Rabbits are common pets, and their lifespan has been increasing with time, and this is mainly contributed by the great care they receive from their owners. There are different factors that can affect the lifespan of a pet, and rabbits are not an exception. The domesticated rabbits are very different from the wild ones, and this technically means they are two different species despite the fact that they are distant relatives and come from the same family. Anciently, the rabbits were mainly kept for food and fur, but with time they have turned out to be among the most popular pets. This has been so common in many homes across the United States. As the people discovered the great personalities that the rabbits have, they have also learned and improved the care they give them, and this has greatly creased their lifespan.
Rabbit Breeds and Lifespan
While the average lifespan of a rabbit is approximately 5 to 10 years and bearing the fact that there are different breeds of rabbits, some of these breeds live longer than others. Just like in the pet dogs, the miniature and dwarf rabbits tend to live for longer than the giant breeds.
The dwarf rabbit breed weighs approximately 2.5 to 5 lbs. and they live for an average lifespan of between 8 to 12 years whenever they are in captivity. With proper care, they will live averagely for that long. Smaller rabbits tend to live for long up to the maximum possible life, but the larger ones live for a shorter life. In terms of suitability for a pet, the dwarf rabbits are no better than the bigger ones, just that they are smaller in size. They make great pets simply because they are cute and they have a small size which is manageable.
The lion-head rabbits are the newest breed, and they were recognized in 2014 by the American Breeders Association. They are small rabbits with an average weight of 3 lbs. Due to their long and wooly manes, the lion heads require more care compared to other species of rabbits. If these manses are not taken care of as required, they can cause a lot of [pain and end up in a skin infection. However, lion heads are well-taken care of; they can live for 8 to 10 years.
It is important to note that there are several breeds of lops. These are rabbits whose ears flop downwards. The varying lop-eared breeds range in size from 3 to 14 lbs. which is a big amount. These are small dwarf rabbits with big heads, flattened pieces, and short bodies—the life expectancy of these rabbits ranges from 8 to 12 years.
The Rex Bunnies have short ears, small heads, and velvety coats. They are medium-sized with an average weight of 7 to 11 lbs. and a dwarf size of 3 to 5 lbs. Just like the rest of the rabbits, the rex rabbits can live for between 8 to 12 years, and this depends on genetics and the quality of life.
The Dutch rabbits are medium-sized and compactly built. The unique features of these rabbits are a white blaze on the face. Despite the fact that the size of a rabbit influences the lifespan of a rabbit, it is rarely dependent on the breed. The dwarf rabbits are on the same average on matters of life expectancy when compared to the rest of the breeds. The average lifespans of a Dutch rabbit are between 8 to 12 years.
Nutrition and Lifespan of a Rabbit
Just like any other animal, rabbits have a specific nutritional need in terms of diet, and it is common knowledge that whatever we feed our pets has a district impact on the healthy and hence the lifespan. This is because a healthy pet will have a long lifespan, while an unhealthy one will definitely have a short life. The lifespan and health go hand in hand with the diet, and therefore you should ensure your pet rabbit gets the right food, vitamins, minerals, and fiber content if it has b to remain healthy. The diet of a pet rabbit should be made up of special pellets for rabbits, hay, and vegetables. You can sometimes treat t your pet rabbit with some fruit diet, but this should be made moderately, but if you feed your rabbit an unbalanced diet, you will med up with an unhealthy rabbit. Some owners feed their pet rabbits some pellets from the pet stores, and they may be lacking some vital vitamins and nutrients that are important to the rabbit’s health.
Lifestyle and Lifespan of a Rabbit
The majority think that the rabbits are happy being kept in a cage, but they also need a lot of space and mental stimulation. Despite the fact that they are able to live indoors or outdoors, they still need a wide area such as a bedroom to call their own and as well as toys, things to hew and items to play on. The rabbit that does not get enough space and all the enrichments are not as healthy as those that do have, and therefore, they may not have a long lifespan as they should. It is crucial to provide a calm home for your rabbit. Extreme amounts of stress can cause a lot of stress to your rabbit, and end the result may be fatal. You should protect them against being tau ted by dogs or cats, being grabbed by babies, or being hurt since that can cause death to your rabbit can get into shock.
