Rabbits are the sixth most popular pets in the United States:1 we have 3+ million buns in 1.5 million US households. These lovely critters are affectionate, energetic, smart, and all kinds of adorable. On top of that, they are truly fascinating. For example, did you know that bunnies sleep twice during the day? That’s right!
Plus, they have 360-degree vision and laser-sharp hearing. Rabbits drink a lot, don’t like carrots that much, and grow teeth 24/7. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So, if you’re a proud bunny owner and want to learn new, exciting details about your furry bud, we have 20 incredible facts to share with you right here. Take a look!
The 20 Amazing Pet Rabbit Facts
1. Rabbits Are Crepuscular Animals
Do rabbits hop into the bed when it gets dark outside? Or maybe they prefer to sleep during the day to handle business in the dead of night? Well, both answers are only half-true. Bunnies are not diurnal (active during the day) or nocturnal (active during the night). Instead, they wait for the darkest parts of the day to go out and get some work done.
And, in most cases, that’s going to be the dawn AND the dusk. So, don’t worry if your rabbit starts running around the house or doing other stuff at 5:00 AM in the morning. After a couple of hours of activity, it will go back to sleep yet wake up around 7:00–8:00 PM to hunt, eat, stretch its legs, and mate.
2. They Tend to Get Very Territorial
Don’t let the fuzzy fur, cute ears, and sweet personalities fool you: rabbits get very serious when it comes to their territory. To feel safe and cozy, they need total control of the area. So, when adopting a bunny, be ready to say goodbye to a big chunk of your own house. Jokes aside, most buns will quack or even grunt at you if you make the mistake of invading their personal space.
Once these adorable animals pick spots where they like to eat, relax, sleep, and use the restroom, they don’t like to share it with anyone else. That doesn’t mean you can’t go in there to fix the litter box, add food and water to the bowls, or pet the rabbit, of course. Still, do use caution when entering “sacred rabbit grounds”!
3. Rabbits Are Social Creatures
In the wilderness, rabbits live in underground tunnels. It’s hard to survive without having someone to watch your back. These instincts have helped them stay afloat for thousands of years, and they haven’t changed much, despite pet bunnies being domesticated for many generations. That’s why they like to socialize and create a strong bond with as many fellow rabbits as possible.
4. Not All Bunnies Are Big Huggers
That’s right: they don’t always like to cuddle. Even if you have a great relationship with the pet, it might not be the cuddly type. Early training and socialization (with humans) can help fix that. But be very careful when picking up a bunny, and only do that when you feel like the four-legged family member is comfortable with that. Remember: each bunny is unique.
5. Baby Rabbits Are Called Kittens
Yes, bunny kiddos are officially called kits or kittens. Males are “bucks”, while females are “does”. And if you see an entire family/group of rabbits, that’s called a herd (yes, just like sheep, cattle, and goats). So, why don’t we call the newborns buns, for example? Well, in contrast to popular belief, cat babies aren’t the only ones called kitties. The same term is used to describe baby foxes.
6. Mama Bunnies Are Quite the Baby-Makers
In a single go, a doe can give birth to 9–14 kittens, which is quite impressive on its own. Also, it’s common for them to have more than one litter per year. The babies don’t take long to become independent, although they are born tiny, weak, and helpless. The mothers don’t spend much time with their children either, so that predators don’t find the burrows where the kiddos are hidden.
7. Reproductive Cancer Is a Huge Problem for Does
This is important: mama rabbits have a 50–80% chance of getting uterine cancer.1 The most common signs include heavy breathing, depression, a small litter size/low fertility, and stillborn babies. Thankfully, this isn’t an issue for a spayed doe. So, if you have a female bunny, do consider sterilizing it. Neutering for the males is a great idea as well.
8. Rabbits and Hares Are NOT the Same
Rabbits and hares are quite different. Hares are bigger, stronger, and faster, not to mention they have larger ears. So, while bunnies prefer to hide from predators, hares mostly choose to run away. Very few animals can catch up with a hare, as they are, indeed, quite fast, nimble, and energetic. More than that, hares are extremely self-sufficient. It only takes a baby hare 20–30 minutes to get on its feet and explore the world.
