Multiple Rabbits or Multiple Pets
Rabbits all have different personalities. Some may not mind a new rabbit friend; others will. There are, however, some general rules for introducing new bunnies.
oAlmost always, two or more spayed rabbits of any sex will adjust easily to one another and live peaceably. Male-male, male-female, and female-female combinations are all safe if both (or all) the rabbits are spayed.
oUnspayed male rabbits can almost never live peaceably together. They will be territorial and fight. It is best to keep unspayed males in separate hutches or areas of the house.
oA pair consisting of an unspayed male and unspayed female will almost always live peaceably together in the same hutch. However, they will soon have company. It is best to get both of them, or at least one of them, spayed in order to prevent pregnancies. *NOTE* a common myth in the rabbit world is that a male and female of different breeds will not mate. This is quite untrue.
oUnspayed female rabbits can usually live peaceably together. However they may occasionally have tiffs (little fights) during the warm months, when their hormones are going crazy.
Getting a pair of rabbits to live together (under the safe conditions listed above) is usually not hard. The pair of bunnies will bond, or become best friends. One rabbit will become depressed in the other's absence; if they are running loose, they will check up on one another. Getting a pair of bunnies to bond takes a little time, unless the two bunnies are introduced at a very young age. However, if you've had one rabbit for awhile and wish to introduce it to another (like I did withFlopsey and Mopsey), you will have to help the pair bond. Introduce them slowly and watch them when they are together. DO NOT place the new bunny in the territory of the old bunny; the old bunny will be angry and territorial. Rather, have an area for the new bunny and bring the old bunny to this area. (I placed Flopsey in Mopsey's cage when Mopsey first arrived. Confining the two bunnies to a small area seemed to do the trick.) Another option is to put both bunnies in an area that is unfamiliar to both of them, such as the empty bathtub. Car rides also work wonders when introducing bunnies.
Keep in mind that bonding will take a few weeks or even a month or two. The key is persistence and careful monitoring. Once the two bunnies do not show any jealousy or signs of aggression toward one another, they can be placed in a hutch together. Make sure to give the bunnies equal attention or jealousy will flare up again.
It is hard to introduce a third bunny to a pair of bonded bunnies. In fact, having a third bunny around may cause the bonded bunnies to fight viciously. Try car rides, strange places like the bathtub, etc. to introduce any additional bunnies. Be especially careful in monitoring all the bunnies.
If you have lots of bunnies (five or more), introducing an additional friend will probably cease to be a problem. Your bunnies will be used to having new playmates arrive.
If you have questions, suggestions, or tips on introducing bunnies to one another, pleasee-mail me. I will be happy to provide further information on the introductions of bunnies.
There is no definitive rule in determining whether or not your dog/cat/bird/etc will have a problem when you bring your rabbit into the home. In all my readings on rabbits, I have never read anything about rabbits having problems with birds, mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, or guinea pigs. If you introduce your rabbit to a small rodent or bird, watch them carefully at all times so that a fight does not result. Be especially careful that a bird doesn't try to peck at your rabbit's eyes.
Though reptiles and amphibians such as geckos, frogs, newts, toads, salamanders, etc. probably will not do any harm to your rabbit (or vice versa) it is best to keep them apart. Reptiles and amphibians may have certain germs (such as salmonella) that can be harmful or fatal to small mammals like rabbits.
Snakes are a danger to rabbits. Even if you own a snake that is not large enough to eat a rabbit, it may bite the rabbit (potentially fatal injury). If you own a snake that IS big enough to eat a rabbit, NEVER let them go near each other. As a precaution, always wash your hands after touching one of these two pets before touching the other. A rabbit who smells snake will be frightened; a snake who smells rabbit will try to bite you.
The potential conflicts are mainly centered around introducing your rabbit to a dog or cat, since dogs and cats are the most common household pets. (Since snakes, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and rodents are almost always confined to a cage, they are considered less of a danger to pet rabbits--cats and dogs, who are most often free to roam in the house and/or yard, have a greater chance of coming in contact with a pet rabbit.)
In some cases, rabbits and cats or rabbits and dogs can become best friends; in other cases, they become worst enemies. If your dog is trained to attack or your cat is allowed to hunt outdoors, it is best to keep them apart from your rabbit. Only you can judge whether or not it is a good idea to introduce your cat or dog to your rabbit. When they are getting to know each other, watch them carefully and separate them at the first sign of aggression. NEVER force your animals to be friends by putting them together after they have shown signs of aggression.
For any questions, comments, or suggestions on this issue, feel free toe-mail me. Or, visit commercial rabbit sites, which will go more in depth on the subject.
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