Rabbits are innately social animals that greatly benefit from having partners. Adding a second rabbit to your rabbit’s life might just be the best thing for your furry friend. Rabbits crave companionship, and although owners can provide love and amity, it’s not always enough to keep rabbits happy. There are many benefits to introducing a second rabbit into your family. Below, we’ve compiled a list of nine good reasons you should go ahead and get that second bunny.
Owners should get a second pet rabbit because:
- Rabbits With Friends Are Happy Bunnies
- Another rabbit can curb depression
- Two rabbits get healthy faster
- Two rabbits are less trouble than one
- Paired rabbits require less attention
- Benefits of bunnies grooming one another
- Two rabbits better relate to their owners than one
- Two rabbits are just as easy to care for as one
- Getting another rabbit can save a life
A second rabbit can result in a little extra work, but choosing the right companion to encourage bonding between two rabbits can result in happier and more rewarding lives for both pets.
Here are nine good reasons why you should get a second rabbit:
1. Rabbits With Friends Are Happy Bunnies
In the wild, rabbits have large families. Over a hundred rabbits will live together and provide emotional support for one another. Rabbits will look for food, protect one another from enemies, and support each other in every way possible like a well-functioning family.
Adding a companion rabbit to your home allows both bunnies to live happier. more fulfilling lives. Once rabbits have bonded with one another, they tend to do everything together. Bonding fulfills a rabbit’s basic need for companionship, making them much happier than a rabbit that has no rabbit friends.
Even though your bunny is domesticated and likely comes from a long domestication line, he still has this innate need for companionship. You may fill some of this void, but what happens when you go to work or the store? In this case, your bunny is left alone and becomes depressed and out of sorts.
2. Another Rabbit Can Curb Depression
Depression is quite common among lone rabbits. Especially rabbits that are kept solely outdoors. Indoor rabbits can also be affected by depression as well, though.
NOTE: It’s very important to keep an eye on your bunny to ensure they are happy. Once your bunny begins showing signs of depression, he will likely continue to get worse and can be difficult to stop without professional intervention.
Signs of depression in rabbits include:
- Tucked up
- Chins tucked in
- Lack of nose twitching
- Sitting around all day
- Loss of interest in food
- Loss of interest in grooming
- May resort to aggressive behaviors
Rabbits can die from depression, especially after the loss of a bonded partner. The deterioration of a rabbit’s mental health will greatly affect their physical health as well, so it’s important to be proactive and provide a friend for your pet.
How to Prevent/Cure Depression in Your Rabbit
Luckily, depression can be easily cured by adding another bunny to your home. If your rabbit has been experiencing depression for some time, there could be other factors causing the depression.
Factors that often cause depression in rabbits include:
- Too small of an enclosure
- Not enough toys to play with
- A change in routine
Rabbits frequently become depressed as a result of loneliness or boredom. Pairing your rabbit with another lowers your rabbit’s level of anxiety and helps keep him entertained throughout the day. Common signs of loneliness or boredom in rabbits include thumping, lethargy, hiding, and a non-twitching noise.
Paired rabbits almost never show signs of depression because they are never lonely. They always have another bunny to keep them entertained and ease their anxiety. Paired rabbits look out for one another, like rabbits in warrens do in the wild.
3. Two Rabbits Get Healthy Faster
Two bunnies are often healthier than one because they have each other for emotional support. If one bunny gets sick, the other will offer love and support to help them feel better. Emotional support is just as important as treatment when it comes to feeling better.
NOTE: Never separate a bonded pair of bunnies just because one is sick. Separating bonded rabbits can add an extra layer of stress and negatively affect the health of the afflicted rabbit.
If your rabbit must go to the hospital, having a furry friend to go with makes him feel more at ease. Bonded rabbits that go to the hospital together even when just one is sick, oftentimes adjust better to this unfamiliar environment and heal faster than a rabbit that has not been paired.
4. Two Rabbits Are Less Trouble Than One
Bored bunnies are often mischievous bunnies. Rabbits are naturally curious, and when they get bored, they go exploring. It is normal for a rabbit to dig and chew on things, but a bored rabbit is much more persistent with these behaviors.