Rabbits, in contrast, are born blind and don’t have any fur on their bodies. And one more thing: bunnies have many similarities to horses, including the ears, eyes, and teeth.
9. They Often Swallow Hairballs Like Cats
Rabbits groom themselves daily, and occasionally, they swallow the hairballs. Unfortunately, unlike kitties, they can’t cough them out. But, if you take the pet to a veterinarian ASAP, they should be able to remove it. The vet might have to operate on the poor thing to get the pieces of fur out. To avoid that, brush the bun’s coat regularly. That will not only keep it clean and healthy but also reduce the hairball numbers.
If the coat is short, 2–3 times a week should be enough; longer coats, in turn, need to be brushed seven times a week.
10. Bunnies Have 360° Vision
In contrast to humans, the eyes of a rabbit aren’t located in the front but rather on the sides of its head. More specifically, they are found near the top of its skull and really high up, too. That gives it a unique advantage over its prey and predators: rabbits have the closest thing to 360-degree vision. So, no matter which corner(s) the danger creeps from, the bun will be able to notice it.
11. They Also Boast 180° Hearing
Rabbit hearing is another exciting topic. All buns have big, perky ears (up to 4 inches in height) that capture sounds from afar. Each ear turns 180 degrees, providing the pet with enhanced hearing capabilities. They can easily detect an approaching predator before it turns into a threat.
12. When Feeling Happy, Rabbits Do the “Binky”
Have you ever seen a bunny jump with excitement and rush around the house like a crazy person? Well, that means it’s happy! There’s even a term that’s used to describe this behavior: binky. At first, it might seem chaotic, but bunnies only do this at moments of pure joy. Oh, and speaking of jumping, buns can easily leap up to 35 inches (30 centimeters) into the air, which is quite impressive for a creature this small.
Also, when they are happy and totally relaxed, you might catch rabbits purring, just like cats.
13. They Like to Digest Their Food Twice
Now, this fact doesn’t exactly fall into the “Ah, that’s so cute!” category, but bunnies do eat their poop sometimes, and there’s a reason for that. Here’s the deal: certain products are too hard for their digestive systems to break down. So, to get every single nutrient, rabbits munch on their own dung. More specifically, these droppings are called “cecotropes”, and they’re quite rich in minerals and elements.
14. For Pet Rabbits, the Outdoors Is a Danger Zone
Wild bunnies are used to surviving on their own, but the same can’t be said about domesticated rabbits. If the pet was brought up by a breeder or has been living in a shelter/adoption center since it was born, the outside can be lethal for it. First, the predators will be quick to chase it down. Secondly, the bun might try to chew on some plants, flowers, or lawn covered in insecticide.
Depending on how strong the chemicals inside that pesticide are, it might poison or even kill the rabbit. Some garden tools, other pets (like an angry neighbor’s dog), and even a harsh climate will also make the poor pet feel like it’s in a war zone. So, if you do decide to let it enjoy the outdoors, don’t let the bunny wander off.
15. Carrots Are Not Their Favorite Snack
Wait, what? Yes, that’s true: in contrast to what Bugs Bunny has taught us in the famous cartoons, rabbits aren’t crazy about carrots. They do enjoy them, of course, and including carrots in a bunny’s diet can be beneficial. However, if you give your pet too much of it, that might cause an upset stomach. Go slow and consult with a veterinarian to learn whether carrots are good for your rabbit or not.
16. Rabbit Teeth Never Stop Growing
Here’s another fascinating fact about bunnies: their teeth grow 24/7! In contrast to human, cat, or dog teeth that hit the brakes after we turn 21, rabbit fangs never stop growing. The same is true for the nails, by the way. That’s one of the reasons why rabbit grooming is important. You need to constantly trim the nails; otherwise, the pet will have a hard time walking, let alone running.
