Whether you are someone who enjoys keeping exotic pets such as squirrels or you are someone who wants to make sure that your pet rabbit is going to be fine in its home outside, there may come a time when you want to know how well rabbits and squirrels get along.
Both animals live in relatively similar environments, even if one lives in the trees and the other tends to burrow in the ground. By all accounts, squirrels and rabbits are quite similar animals.
They are both quick on their feet and they are both naturally prey animals. They are both herbivores and they can both be domesticated, although it is notably harder for squirrels to be domesticated. You may not realize it at first, but these animals lead strikingly similar lives.
Despite this, there is very little actual footage of the animals interacting with each other. After all, squirrels mainly spend their time in trees and darting across the branches, only occasionally going down to forage for nuts that have fallen from those trees, while rabbits often stay underground in their burrows, only coming out to forage for their greens.
Because of these opposite habitats, even if squirrels and rabbits live in the same environment, they rarely have the time to interact.
But, what happens on the off-chance that they do interact? Of course, there are always going to be situations where one animal is in a territorial mood and chases off the other, but in reality, squirrels and rabbits can get along surprisingly well.
There has even been footage of wild squirrels and rabbits seemingly playing games with each other, as if they could be friends.
What Would Happen If They Met?
The truth is that any encounter between a fully wild squirrel and a fully wild rabbit is going to be a relatively quick encounter. Both animals have a tendency to be skittish, as all prey animals should be.
One may be more inquisitive than the other, but if one of the animals approaches too fast, then it is going to mean that the other one may feel intimidated and run back to its home.
There is a chance that, depending on the location of where the rabbit and squirrel would meet, that the rabbit would be too close to its den to feel comfortable with the squirrel around.
Likewise, there could also be a situation where the rabbit is encroaching too close to a squirrel’s stash of food for the winter.
In cases such as these, where one party is too close to something that the other party holds dear, then there’s a good chance that the situation is going to turn territorial. This is just one of the many unfortunate facets of wildlife.
But what about if a squirrel approaches a domesticated rabbit? There’s a good chance that a domesticated rabbit, one that has not felt the fear of predators chasing it, is going to be a lot more open to investigating the squirrel.
Similarly, the squirrel is going to be interested in looking at the rabbit’s hutch, as the squirrel has likely never seen something like that before.
Here, the rabbit would probably want to sniff the squirrel as the squirrel investigates the hutch. Depending on the attitude of the rabbit, the rabbit may see the squirrel as a threat and begin trying to scare the squirrel away. If the rabbit is feeling calmer and more curious, it may let the squirrel investigate.
The squirrel will likely investigate the hutch of the rabbit, and depending on the layout of the hutch, be interested in the rabbit’s food and water. Their diets are similar, and the squirrel would have no reason to go after the rabbit.
If the rabbit is relatively young in age, there’s an even greater chance that the rabbit will be more than happy to let the squirrel investigate the hutch, as younger rabbits are more likely to adapt to the idea of a new animal being friendly.
Adult rabbits, on the other hand, could interact a bit differently with a squirrel in its hutch. An excited adult rabbit may hop around its hutch excitedly, curious about its new friend.
This hopping may come across as hostile toward a squirrel who has never seen a rabbit before, and if the squirrel interprets this behavior as such, the squirrel may attack back in response.
However, with an adult rabbit, there’s a better chance it would try and fend off its hutch before the squirrel even got close to it, let alone get within jumping distance of the squirrel.
Learn more ways that rabbits communicate to keep up with how they are feeling.
What About Raising Young Ones Together?
Similar to how young children are more open to new experiences, both young squirrels and young rabbits are going to be more open to the idea of interacting with each other.
In fact, assuming that both the squirrel and the rabbit are not carrying any pathogens that can cross species, they can easily be in the same cage together without any consequence. Rabbits and squirrels may even snuggle up to each other if they have been raised together as littermates.
A young rabbit and young squirrel may take a little bit of time to get to know each other. If the young squirrel is also a pet of yours and not a wild animal that is exploring the land around its home, then you can go about introducing it to the rabbit in the same way you would introduce a new rabbit to your current one.
Your rabbit isn’t going to know what a squirrel is, it will simply think you are introducing a strange type of rabbit into its home.
With proper introduction techniques, you can easily create a situation where a rabbit and squirrel see themselves as part of a pack. Both rabbits and squirrels are somewhat social creatures, meaning that this is the kind of bond that they can thrive off of.
There aren’t too many animals in the relationship to keep track of, and there is always a creature to offer company if company is needed.
Since both squirrels and rabbits are fairly active creatures, they may even take turns playing with each other. You may want to keep an eye on them when they first start to do this, as both squirrels and rabbits won’t know how the other plays, so there is always room for misinterpretation that you should be mindful of.
However, if the two animals seem to be getting along and seem to be reading each other’s playfulness accurately, then you can expect these two animals to form a strong bond.
While these animals might live on opposite sides of the same environment of a backyard forest, assuming that they are introduced properly and that they have the time and mindset to get to know each other, you may come to find that your rabbit is best friends with a squirrel.
As long as you keep an eye on them, rabbits and squirrels can get along just as well as littermates can, meaning that your rabbit can easily have a furry companion of its own for the rest of its rabbit life.
If you introduce the animals to each other from a young enough age, there’s even a very good chance that you will come across them snuggling up together, especially during the colder months of the year.
If you have cats, learn how to keep your cats away from your rabbits.