Bored rabbits will often display behaviors such as:
- Persistent chewing/digging at furniture
- Growling at you when you shoo them away from furniture
- Snapping at you when you shoo them away
- Hyperactivity that can result in the destruction of their home
When rabbits are paired, they are much less likely to become bored. Most paired rabbits spend a significant portion of the day playing with their friend and doing everything together. Although Bonded pairs may cause some mischief together, any damage is often much less than an angered or bored lone rabbit would cause.
5. Paired Rabbits Require Less Attention
If you own only one rabbit, you may notice that you are your rabbit’s sole source of companionship. It is your job to pay close attention to your rabbit and fulfill their need for socialization. You should expect to devote
Lone rabbits require more time and attention from their owners. Since solitary rabbits tend to be more lonely, it may benefit all parties to resolve this loneliness by adding new toys or providding a larger enclosure.
Now we know that you love spending time with your bunny, but no matter how much time you invest, it will never be enough for him. Even if it feels like all your attention is on them 24/7.
Paired rabbits require much less attention and do everything together, including:
Giving your rabbit a friend means you never have to worry if your bunny is lonely ever again. Paired rabbits also tend to be less destructive, so you don’t have to constantly keep an eye on your possessions to make sure they aren’t chewing on them.
6. Benefits of Bunnies Grooming One Another
Rabbits are meticulous groomers and will groom themselves multiple times throughout the day. Two bunnies that have been paired together will also groom one another.
Paired bunnies groom each other in order to:
- Give them the feeling of safety
- Help regulate their body temperatures
- Help pass the time when they are bored
- Help relieve stress and anxiety
- Feel comforted
- Show hierarchy between rabbits
Rabbits neutralize their scent by grooming, making them feel safer against predators. While there are likely no predators in your home, rabbits feel safe while being groomed.
Bunnies do not sweat, so they rely on grooming to shed excess hair and cool them off. Grooming helps relieve a rabbit’s anxiety and is almost like receiving a hug from another bunny. In short, a bunny grooming another bunny helps with both rabbit’s physical and mental health.
Additionally, subservient bunnies will groom the more dominant bunny whenever the dominant bunny demands it. This is an easy way to learn who’s in charge.
If Rabbits Groom Each other, Do I Still Need to Groom Them?
Even though rabbits groom themselves and each other, they still need your grooming assistance. Rabbits are incapable of vomiting, so any hair they ingest can result in gastrointestinal blockages. Short-haired rabbits should be groomed at least twice a week, while long-haired rabbits may need grooming every day.
Overgrooming can occur as well amongst your bunnies and should be curbed as much as possible. Fur pulling can result from boredom or aggression. Fur pulling is less likely amongst paired rabbits, and they are also less likely to be bored and/or stressed.
7. Two Rabbits Better Relate to Their Owners Than One
If you’re worried your bond with your rabbit will be in jeopardy by introducing a second bunny, don’t be. Often, introducing a second rabbit to your family results in better bonding between you and your rabbits.
Rabbits are emotionally at peace. Having a second bunny to bond with leaves them less stressed, more entertained, and happier overall. A happy bunny is much more likely to want to play and bond with you than an emotionally distressed one.
You’ll also get to bond with two rabbits instead of one! Both will want to play and bond with you, not just your original bunny, resulting in more bunny loving for you!
8. Two Rabbits Are Just as Easy to Care For As One
Aren’t two rabbits double the work? You may think two rabbits involve double the supplies and, therefore money, but you would be wrong.
We’ve already discussed that two rabbits require less attention than one, but did you know that you don’t have to buy extra stuff for your new rabbit? Sure, you may have to buy more food more often, but that’s about the only thing.
Successfully paired rabbits will do everything together including:
Paired rabbits will eat from the same dish and sleep in the same bed. No need to go out and buy more supplies; they will share everything.
Vet bills will rise with an additional bunny, but two rabbits tend to be happier and healthier than one, so your overall medical expenses could be reduced long term.
9. Getting Another Rabbit Can Save a Life
If your rabbit is lonely and in the depths of depression, getting them a friend could save his life. Did you know you could also be saving the other rabbit’s life too?
Adopting your rabbit from a shelter as your rabbit’s new companion is an awarding experience for both you and your new rabbit. The new rabbit could possibly be suffering from loneliness as well, making this pairing a lifesaving experience for both.
