The first thing to consider is that rabbits have a long life span so be prepared to care for your pet rabbit through the long term. They are also unique creatures who form tight bonds with their families and are now frequently kept as "house rabbits". They also require some routine veterinary care and are not low maintenance pets. If you are prepared for all the unique qualities and needs of rabbits, you will best be able to fully enjoy the wonderful companionship they can offer.
Pet rabbits can be quite readily kept in cages in the home with some freedom to run free in the house (after thoroughly rabbit-proofing of course). Rabbits take fairly well to litter training so many people will let their bunnies run free in the home for at least part of the day. Even if your rabbit is thoroughly toilet trained and your house thoroughly rabbit proofed a cage will act as a safe haven or nest where the rabbit can retreat to rest.
Choosing the right kind of cage for your rabbit is extremely important. Cages that are spacious enough, easy to clean and easy to for your rabbit to get in and out of will make sharing your home with a rabbit so much easier.
A cage that is large enough is important for the well-being of your pet rabbit but is is no substitute for exercise and social time out of the cage.
Even the best quality rabbit pellet is not adequate on its own as a diet for pet rabbits. Plenty of fresh grass hay is very important in a rabbit diet, as are fresh greens and vegetables. The right diet is critical to keeping pet rabbits healthy. Feed your rabbit a well balanced and high fiber diet.
Rabbits usually take well to litter training although some flexibility may be required by the owner. Rabbits naturally pick one or more toilet areas and owners can take advantage of this in litter training.
Many rabbits do not like to be picked up but there are times you will need to pick up your rabbit. Unfortunately a rabbit can seriously injure themselves if they struggle too much when being picked up so it is important to lift them carefully, supporting both their front and hind ends so that they do not twist around or kick out with their back legs and hurt their backs.
If you can teach your rabbit that being picked up is a pleasant experience it will make picking up your rabbit that much easier. Try picking up your rabbit once or twice a day. Lift your rabbit up, hold him or her very briefly, and then set him or her back down again and follow up with a little treat. Your rabbit will come to learn that being picked up is not a threat and instead being picked up will become a positive experience.
There are many advantages in terms of behavior and health to spaying and neutering your pet rabbit. In addition to these benefits you will help prevent the problem of pet rabbit overpopulation. People like to joke about how readily rabbits reproduce but the sad truth is that far too many bunnies end up at shelters and rescues facing an uncertain future already.
Average 8-9 years but may be up to 13 or 14 years when they are well cared for an kept as a "house rabbits".