food is a crucial part of your pet’s life. Television might have convinced us that rabbits just need pet store pellets to stay healthy, but this is simply not the truth. Bunnies require hay or grass to chew on, as this constitutes the bulk of their diet. All this hay also helps grind down their teeth, which continuously grow as they get older. Incorporate different vegetables and leaves when possible to make up for missed nutrients. Lastly, make spare use of store-bought pellets. When you do supplement with pellets, opt for high fiber brands.

Exercise

Exercise needs to be part of your pet’s daily routine, so as to maintain a healthy weight for your rabbit. You might not have enough room for a backyard pen or coop, but make sure you let your rabbit free so they can get their hops in. Supervise them indoors to ensure they don’t get into anything troublesome — both for their sake and yours! Keep an eye out for open wires, crown molding, carpeting, and papers. Rabbits love to chew, nibble, and bite, so it’s best to keep important items out of the way.

Play

Mental stimulation is fundamental to a pet rabbit’s long-life expectancy. Whether it be a paper castle, chew toys, or old cardboard boxes, your pet rabbit will enjoy the engagement.

Other types of enrichment include socialization, opportunity for wandering in a new play area, and obstacle courses. You may consider bringing home a companion for your little companion. It’s recommended to have one neutered male and one spayed female of similar ages for the best chances of a successful friendship. This brings us to the next factor.

Spay/neuter

Spayed or neutered rabbits tend to live longer than their counterparts. Unfortunately, rabbits can develop reproductive organ cancer and other diseases. Take them to the vet for these procedures to help increase their lifespan. Additionally, this makes it easier for you to introduce different rabbits to each other for optimal socialization.

Rabbit care

It’s no surprise that stressed pet rabbits lead shorter lives than comfortable coneys. If you have other pets or young children in the home, your rabbit may feel overwhelmed. This is especially true if your pet or young children tend to be rowdy with or around your rabbit. If this is the case, keep your pet rabbit safely tucked away in another room or a higher elevation where they can eat, observe, and nibble in peace.

Medical care

Visit your vet regularly so it’s easier for you and your pet’s doctor to notice when something is amiss. Routine physical exams also help prevent diseases through early diagnosis. This way, when there is a problem with your pet, you and your vet can figure out a way to treat it as soon as possible.

Woman holding white rabbit
William Daigneault / Unsplash

Do rabbits get lonely and can that affect lifespan?

We said this earlier but it bears repeating: rabbits are social. That means they want company, both of their own kind and yours. While it’s essential to engage with your bunny daily, you can’t spend all of your time around your fuzzball. Many small pets do better with a friend, and rabbits are no exception. Remember that stimulating their brain can have almost as much impact as feeding them nutritious food. Anytime you add a pet, you need to ensure that your accommodations are sufficient — rabbits suffer when stuffed into a too small cage. But doubling up on your furry friends will extend their lifespans and keep them happy and entertained.

The bottom line is this: Your pet rabbit’s life expectancy can reach the double digits easily with the right food, housing situation, and living conditions. Rabbits are communal, playful, and curious so regular socialization, toys, and a place to explore are necessary to keep them happy. Keep our tips in mind as you take the next step and prepare for your pet rabbit’s homecoming.

Editors' Recommendations

PawTracks
What fish can live with bettas? These are your best bets for fish buddies
These are the 6 fish that do well living with bettas
Blue betta fish staring at the camera

Betta fish are known for being territorial, feisty, rather combative, and therefore not great tank mates in general. This reputation, however, only holds true in particular situations and with certain fish friends. Male betta fish are aggressive, but only with other male bettas so it is important to never put two males in the same tank. It will lead to tail nipping and other aggressive behavior. So what fish can live with bettas?

Happily, there are several other fish that will keep your betta company in a safe and non-aggressive environment. Many colorful, friendly fish cohabitate well with bettas. This is our guide to finding the perfect fish companion (or companions) for your betta.

Read more
What you need to know about sugar gliders before you get an exotic pet
Follow these steps to set your sugar glider up for success
Sugar glider clings to their owner's thumb

Choosing a small pet involves almost as much deliberation as selecting a breed of dog. While there are a lot of factors to take into account, a sugar glider might turn out to be the perfect fit with their curious personality, attachment to your family, and fondness for pockets.

Like any exotic pet, gliders require expert care plus some dedicated research to choose the right breeder or pet store. But with the right prep, your new mammal will fit in perfectly and bond with the whole family. Keep reading to find out if sugar gliders are good pets.
What are sugar gliders?
Unlike most little pets, sugar gliders aren't rodents but marsupials. This gives you a few distinct advantages, as they behave differently from hamsters, guinea pigs, or gerbils. For starters, these are highly social creatures and they will bond with every member of the family and even other pets in the house. Because gliders don't smell like the animals your cats and dogs like to chase — rats, gophers, and bunnies, to name a few — many bigger pets can get along with your new friend. You'll need to introduce them carefully, but they can form lifelong attachments to each other.

Read more
Can you make a profit breeding your bearded dragon?
Does breeding your bearded dragon make you money? Read on to find out
Two bearded dragons sit on a rock

The first step in getting a new pet of any species is research. You want to make sure you're adopting or purchasing your pet from a reputable breeder who uses ethical sourcing techniques to acquire their animals. While veterinarians suggest that all pet parents spay and neuter their companions, some animals can be bred without causing distress to you or your pet.

One of the easiest pets to breed is the bearded dragon. With that being said, we recommend having experience under your belt before you embark on your journey as a breeder. Here's what you should know about breeding bearded dragons.
Is my beardie male or female?
When they're babies, it's really difficult to tell the sex of your lizard. Wait until he or she reaches maturity before making that determination, which is actually a good thing for breeding. You don't want to start your female reptile before 18 months for health reasons. In order to look at the little beast, you need to get comfortable enough to feel the underbelly, so give it a few days after bringing your beardie home.

Read more