Some shelters even allow you to bring your rabbit in when picking out your new one. This allows you to see which rabbit your bunny is likely to successfully pair with. Let him go on little “bunny dates” and have him help choose a new best friend instead of you doing all the work.
If you don’t currently own a rabbit, many shelters have bunnies already paired up for adoption. Adopting both rabbits is likely a must but will keep your furry friends less anxious and happy in their new home.
Adopting two bunnies that have already paired will also save you the trouble of trying to pair your rabbit at home.
Do All Rabbits Really Benefit from A Second Rabbit?
Although almost all rabbits benefit from a second rabbit, there are always exceptions. Sick rabbits may not be able to handle the stress of meeting a new rabbit. Bunnies that are not neutered may be too aggressive to properly bond with another rabbit.
Rabbits that won’t benefit from a friend include:
- Rabbits that are not neutered
- This is easily fixed by neutering your pet though
- Rabbits that are not neutered but are too old to get neutered
- Rabbits that are sick (not from loneliness)
If you are unsure if your rabbit is one of the select few who won’t benefit from a companion, ask your vet for advice.
How Many Rabbits Should You Keep Together?
In most circumstances, owners should keep two rabbits together at one time. Generally, neutered males and spayed females bond best together but any rabbit can be bonded as long as it is fixed. While two rabbits are often ideal for the owner, rabbits are social animals and thrive in large groups if given enough space.
Really, owners can have as many rabbits as you desire since they are used to living in warrens filled with hundreds of other bunnies. Make sure each bunny has enough space to succeed. Generally, each rabbit should have at least 12 square feet of space, preferably more to run around and stretch out.
Is Three A Good Number of Rabbits?
Your rabbit will bond with its pair so intensely that when one rabbit dies, the other will become so overcome with sadness that they can die. Introducing a new rabbit for them to pair with afterward can help reverse this loneliness.
However, if you want to mitigate your rabbits suffering after one dies, introduce a third one to the group. This way, when one dies the two bunnies left still have a companion and won’t be so lonely.
A third rabbit will likely not add any extra real costs to you, besides medical, and will likely add happiness to your other rabbits’ lives. So, adding a third rabbit can be extremely beneficial to keep each bunny healthy, even after the loss of a friend.
What Is the Best Combo for Rabbit Bonding?
The best rabbits to bond together are a spayed female and a neutered male. Each should be fixed so that you don’t have the chance of accidental bunnies. But usually, a male and a female will pair together quite well in a long-term loving relationship.
If you cannot get a neutered male and female, try to get a pair from the same litter. Two females or two males are more likely to get along if they are from the same litter.
Two Female Rabbits Mix Well
Females can be extremely territorial, especially when not spayed. Although introducing them slowly can result in a fine pairing, your best chance at success is pairing from the same litter since the rabbits are already familiar with one another.
Male Rabbits Don’t Belong Together
Two males do not often get along. For this to work, they both must be neutered, and one needs to be more submissive than the other. The best chance of successfully pairing males is when they are from the same litter.
Brothers from the same litter who are not neutered will often not get along. These rabbits should never be paired because they may become aggressive towards one another to the point of injury.
At What Age Should Rabbits Be Paired?
Similarly aged adults can get along as well. If they are both neutered, you should see minimal problems in getting them to bond since they are at the same stage in life as each other.
The younger the better when it comes to introducing two rabbits to one another. Rabbits under the age of four months old almost never fight. These rabbits will continue to stay bonded even if you neuter both of them.
Try not to introduce a baby rabbit to an adult rabbit. The adult rabbit will likely bully the younger one, who will annoy the adult bunny with their high amounts of energy.
Although there is the chance that they may get along, as the younger bunny matures, its personality will change which can result in the two rabbits not getting along anymore.
Can Two Different Breeds of Rabbits Bond?
Any breed of rabbit can get along. Rabbits can understand each other and don’t care what the other bunny looks like as long as they are compatible. However, bigger breeds of rabbits shouldn’t be paired with smaller breeds because the bigger one may injure the smaller one accidentally, even if they bond.
While significant size differences may affect your rabbits’ ability to bond safely, smaller rabbits can bond with rabbits that are moderately larger in size.
Can My Rabbit Bond with A Guinea Pig?
Your bunny may get along with other animals, but they will not likely be as well understood or comforted by guinea pigs as other rabbits. The best combo for a pair is a rabbit and another rabbit.
