Although we like to think we are the most important part of our rabbit’s life, nothing replaces the bond and companionship of another of their kind.
We are often at work, school or asleep for the majority of the day and during these times our pets benefit from a friend of their own species.
Rabbits in the wild are not solitary animals and obtain a lot of comfort and interaction from their rabbit friends. Very strong bonds can form between two, or sometimes three, rabbits. However, some rabbits are not easy to bond (like humans they have distinct personalities) and may (like humans) instantly love or hate another individual rabbit. They can instinctively be very territorial and aggressive to a rabbit stranger. It is important that we let rabbits choose their friends, otherwise it is likely that we will have two rabbits who fight continuously.
Finding a significant other for your bunny:
NEVER just bring home a new rabbit and put it with your bunny. Your bunny will feel threatened and territorial and will most likely attack the new bunny.
The best way to bond rabbits is through organizing a blind date in a neutral area (with no personal items to claim as their own) to ensure that they are happy to take the relationship further. The most successful rabbit bondings are generally between a neutered boy and a neutered girl as rabbits have more complex and overlapping social interactions between members of the same gender.
Indications that the bunny date is going well include: grooming of each other, sitting side by side, content behavior (lying relaxed on their side) or even ignoring each other.
Indications of disagreements include chasing, lunging, humping each other and fighting. If these behaviours occur, end the ‘date’ for the day. The chance of successful bonding between such rabbits is low. If you have your heart set on match-making a certain pair of grumpy rabbits be prepared that it will be a gradual process and patience and careful supervision is required.
Rabbits form strong bonded pairs with other rabbits and can be at a loss if their pair is not with them. We suggest that if your rabbit needs to visit the vet you bring in their bonded pair as a moral support.
What about cats, dogs, guinea pigs???
Some rabbits can cohabit well with cats and even dogs (especially if the cat or dog has grown up with the rabbit). This does depend on your rabbit’s personality, but it is best to never leave other species alone with your rabbit without human supervision.
Most dogs and cat cannot resist a chase, and can get carried away.
Guinea pigs are not ideal companions for rabbits as they can fight, have slightly different dietary requirements and rabbits can carry disease that is lethal to guinea pigs.