You really want to give much attention to your beloved rabbit, especially if you only own one rabbit. Its commonly known that the rabbit is a social creature that constantly needs to socialize with each other or your rabbit might get depressed. As their owner, you can fill the void of your rabbit’s loneliness. This article will help you to see the sign that your rabbit feel lonely and how to relieve your rabbit’s loneliness.
1. Pay Attention if He Asks for Your Attention
Nudges, play biting, digging on you is a sign that your rabbit asks for your attention, pet your rabbit or play with them to make them happy and feel loved. If he digs on you by using his feet, it’s also a definite sign of your rabbit that asks for your attention. Should you play and fulfill their plea, your rabbit might lick your hand when you try to pet him as a sign that your rabbit loves you too.
Try to not neglect them for too long because their plea might lead them to do destructive behavior as your rabbit is making effort to forcefully try to gain your attention which can escalate to more destructive behavior that might hurt the rabbit itself or might become withdrew toward you. More detail of your rabbit behavior caused by lack of attention will be explained below.
- Destructive Behavior
Should your rabbit feel neglected and lonely, they will try to do more forceful method to gain your attention. If at first he softly nudges you, then he softly biting you. If you react like pretend to be hurt then your rabbit might less nip you in less frequent.
Should your rabbit behavior escalate to be more destructive, your rabbit will become like kids throwing tantrum. Your rabbit might gnaw on the carpet, furniture, or even the cage wire mesh/fence which can damage your rabbit teeth. Angry rabbit also might pull his fur and become overeat, try to sooth your rabbit by giving extra attention and more time to play with you. And please be patient as in this phase, your rabbit will be a little bit hard to be soothed.
Make sure you have proof his cage and your house should you let them live inside your house. Read this “5 Easy Ways to Rabbit-Proof Your House” article to help you on proofing your house and minimalize the risk of your rabbit hurting himself during destructive behavior.
- Withdraw Behavior
Instead of being destructive or an advancement of destructive behavior phase, Your rabbit might go into withdraw behavior. In this phase, your rabbit refuses to make contact or respond to any of your calls and seclude himself by staying in his cage or hiding somewhere.
This phase is more problematic that destructive behavior one as your rabbit will be quite stubborn to accept any of your attention and your effort to soothe him.
2. Giving Your Rabbit Another Companion
It’s really recommended to own a pair of rabbits instead of only one rabbit. Rabbit is a social creature that needs constant companionship for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. So if you can’t provide the companionship that your rabbit needs due to your daily activity, please let your rabbit have his other companion to not let them feel lonely.
Getting your rabbit another furry companion a.k.a another rabbit can be a solution for your rabbit loneliness to keep them energetic. it’s recommended to give him the same age rabbit with the opposite gender. Bonded rabbit companion can be recognized if they snuggle together frequently, licking/grooming each other and make a quiet sound of affection.
Spay /neuter your both of your rabbit to make them more docile and prevent you from getting a litter of baby rabbits if you do not wish for it. Should you wish them to bring you another happy rabbit family, please read this “5 Signs Before A Rabbit Gives Birth” and “Having Baby Bunnies at Your Home? Here are 7 Tips to Take Care of Them” articles for the preparation of the upcoming days.
Its ok to give a same gender companion rabbit, but there is a higher risk of your rabbit is not compatible with his other companion rabbit because both of them might get territorial. Always check their compatibility before letting them live in the same cage.
If you bring another rabbit as your rabbit companion, try to socialize them in a different room so neither of them perceives it as their territory and making easier for them to be bonded, hence not making them hostile against each other.
3. Prevent them from Fighting Each Other
Should somehow your rabbit and his rabbit companion are not quite amiable with each other, there is a chance they will never be bonded without your intervention. Place them in the different place for a moment to avoid any further fight without your supervision. Introduce them again in neutral space (Other room that not perceived as their territory, a place that you rabbit not so often play in it). Keep a water bottle for preparation to disciple them should they show any aggressive behavior by sprinkling them with the water that you have prepared.
Keep introduce them for 20 minutes every day, until both of them show signs of bonding. Should they already bonding together like cuddling together, rubbing each other nose then they now can be safely put in the same cage.
4. Giving Your Rabbit Another Species Companion
If your rabbit is quite stubborn and still a territorial animal that make him harder to socialize with another rabbit. You might want to introduce him to another species pet as his companion. Guinea pig, cat or bird might be a sensible choice for your rabbit companion should another rabbit companionship is rejected.
5. Giving Your Rabbit attention, A.K.A Human Companionship
Ultimately, you will be the last line of defense for your rabbit to get love and companionship they need. Spend time with your rabbit to keep them away from the feeling of being lonely. Here is things you should do to socialize with your rabbit.
- Let Them Play Outside Their Cage At least an Hour a Day
Let your rabbit outside the cage at least an hour a day, this is also valid to outdoor placed enclosure rabbit by let them play in the supervised room. By letting them outside of their usual area, the rabbit will feel refreshed and happy by doing exploration and sniffing around. They might be even doing a happy flop in a rare chance. Make sure the outside area you place your rabbit is already proofed for your rabbit and your furniture safety.
- Lay Down On The Floor
Most rabbit doesn’t like to be picked up. While the rabbit seems docile when being held, doing so will make them feel uncomfortable. You should lay down on the floor to be on the same level as your rabbit and spend time with them like petting them when he approaches you in receptive stance, doing so will please your rabbit.
Try to be patient should your rabbit seems to be shy, let them approach you by itself to make them feel safe toward you.
- Pet your rabbit
Most rabbit really enjoys to be petted, but try to get your rabbit consent and not forcefully pet them when they don’t want it. ideal times to pet your rabbit is when they are relaxing after a meal. Slowly pet your rabbit on its forehead, cheek, or back rather pet them on their ears, stomach, tails, or neck, or feet as they might not really like it.
- Play with your rabbit
Lastly, spend times to play with your rabbit. Rabbit likes to knock things over, dig, and toss small toys. Playing something like bowling (set the pins and let them knock it down) or make a cardboard castle (And let your rabbit tear it apart) is an enjoyable entertainment for your rabbit that can make it bonded with you. Consider buying more sturdy and safe toy for rabbit in the pet shop to add more variable in your rabbit toy collection.
You can also give them treat every time the play or complete do the game (like finally done to tear down the cardboard castle or knock the pin), Should you need to grow some veggies that you might want to make it as their treat or simply as your rabbit healthy and daily meal, you might want to read this guide on “How to Raise a Rabbit Garden“.
I hope this article will give you insight on how to not let your rabbit feel lonely. Keep your rabbit in a company so that your rabbit will be healthy and be with you for a long time.