Rabbits’ life cycle
The adult rabbits give birth to about 3 to 5 kittens, and they are born blind, deaf, and with no fur. They remain in there for about 3 to 4 weeks as they get taken care of by their mother. As they grow older, they become very social animals living in families in the wild. For those that live in captivity, they are happier and more comfortable and tend to live for longer than the wild one. They are happy since they have a companion to bond with and get maximum care. They each the sexual maturity at 3 to 6 months, and this depends on the breed and the circumstances.
How to tell you rabbit is getting old
If you have a pet rabbit in your home, you expect to see some signs of aging when they are 4 to 5 years old. Some of the signs include decreased activity and increased health issues from time to time. As the rabbit grows old, they are likely to slow down in most things considerably.
How to Increase the Lifespan of your pet Rabbit
- Food is a crucial factor in the health of a rabbit, and this means that you ought to provide food, and it should be a balanced diet. The media may have convinced you that the rabbits just need some store pellets, and they are good to go, but this is far from the truth. You need to supplement this food with some hay or some grass to chew, and this constitutes the bulk of their diet. All their hay also helps to grind the teeth of the rabbit since they continuously grow older with time. It is also crucial to include some vegetables and greens whenever you get an opportunity since they help in providing for the nutrients that may not be available in other foods you are feeding them.
- Exercise is another thing that needs to be part of the daily routine for a pet rabbit in order to increase its lifespan. This will ensure the weight of your rabbit remains within the normal range, but an increase in weight will be dangerous to the rabbit. You might have less space within your backyard, but if this is the case, you can allow the rabbit to roam freely so that they can do some exercise. Supervise them indoors as they roam within the room so as to ensure they do not cause any damages and to prevent them from maybe getting hurt in the process. The rabbits love chewing, and it is, therefore, advisable to keep a close eye to prevent them from damaging the essential things in the room.
- Mental stimulation is another factor that is vital to pet rabbits’ long lifespan. Whether it is a paper castle, chew toys or old cardboard boxes, your pet rabbit will enjoy the simulation.
- Other types of enrichments that may affect the lifespan of your pet rabbit positively as socialization, the opportunity of wandering in a new play area, and obstacle courses. You may also consider buying a companion for your little pet, and this will be a big deal.
- Sprayed or neutered rabbits tend to have a longer lifespan compared to their counterparts. However, this can be dangerous sometimes since the rabbit might end up developing reproductive organ cancer and other diseases. To help boost their lifespan, you should regularly take them to a vet for these procedures. Additionally, this makes it easier for you to introduce different rabbits to each other for optimal socialization.
- You should make your pet rabbit be comfortable throughout. It is evident that stressed rabbits lead shorter lives compared to those that live comfortably. If you have other pets or young children within your home, the pet rabbits might feel overwhelmed. This is mainly true if your young children or your other pets are usually Roundy with or around your rabbits. If you find this is the case with your pets, it is crucial to ensure they are safely tucked in another roof away from these distractions or a higher elevation where they can eat, observe and nibble in peace.
- Another means of increasing the lifespan of your pet rabbit is ensuring that you visit your vet regularly for checkups so that in case anything is amiss, they can be created in time. This helps to prevent diseases by detecting them as early as possible.
- Cage and Bedding – the rabbits should have access to clean straw litter, hay, shavings, or some type of dry fibrous product as Bedding. The cages that have no litter have been shown to cause health risks to rabbits. It is advisable to frequently clean the cages and hatches. It is your responsibility as an owner to ensure your pet rabbits have their diet in a clean environment. Their living area should act s the refuge or the resting area, and therefore the environment should be optimal. Whenever your rabbit is inside, you should always keep an eye since they tend to chew everything like the electrical cords, which might cause serious harm to your pet.
