How do you care for a rabbit?

A rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a mammal and belongs to the order of the hareids (Lagomorpha). Although he looks like a rodent, the rabbit does not belong to the rodent order.
A female rabbit is called a nurse or nut, a male rabbit is called a rattle or ram.

The rabbit was kept in Roman times for meat and fur. The rabbits lived in parks with high walls (leporaria). In addition to adult rabbits, they also ate the young ones, who were even considered a delicacy.
It was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the rabbit was increasingly being kept as a pet or pet animal. After the Second World War, the rabbit really became a very popular companion animal.


A female rabbit is usually a bit calmer than a male, but if she is pregnant, even the sweetest rabbit can fall out and even bite. A rabbit can become clean. If your rabbit regularly hopes around the room, you can place a bunny with some litter from his stool in the cage.
Getting angry if your rabbit does something wrong does not make any sense. He does not understand what you mean at all and only gets anxious about it. Rewarding for good behavior, however, often wants to help.

The looks

A rabbit always has long ears and almost always a white bushy tail. He can walk very fast, but not as hard as a hare. He is also a bit smaller than a hare; With his size he sits between the hares and the flute hares.
Rabbits spend a lot of time caring for their fur. Also the legs are not forgotten during this extensive cleaning.

Teeth and nails continue to grow

The teeth and nails grow in a rabbit. Check it regularly. Too long teeth can be made shorter by a veterinarian. The nails can be carefully cut with a nail tongs, but be careful not to cut into a clove. Rabbit breeds differ greatly in size, color, coat length and the position of the ears. Did you know that a Flemish giant weighs more than eight kilos with a head-body length of at least 65 centimeters ?! Dwarf rabbits, on the other hand, weigh no kilos.

Eat eat food!

In the wild, rabbits eat grass, horse petals and weeds. At home, hay forms the basis for healthy rabbit feeding. It contains raw fibers, minerals and trace elements. These substances are necessary for healthy digestion. Besides this hay, the rabbit also eats rabbit food that is for sale at pet stores (and many supermarkets).
A rabbit also drinks quite a lot and must have sufficient moisture (water). Therefore, make sure you have large water bottles on the cage. Open water containers are not so hygienic and are often toppled.

Daily fresh water

The drinking bottles must be refreshed and cleaned daily. If you do not clean them, algae can grow (algae cause green deposits in the bottle).
A rabbit loves green food; fresh vegetables and herbs are very healthy for the rabbit. You can simply get a lot of this green food from nature. Rather not from the roadside: exhaust fumes from cars pollute the plants a lot and your rabbit gets all those toxins in that way.

Green food

Up to 45% of the total feed may be green feed. Valuable food plants from nature can be:
Absinthe, Wormwood, Blue Lucerne, Tansy, Nettle *, (leaf of the) Dwarf, Yarrow, Grass, Shepherd's purse, Chamomile, Coltsfoot, (leaf of the) Dandelion, Peppermint, (herb), Red clover, Sage, Wild Achillea , White clover, Plantain.
Rabbits are also fond of fresh twigs and they also contain valuable substances.

* The young buds of the nettle are very healthy, but they must first lie down for a day to let the 'fire' go out.

More green food

In addition to these natural products, you can also give a rabbit:
Endive, Celery, Broccoli, Celeriac, Kookrabi, Paksoi, Parsley, (leaves of) Radishes, Celery, Lamb's lettuce, Fennel, Chicory, Watercress, Carrot.

Pay attention with:

Chives, Beans, Peas, Corn, Leek, Brussels sprouts, Onion, cabbage..

Too much clover also causes problems, just like a lot of wet grass. Mowed grass should never be given, picked or cut long grass. With cabbage and lettuce you have to be careful, because a rabbit gets gasses very quickly, which can also be fatal. It is better to give cauliflower pieces of cauliflower in summer and in winter to give kale.

Small pieces

It is best to give small pieces of as many different types of vegetables as possible, instead of a lot of one type of vegetable. Wild rabbits eat in nature very varied, but everything a little bit ...
A rabbit is curious and eats everything green, unfortunately this can also be your new green sweater or poisonous plants. Make sure, therefore, that your rabbit does not have the opportunity to relish poisonous plants.

Their stay

Rabbits are quite active, so preferably choose a spacious cage. If your cage is less than 90 cm long, let it run around for an hour every day. Your rabbit can also walk in the backyard, but of course make sure that your rabbit does not walk away.
A cage, smaller than 65 cm (length) is really too small for a rabbit.


