If you have pet rabbits, you might be looking for ways to help them feel at ease and enjoy their time by providing them with companions. So, do rabbits need a friend?
Rabbits are social creatures by nature, so you’re better off keeping them in groups. They prefer living in the company of other rabbits because it provides them with comfort and a sense of security.
If you want to find out more about keeping multiple rabbits and how to encourage them to bond together, this guide will have you covered with everything you need to know!
In nature, rabbits have evolved to live in small communities, so they’re quite social by nature.
Rabbits seek peace and security in their companions as living in groups allows them to warn each other about dangerous predators.
They also reproduce quickly, so it’s natural to have a large family around them.
Since they enjoy living in groups, a group of rabbits actually go by a variety of names, including “nest”, “colony”, “drove”, “warren”, and more recently “fluffle”.
Despite the differences between wild and domesticated rabbits, they both have the same psychological response and innate need for companionship.
With that being said, the wrong combination of rabbits, or not introducing them properly could create some sparks of aggression.
Rabbits can live in an incredibly vast community with over 20 or more rabbits. However, the larger the group of rabbits, the larger and more open their living space should be.
This makes the number of pet rabbits limited to how big your house (or their living area) is.
Luckily, you can still keep your rabbits comfortable and happy by having a relatively smaller group of only 3 to 4 rabbits.
Technically, you can have 2 or more male rabbits living together. However, you should only attempt this pairing if you have no other options because it’s often one of the least successful combinations.
This is because rabbits of the same sex can show signs of hormone-driven aggression toward each other.
In fact, female rabbits can be even more aggressive than males, so this combination is also quite hard to keep, especially if you’re a first-timer.
The short answer to this question is yes. Rabbits can benefit greatly from having a mate to bond and interact with.
Rabbits are naturally playful and like to hang out with other rabbits, so providing your pet with a companion can greatly boost their mood and make them feel happier.
As previously established, male-male and female-female pairs can work but they’re not ideal when compared to male-female pairs.
Of course, keeping a male and female together can result in a lot of bunnies if they’re not neutered, so you have to keep that in mind.
Although rabbits enjoy living in groups, you can still have only one rabbit if you don’t have enough space to care for two.
With that being said, a single rabbit will still require a lot of attention and playtime to make up for their loneliness when you’re not around.
In other words, caring for a male-female pair of rabbits is somewhat easier than caring for a single one.
If you’re going to start with one rabbit, picking a male one is recommended because they’re less aggressive than females. Yet, you should still plan to provide them with a female companion whenever possible.
Despite their cute and fluffy looks, rabbits are extremely territorial, especially in the wild. They have a natural instinct to defend their territory and protect it from other rabbits, which often leads to aggression.
Unfortunately, domesticated rabbits are no exception to this rule. They can also get protective of their play areas and toys, so it’s important to introduce rabbits to each other on neutral ground.
However, if your dog and cat are well-mannered, trained, and naturally tranquil, the combination can work perfectly.
Still, while introducing a rabbit to other pets, you should keep an eye out for any potential aggression (at least for a few days).
Rabbits will often display signs of dominance over each other. The most popular show of dominance is mounting and grooming.
A rabbit may also establish a hierarchy by chasing less dominant rabbits or bowing to a more dominant one.
Dominance signs are fine as long as they’re harmless. However, if you notice that competition for the hierarchy is developing into a fight, you might need to break it off and separate the two rabbits.
Now that you know more about rabbits’ behavior around each other, here are some essential tips to help you encourage the bond between your rabbits:
To avoid exposing a healthy rabbit to an unhealthy one, you have each rabbit checked in by the vet before letting them meet.
You should also make sure that the two of them are healthy and aren’t suffering from any health conditions that could endanger their well-being while playing with other rabbits.
As previously established, rabbits are quick breeders. For that reason, if you don’t intend to breed your rabbits, it’s usually best that you neuter them.
While the surgical procedure can cause slight discomfort while recovering, it’s perfectly safe and rabbits can recover fully within 7 to 10 days.
Neutering also helps with aggression, so you should consider the procedure even if you have two males or two females.
To avoid any territorial tendencies from clouding a rabbit’s judgment, you should have the two rabbits meet each other in a new place together.
The neutral ground also encourages the first rabbit to interact with the new one because it won’t see the other as an intruder.
Besides the neutral ground, you should provide your new rabbit with its own toys and food so that the two rabbits don’t feel the need to protect their belongings.
Introducing rabbits to each other can take some time, so you have to be patient and avoid rushing things by forcing the two rabbits to cohabit.
Allow the rabbits a few days of regular interaction before slowly transitioning their meeting area to where you keep your rabbits.
It’s perfectly natural for rabbits to show signs of dominance and hierarchy while interacting. In fact, this is part of their harmless bonding rituals and you don’t have to worry about it.
However, these signs could be somewhat similar to fighting, especially for the untrained eye. For that reason, you need to familiarize yourself with secondary signs of aggression, such as:
- Baring their teeth
- Kicking each other and Thumbing the ground loudly with their hind legs
- Raising their front paws up as if they’re boxing
If you notice any of these signs, you need to intervene immediately.
This marks the end of today’s guide that shows you the importance of keeping rabbits in the company of each other.
As you can see, rabbits prefer living in groups or pairs because it makes them feel safer and provides them with a chance to play and interact with one another.
Despite that, rabbits can easily get territorial, so you have to be vigilant for aggression while introducing new rabbits to each other.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.