- Temperature and light – As a responsible owner, you should always keep the temperature in your mind. The rabbits usually keep their internal temperatures constant, and they modify them with changes in how much they eat, their general body position, and their breathing rate. The optimal temperature is usually 60 to 70 degrees F. However, if the temperature around goes beyond 90 degrees F, they may no longer regulate their temperatures and may get hyperthermia. The rabbits are also sensitive to humidity levels. It is important to maintain the humidity level constant in the rabbit cage. Hot spells with high humidity can cause some discomfort and severe health problems that may be disastrous to the rabbit. The cage should also have good ventilation so as to emit the gases such as carbon and the excess heat the rabbits emit.
- Sunlight – The pet rabbits should get sunlight for a few hours each day. They do not necessarily need it, but an average of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day will be critical to the health of your pet. However, since the rabbits are nocturnal, you do not want to give them too much light for long.
- Proper handling – Whenever you are handling your rabbit, it is important to always ensure you support the hindquarters. This is because they have fragile bones, and if you leave the hind legs to freely kick out, they might snap. This will be a serious injury and might result in euthanasia. If you need to lift your pet rabbit and if you are not used to that, you should do it near the floor so that they do not have far to jump.
- Keep it chill – As you decide to keep a pet rabbit, you should always remember they need a peaceful environment because stress and anxiety that come either a mess and a noisy environment decreases their lifespan. They should always feel comfortable, and they will live stress-free, ensure your cage is not always bombarded with loud noises and chaos. Some houses, especially where there are small houses, are always noisy, and you should keep them away from these children who cause constant disturbances.
How Long do wild Rabbits live
The wild rabbits are not protected like the ones in captivity, and therefore they have a short life expectancy. There are various factors that affect the lifespan of wild rabbits, and they include the amount of food that is available, the type of predators around, the type of shelter available in the areas, and the climate they live in. The wild rabbits live for about a year or two. The rabbits in the wild are faced with numerous challenges such as diseases and predators must like the outdoor pet rabbits but the wild rabbits do not have a cage or hutch to provide protection. The wild rabbits also have to compete for resources. There is never enough and ready food in the wild, and therefore, most of these rabbits suffer from a lack of food, and they are unable to survive.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
The pet rabbits that are kept indoors tend to live for long compared to those that live outdoors since those that live outdoors are faced with harsh climatic conditions. For instance, the summer heat can be a killer for rabbits with their heavy fur coats, while the extreme cold in winter is dangerous and can give rabbits hypothermia. An outdoor rabbit will also be faced by numerous predators ranging from dogs, foxes to raccoons and hawks, and this means they have a lot to be afraid of outside. Sometimes these predators usually manage to break into an outdoor hutch to get at a pet rabbit. Even if they do not break the hutch to reach the pet, they will leave the rabbit with a scary experience, and they will be stressed. Excessive stress can cause health problems and premature deaths in rabbits.
The outdoor rabbits are also likely to come into contact with predators and bacteria from harmful diseases. They can get fleas and ear mites, or they can be bitten by ticks and mosquitoes that can spread some deadly rabbit diseases. Generally, the average lifespan of an outdoor rabbit is less than that of an indoor pet rabbit.
Pet Rabbits Lifespan and Overgrown Teeth
Your pet rabbits’ teeth will grow continuously throughout her life, and to ensure that they are within the manageable length and avoid the development of sharp edges, you need to keep feeding her with fiber so as to grind them down. If she gets that is not the required one, she will have overgrown teeth. This is a painful thing, and your pet might lose appetite or might not want to eat at all. This will obviously affect the health of your pet rabbit and hence shorten her lifespan. This is one of the reasons why as an owner, you should ensure the rabbit eats a proper diet that consists of 80 to 90 percent fibrous such as oats or grass.
Do male or female Rabbits live longer?
There is no definitive study that indicates which male and female live longer. However, they are an indication that the spayed and neutered rabbits live longer regardless of their gender. If they have been spayed and neutered, they have less likelihood of getting cancer despite their gender.