Many people believe that guinea pigs make good pairs for rabbits, but this is not true for several reasons.
- They speak a different language
- Behave differently
- Rabbits can cause diseases in guinea pigs
- They have different nutritional requirements
If your rabbit can not effectively communicate with its counterpart, the two are not going to pair well. Also, rabbits are much stronger and can seriously harm guinea pigs either by accident or on purpose.
Not to mention that the two would be harder for you to care for because they each have different diets that contradict one another, and your rabbit can make its new friend very sick.
Overall, pairing your rabbit with a guinea pig will result in more work for you and not actually solve your rabbit’s loneliness problem due to improper communication between the two species.
How Do I Introduce A Second Rabbit?
Rabbits need social interactions to live happy and healthy lives, so you may think that they would easily accept any bunny you bring home. This is however not true.
Rabbits, even bunnies that are compatible, need an adjustment period before they will happily pair with another rabbit.
Follow these simple steps to ensure a safe and successful rabbit introduction:
- Ensure both bunnies are neutered
- Set up two different enclosures (or separate rooms)
- Introduce their scent
- Allow them to see one another without contact
- Bring them close together with a barrier still present
- Watch for signs of bonding
- Allow them to meet on neutral ground
Make Sure Your Rabbits Are Spayed or Neutered
Spayed or neutered rabbits are more likely to pair successfully than rabbits that have not been fixed. Fixed rabbits are much less territorial, meaning they are more open to new bunnies in their home.
Set Up Safe Places
You can’t just immediately expose your rabbits to one another. They need their own areas at first to feel safe and adjust. You can accomplish this by putting them in separate cages if they are outdoor pets or putting them in different rooms if they are indoor bunnies.
A bunny’s safe place should include:
- Food bowls
- Tunnels to hide in
- Comfy bedding area
- Bunny safe toys to keep from boredom
Ensuring both bunnies feel comfortable in the new home and with you will allow for an easier introduction to one another later.
Introduce the New Rabbit’s Scent
Like dogs, rabbits use their sense of smell to meet one another. Before meeting or even seeing one another, swap your rabbits beddings or toys so that they can smell each other in a contactless way.
If your bunnies are indoor bunnies, you can even swap the rooms they are staying in so that they come accustomed to the smell of the other rabbit. Make sure they do not see you with the other rabbit while you are swapping them though, let them get used to one another’s scent first.
If your rabbits are outdoors, have their hutches face one another so that they can see each other but not have to be in direct contact. If your bunnies are indoors, put them in rooms next to one another and separate them with a baby gate.
Look to Bring Them Together by The Barrier
Your bunnies will most likely not want to meet each other through the barrier at first. Coaxing them with food on either side of the barrier brings them closer to one another. This allows them to become used to eating together as well.
The closer they get before meeting, the more comfortable they become with one another.
Watch for Signs of Bonding
Before you go ahead and take the barrier away, make sure your two rabbits are beginning to bond.
Signs to let you know your rabbits are getting comfortable with one another are:
- Lying down by one another
- Grooming by one another
- Ignoring the other rabbit
- This means they trust the other rabbit enough to let their guard down
- Falling asleep by each other
Bonding can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It all depends on your rabbits’ personalities, so be patient with them.
Allow Rabbits to Meet on Neutral Ground
Rabbits are very territorial. Therefore, you do not want to introduce a new rabbit to another rabbit’s territory. If you can, set up a neutral ground for them to meet.
Neutral ground for rabbits should include:
- Places to hide
- Cardboard boxes
- Treats scattered around
Make sure that the places to hide are open on both ends to allow the hiding rabbit to escape from the other one if they feel threatened. The treats will help the rabbits associate each other with yummy food.
Place each rabbit at either end of the neutral ground looking at one another. This allows them to decide whether they are ready to meet the new bunny right away or keep their distance for a bit.
What If My Rabbits Start Fighting?
Rabbits that are initially meeting may become hostile towards one another despite your best efforts. The best way to break up a rabbit fight is to distract them somehow. The best way to distract them is to spray them with water.
Once they’ve been sprayed with the water, they will likely begin grooming themselves and not try fighting again. However, there is the chance that they begin to fight again. If this is the case, spray them with water to get them to stop and then separate them again and try introducing them another day.