As part of our work I keep a very close eye on classifieds advertising rabbits, in case there are examples of some urgent cases that we can offer help with. Help isnâ€™t always to assist with rehoming. We have had various cases where the reason for rehoming has been a misunderstanding about rabbit behaviour, and we often step in to offer alternatives.
One of the reasons I see most often is probably the biggest misconception of them all: the rabbit being rehomed is showing aggression to their other rabbits and thus gets advertised as â€œmust be kept aloneâ€. Iâ€™ve even seen this description given within the Pet Adoption section in Pets At Home (various times!).
Rabbits are social animals, and need companionship. They evolved in groups, and it is always recommended they have company of their own kind (unless they are to become part of your family and live in your home with regular exercise and contact with yourself). I havenâ€™t yet found a rabbit that truly wants to be on their own. The real issue with rabbits showing this form of aggression is usually about something else, and is almost always something that can be resolved.
My first port of call would always be to ensure that all the rabbits are neutered. You can read more about this in one of our earlier blogs, but Neutered rabbits are less aggressive and territorial, and are more easily litter-trained if you want to keep your pet indoors as a house rabbit. Most females become territorial and aggressive from around 4 â€“ 6 months old, may growl or scratch their owners, and may well attack other rabbits (even siblings). Neutering reduces and sometimes eliminates these behavioural problems. Itâ€™s a win all round.
Another major misconception is the Guinea Pig buddy. Rabbits and Guinea Pigs donâ€™t work well as a couple. Although some rabbit-guinea pig pairs will appear to get on well, and not fight the majority of cases arenâ€™t as lucky. Their dietary requirements are actually quite different. And ultimately they are completely different species, and your rabbit is unlikely to get the level of interaction and companionship they need.