The oldest living rabbits
The oldest living rabbit, according to the boot of World Records, was named Flopsy. This rabbit was caught in the wild in the year 1964 and died almost 19 years later. This happened in Tasmania, Australia. More recently, there was another rabbit that died in 2013 after living for 17 years. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this rabbit was named Do and was a wooly jersey rabbit from New Jersey and was born in 1996. The owner of these rabbits credits the long lifespan to a strict diet, exercise, and good genetics. She never got any fruits or vegetables, just timothy hay, and pellets.
Common Myths about Rabbits
- The Rabbits are low-maintenance pets.
Despite the fact that they do not need to be walked like dogs, these animals are not low maintenance. Their living space needs to be cleaned daily, and fresh food and water must be served each day. The rabbits need regular checkups by the vet, and sometimes they might get complete health problems that might be too expensive to take care of. Also, there are few vets who are skilled in rabbit medicine, and this means they are expensive as a result of scarcity.
- Rabbits live for a year or two and therefore, no commitment.
This is another misinformation since the rabbit that is healthy and has been taken care of well can live up to 10 years. This is the same average age as other pets, such as dogs, and this means they need a long-term commitment.
- The Rabbits do not need vet care as do dogs and cats.
Despite the fact that in the United States the rabbits do not need annual vaccinations, they need regular vet checkups to help detect any health problem early before they are too big. If there are a number of rabbits in the same cage, they should always be sprayed. This reduces hormone-driven behaviors such as mounting, boxing, lunging, and spraying and also protects the femes against developing uterine cancer.
- Rabbits are rather dirty and have a strong odor.
The rabbits are extremely clean, and once they have matured and spayed, they will do anything within their ability to ensure they do not soil their living area. They will readily use the litter box, and if the box is cleaned and washed daily, there will be no odor.
- Rabbits are happiest outdoors in a backyard hutch.
In reality, the rabbits that are kept outdoor in the hutches are often forgotten and neglected once the novelty wears off. They are also subjected to extreme weather as well as diseases that are spread by fleas, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes, all of which can have adverse effects which might have a significant effect on the pet’s lifespan. They can even die of heart attacks from the very approach of the predator, even if it is not attacked or bitten. These are gregarious creatures who enjoy social contact with humans, and therefore the easiest way to provide social stimulation for a companion is to house it indoors.
- Rabbits love to be picked up and cuddled and do not scratch or bite.
Despite the fact that some rabbits are tolerant to handling, many do not like to be picked up and carried. If the rabbits are mishandled, they will learn to nip to protect themselves. If they feel insecure when they are carried, they will scratch to get down. Unspayed rabbits often display some territorial behaviors such as boxing or nipping whenever their territory is invaded by the owner.
- Rabbits can be left alone for a day or two when the owner is not around
The rabbits need close monitoring since some problems which are considered minor may be life-threatening to a rabbit and might need immediate vet attention.
- Rabbits do fine with a bowl of rabbit food and some daily carrots
The most important component of the rabbits’ duet so the grass hay, which should be provided every day without fail. The rabbit pellets should just be fed to them only in limited quantities.
Common Causes of Deaths in Rabbits
One of the leading causes of death in Rabbits is gastrointestinal stasis, and it does so quickly. There are several causes of GI stasis which include stress and dehydration, and blockage. Some of the signs you should observe are; the rabbit is not eating or has smaller dropping than normal.
The other common cause of death is heatstroke, and this mainly occurs to the outdoor rabbits, injury, poisoning, infectious diseases, cancer, and heart attacks as a result of stress. In general, it is very crucial to always seek advice from your vet whenever you notice something unusual in your pet.
Your pet rabbit can live for a long easily if the right food, housing situation, and living condition are provided. The rabbits are social, playful, and curious, and therefore it is important to have regular socialization, toys, and a place to explore in order to lee them happy. Follow all these toys, and your pet rabbit will have the quality life they deserve, and you two will have a long-lasting companionship.