Rabbits are cute, fluffy, and make for great pets. Similarly to a hamster, they can also be great ways of teaching your kids responsibilities. You may have heard that rabbits do not have a very long life span and in this article, we are going to address that. So, exactly how long do rabbits live?
The difference between how long a wild rabbit and a domestic pet rabbit can live is significantly different. The average lifespan of a wild rabbit is 1 to 2 years and the average lifespan of a pet rabbit is 8 to 12 years. There are a lot of contributing factors to both of these average life spans.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the main contributing factors to why rabbits in the wild and rabbits that are domesticated pets have the lifespans that they do. We are also going to touch on, briefly, how to properly care for your rabbit so that they can live longer. So, for everything you need to know, keep reading.
How Long Do Wild Rabbits Live
First, we are going to talk about wild rabbits because there is a significant difference between the lifespan of a wild rabbit and domestic pet rabbits.
A wild rabbit can expect to live a short life of 1 to 2 years. That is pretty short but there are a lot of factors that contribute to why wild rabbits have such a short lifespan.
Why Do Wild Rabbits Have A Short Lifespan?
I thought that it was important to include this section because after reading that rabbits in the wild don’t live for very long, I am sure you are wondering what contributes to their short lifespan. Here are a few reasons why wild rabbits do not live long.
- Food supply: This is pretty much straightforward. Rabbits are not the strongest of species so they do not do well when they have competition for food. Also, in some regions, food scarcity is a real struggle for small animals.
- Animal predators: Again, this is pretty straightforward but out in the wild, rabbits have to navigate their territories with the constant fear that there is a predator nearby ready to pounce on them. Unfortunately, this is one of the main contributors to the short lifespan of a wild rabbit.
- Disease: Wild rabbits do not have much protection against diseases. These diseases can range between a variety of things but one of the most common diseases they pick up is from flies and parasites.
- Human predators: This is something that we have to add to this list and it is unfortunate but rabbits are seen as food in many countries. In some countries, rabbits are used for their fur and their meat, particularly in cold regions.
That pretty much wraps it up for this section.
How Long Do Pet Rabbits Live?
In this section, we are going to talk about pet rabbits and how long they live. It is important to remember that we are often referring to rabbits that are well looked after. So, we will often mention this in this section.
A well looked after pet rabbit can live Up to 12 years. With that said, they can expect to live for 9 years on average. I know that is a significant jump up from the two years that a wild rabbit can expect to live. It is important to remember that these numbers will drop significantly if you do not take proper care of your rabbit.
The Most Common Ways Pet Rabbits Die
I know most of us don’t want to read about this kind of stuff and trust me, most writers don’t want to write about it either but in an article like this, it is important for us to mention the most common ways in which pet rabbits die.
The goal of this section is to help people whether it be you, or someone else who has pet rabbits to have a better understanding of what they should look out for when they own a rabbit. With all of that being said, here are the most common ways in which pet rabbits pass away
- Flystrike: This is where the rabbit gets infected with parasites. The parasites are left on/in the rabbits by flies. Flystrike is more common in animals with wooly furs such as sheep and rabbits.
- Heart attacks: Most of us have been taught from a very young age that rabbits scare easily. They also tend to get more scared than most other animals. If they are given big enough fright they can have a heart attack. In fact, it is one of the most common ways that a pet rabbit will die. so, if you have dogs that bark loud, you might want to get them to turn it down a bit.
- Old age: This one is pretty self-explanatory but also important. If you have looked after your rabbit well, there still needs to come a time when the rabbit will pass away. If your rabbit has made it anywhere between 7 or more years, well done, you have looked after the rabbit well.
- Malnourishment: Most rabbits are small and fluffy. Sometimes this fluff can make it hard for us to tell how skinny our rabbits are. This makes it for you to know when to change your feeding patterns. Always try and see how skinny your rabbit is. Also, in this article, we will briefly touch on what you should be feeding your rabbit.
How To Properly Care For Your Pet Rabbit So They Can Live Longer
We can think of this section as a little bit of a bonus in this article. It is my way of saying thank you for reading the article. In this section, we are going to briefly touch on certain ways that you can properly care for your rabbit so that it lives longer. Let’s get into it.
Make Sure Your House Is Safe
Here is a list of things that you can do to make sure that your home is bunny proof, in other words, make your home safe for your bunny.
- Use baby gates to secure an area for the rabbit.
- Use wire to make sure the gaps in the gate are small enough to prevent the rabbit from getting through.
- In the area of your home where the rabbit stays, use rubber padding on furniture with sharp edges.
- Make sure that they cannot get out of the house or yard on their own.
Constantly Replace Hay
Disease Is a contributing factor to why rabbits may not live up to their full lifespan. So, it is important for you to constantly replenish old hay with fresh hay. This is because old hay has a higher chance of carrying certain parasites and diseases.
Feed Your Rabbit Properly
In this article, we mentioned that malnourishment is one of the most common ways in which pet rabbits die. This means that you want to be feeding your rabbit enough food every day. Make sure that your rabbit has a constant supply of hay, fresh vegetables, and water.
Take Your Rabbits For Regular Checkups
Just as humans need to go for regular checkups at the doctor, and just like humans have to make regular visits to the dentist, you should be taking your pet rabbit to the vet at least once every 6 months. I know this is hard for some people to do but if you can, you should definitely do it.
A vet will be able to spot any problems that the rabbit might have before it is too late.
Rabbits are incredible. When you think about it, they live in almost all climates and have adapted themselves to some of the more extreme climates in the Northern hemisphere. That is what makes it particularly strange when you think about how their life spans can be so short.
If you have a pet rabbit, the best thing you can do is to properly take care of it and when the day comes that the rabbit passes away, hopefully, you can tell yourself that you did your best to properly care for the rabbit.