Do that at least once in 1–2 months. And to keep the teeth at a controlled length, you need to provide the bun with a steady supply of hay. When the pet chews on it, the hay will wear the teeth off. Some wooden toys will also come in handy. Sometimes, rabbit teeth become so big that it hurts the bun to chew on food. As a result, it will stop eating, which might lead to severe consequences.
17. They Are Heavy Drinkers
Rabbits do, indeed, drink lots of water. To put things into perspective, a bunny that weighs four pounds will drink as much as a doggo that weighs five times that (20 pounds). So, make sure there’s always a bowl of water available near the bun’s litter box. Also, don’t forget to refresh it from time to time. It’s recommended to do this at least once per day.
18. The Biggest Rabbit in History Weighed 55 Pounds
On average, bunnies weigh six pounds. The smallest breeds come in at 4.5–5 pounds. That wasn’t the case with Ralph, though. This gigantic ball of fur weighed 25 kilograms/55 pounds. In 2010, he was officially registered by Guinness World Records as the heaviest bunny to walk the Earth. That same year, another mighty beast, Darius, managed to dethrone the rabbit king.
However, three years later (in 2013, to be exact), Ralph got his title back. Every week, his owners would spend over $60 on food! This is interesting: Ralph’s parents, his mom Amy and dad Roberto, were also quite heavy. Back in their time, they were THE heaviest rabbits. Thus, in this case, we can clearly say that the strong genes were passed on to the younger generation.
19. The World’s Oldest Bunny Lived for 17 Years
Meet Do, a true centenarian with a record-breaking lifespan of 17 years. In the wilderness, most bunnies live for 5–8 years, while domestic pets “stick around” for up to 10–12 years. Now you can see why Do is so special. Just like Ralph, this incredible boy made a permanent mark on the world and his achievement was recognized by Guinness. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2013.
Back then, the boy was 17 years and two weeks old. It was a Jersey Wooly rabbit, by the way, hailing from New Jersey (Monmouth County, to be exact). Jenna Antol, a veterinarian, was this fascinating animal’s owner, and she adopted him in 1996. And now, almost ten years after his passing, the record still stands.
20. Rabbit Don’t Like Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are just as cute as bunnies—there’s no argument there. They always give rabbits a good run for their money. However, in the wilderness, they’re not exactly friends. And here’s why: despite the physical similarities, these two creatures are very different in how they communicate. Something that’s totally normal for a rabbit won’t be received well by a guinea pig.
Besides, rabbits are often hostile toward their “doppelgangers”. We’re talking about aggressive behavior like kicking, bullying, and even mating attempts. So, if you believe that a cavy will be a great companion pet to your bunny, we encourage you to rethink that. At the very least, keep them in different rooms. True, both animals are highly social, but they don’t like to be in the same space.
Babies and Bunnies: A Great Match or Not?
For a family of adults, yes, rabbits are amazing pets and can bring lots of joy. However, with kids, you will have to do your fair share of supervision. Bunnies are tiny, fragile creatures, and an inexperienced child may end up hurting them. Accidentally dropping a bunny, falling onto it, or even squeezing a bit too hard could lead to a disaster. So, if you have children in the house, rabbits won’t be the greatest starter pets.
More than that, if the rabbit wasn’t properly socialized, it might not like to be cuddled or picked up. Rabbits are high-maintenance pets and require regular attention and care. Unfortunately, too many folks buy rabbits on Easter only to return them to shelters or, worse, release the poor creatures into the harsh world with no food and many dangers. Don’t follow their example!
Rabbits are among the most loved and cherished pets in the States. Of course, they require attention and special treatment. But, at the end of the day, a single cuddle or binky from a bunny makes it all worth it. To create a strong bond, it’s important to know about their sleeping, eating, and social habits.
These crepuscular balls of fur hunt when it’s dark outside, socialize with fellow buns, and give birth to up to 14 babies in a single litter. At the same time, they do some weird stuff like swallowing hairballs, fighting guinea pigs, and eating their own droppings. Yes, rabbits are all that, but that’s exactly why we love them!
See also: 25 Types of Pet Rabbits (With Pictures)