There must be a water bottle, a rack for fresh hay and green food in his cage. Make sure the basket is placed high so that the rabbit does not use it as a berth. Of course you also need a (sturdy) food bowl for the dry food, a lime stone and perhaps a sleeping house. This cottage mimics a hole (inverted flowerpot).
You can take cat litter as the bottom layer of the cage. As a top layer of soil straw or pellets of organically grown barley straw.

Inside and outside

Rabbits can live inside and outside in a loft. They can withstand cold, but not against draft, wet weather, bright sunlight and freezing cold. In winter you can better put a rabbit in the barn.

Rules for freedom of a rabbit

At home

  • Never allow a rabbit to walk freely around without supervision
  • Note that a rabbit can not eat poisonous plants
  • Stone, parquet or plastic on the floor is usually too smooth and too cold
  • The nails can continue to hook into high pile carpets
  • Rabbit likes to gnaw on rugs. You can prevent this by placing plastic foil over it and laying coconut or reed mats on top of it
  • Keep cables away from a rabbit, rather make them a bit higher (for example against a windowsill)

In the garden

  • The garden must be chemically free. So no pest control or anything else. Even if the neighbors have chemical stuff, it is dangerous. The wind takes those substances through the air.
  • The soil must be dry. So you have much less chance of colds.
  • There must be a place where a rabbit can shelter.
  • The outdoor arena must be fully secured against predators; prefer to keep dogs and cats with the rabbit today.
  • Rabbit can jump and dig well. If you have a garden with only soil without concrete underneath, the rabbit can dig a way out.
  • He needs to have a supply of food, for example what plants he likes and where he can easily access.
  • Remove all poisonous plants from the garden.

Overview of poisonous plants for a rabbit

AgaveGolden RainMahoganyTulip
HederdrafFig plant
Blue rainWikke
Wood anemoneJuniperOWonder tree
Buks tree
CHoneysuckleEaster bell
CactiCardinal's hatPoppy
CallaChristmas rosePassion flower
Honey locustChristmas starPelargonium
ChrysanthemumClover sorrelPepper tree
CroutonDogwoodPorcelain flower
DaslookLaurel cherryLarkspur
Thorn appleLily-like
Lily of the valleyS
Tree of lifeSnake root
Flamingo plantSnowflake

Together or alone

Rabbits are social animals. In the wild, rabbits live in colonies or groups, so a rabbit feels more comfortable when he is not alone. If you choose to take two rabbits, it is best to take two females from the same litter. In that case you run the least chance that the rabbits will fight together. Of course you can also opt for a male and female, but keep in mind that a boy can come. If you want to keep a male and a female together without risk of youngsters, then you can have the male castrated. Incidentally, this last option (female with a castrated male) is actually the best.
However, if you want one rabbit, give him a lot of time and attention.


A rabbit needs care every day. Good hygiene is important, a rabbit wants to be clean and dry. The loft must therefore be cleaned at least twice a week. Usually a rabbit does his needs in one place. You can therefore suffice to clean this spot every day so that the entire loft does not have to be cleaned completely. You also have to brush a rabbit every week. This is good for the circulation of his coat, and old hairs are immediately removed. The nails must be cut every two to three months.

Price and purchase

You can buy a rabbit in a pet store, but sometimes they are also for sale on children's farms, private individuals and shelters.
The minimum age for a rabbit is about 8 weeks with a minimum weight of 240 grams. Then they are independent and they can eat well. Of course you can also buy a small animal that is already a bit older. The advantage may be that this animal is already a bit of a handshake.
When buying a rabbit, pay attention to:

pay attention

  • Are the eyes bright and shiny (may not be tears or inflamed)?
  • Does his coat shine and does he not suffer from parasites?
  • Does he smell good at fresh straw?
  • The soles of the feet and heels should not show any scabs.
  • The teeth must be well-groomed.
  • The rabbit must have a dry nose.
  • Is it all around his anus clean (no adhesions)?
  • The tail is straight up in a healthy rabbit.

The price for a 'normal' rabbit is between five and thirty five euros. Of course you also need a loft, a food bowl and a water bottle. There are lofts in different sizes, so you can make everything just as expensive (or cheap) as you want. Do you want a low budget? Take a look at Marketplace for a used loft.


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