Rabbits are sociable animals and require constant companionship. They feel much better when they are in the presence of another rabbit. Humans can fill this void too, but the rabbit will require constant attention. Your pet is likely to need more attention than you expect. Do what you can so that he has company.
Part 1 of 3: Finding out if the rabbit is lonely
Step 1. Your rabbit may be feeling lonely
In the wild, he would spend all his time with other rabbits. If you have only one rabbit, your company can help, but it will feel lonely when you are sleeping or working.
- Some females feel less need for companionship. If she doesn't show hyperactivity or shyness, she may not be feeling lonely.
- In some cases, the animal will try to protect its territory from other rabbits. If so, it may be a good idea to purchase another type of animal to keep him company. If the animal is of another species, it is possible that your rabbit will feel less need to protect the territory while being able to enjoy the animal's company.
Step 2. Pay attention whenever he pokes you, bites you, or scratches you
When the rabbit nudges someone with its nose, it is a sign that it is trying to say something. This usually means he wants to play or be petted. If you don't get the attention you want, his signals can become more direct and aggressive.
- After poking you, the rabbit may start to bite you lightly. This is also a way to get your attention. If you pretend to be hurt, the rabbit will likely start biting you more lightly and less often.
- The rabbit may even start scratching you with its hind or front paws, as if trying to "dig" you. This is a clear sign that he wants attention.
Step 3. Watch out for aggressive behavior
A solitary rabbit may begin to show signs of hyperactivity and nervousness. Although rabbits usually try to dig things up, such behavior can quickly become destructive. Watch out if the rabbit starts chewing on the carpet or furniture. Such behavior can end up becoming self-destructive.
Lone rabbits may start pulling their fur and eating compulsively. They can even damage teeth by gnawing on the cage bars
Step 4. Look for signs of isolation
In some cases, rabbits can become depressed. They will isolate themselves from the owner and other people, refusing to interact even when approached. It will be more difficult to animate rabbits in this state.
A rabbit in this state may start to hide or refuse to leave the cage. It may also be that he doesn't respond when you try to play with him
Part 2 of 3: Find another pet to keep the rabbit company
Step 1. Find a companion for the animal
The best choice is a rabbit of the opposite sex that is approximately the same age. Two rabbits in the same environment will hug each other and show signs of affection. But be careful when bringing a new rabbit home, as some rabbits can be hostile to each other.
- It might be a good idea to find a group of rabbits who already know each other, as it will ensure that they get along well. If you are bringing a new rabbit home, adopt it from a shelter. That way, if he doesn't get along with your rabbit, you can change him later without much expense.
- You can also just offer your pet your companionship, but keeping it happy will take a lot of time and attention. Be prepared to spend a lot of time with him every day.
- Don't forget to neuter the rabbits. If you don't, you risk having to care for a litter of puppies.
Step 2. Avoid fights
If rabbits don't get along right away, chances are they'll never make friends. Try to keep them in separate spaces and place them close together for 20 minutes each day, always supervising them. Present them in a neutral location that is not their territory. If they show signs of affection, for example by hugging or rubbing their noses together, they can already be left in the same room.
- If they fight, keep a water bottle handy to discipline the rabbits.
- The ideal is to bring the two back at the same time. That way, none of them will think they own the place, which will avoid fights for that reason. If you already have a rabbit, it might be a good idea to introduce it to a place where it doesn't usually spend a lot of time.
- It is generally best to leave males and females together.
Step 3. Find an animal of another species to keep the rabbit company
If you've already introduced your rabbit to several others and you find it doesn't get along with any of them for trying to protect the territory, it might be a good idea to find a companion of another species. Guinea pigs, birds and cats are generally good companions for rabbits.
Also, rabbits should not be left together with other rabbits that have not been neutered. If your rabbit has not been neutered and is too old for such a procedure, it is best to find a companion of another species
Part 3 of 3: Offering Your Rabbit Company
Step 1. Leave the rabbit out of the cage for at least one hour a day
Rabbits love to explore, move and smell things. It's important to let it out of the cage temporarily every day. However, it is also important to take care that it does not ruin the house. Always supervise him or set aside a specific space for the rabbit, which does not have rugs or valuables that could be spoiled by it.
Step 2. Sit on the floor
Rabbits like to stay on the ground. While holding them seems like a good way to interact with rabbits, they generally don't like it. Better get down and spend time with him on the floor. If the animal is friendly, approach it and pet it.
- If the rabbit is uncomfortable with your presence, it will likely start grunting. Step back a bit and let him come at his own pace.
- If your rabbit is shy, it may take some time for him to get used to you. Be patient.
Step 3. Pet the rabbit
Rabbits are most receptive to petting when they are relaxed and well fed. Approach slowly and stroke his forehead, cheeks, or back. They generally don't like being petted in their ears, stomach, tail, neck or feet.
Step 4. Play with the rabbit
Rabbits love to get out of their cage to play. They like to drop things, dig and play small toys. Provide objects that the rabbit can drop, such as bowling pins. Buy some toys for the animal or create them yourself.
- Provide plastic baby toys and plastic balls with bells for the rabbit to play with. Even something as simple as a small piece of cardboard fits, for example, the inside of a toilet paper roll.
- If your rabbit likes to dig, provide something like a straw mat or a box full of torn paper.