Rabbits

Rabbit Lifespan – How Long Do Rabbits Live? Care & Tips.

Rabbit Lifespan - How Long Do Rabbits Live Care & Tips
Written by Emma Watson

Bunnies are the most adorable creatures on the planet Earth, right. These lovable, little, social creatures are the favorite of many pet owners due to their exceptional solicitous nature. Pets are our family, and no one is ready to lose this puffball when it comes to bunnies. So, if your rabbit is living with you for years and has become part and parcel of your life, you must be worried about losing your pet. If that’s the thing that made you scroll through Google, you reached the right page.

There is a lot of stuff related to the age of cats and dogs on the internet, and however, when it comes to rabbits, there are many controversies. To get the most authentic information, I walked through multiple books, visited pet centers and hospitals, and recorded my daily practice experience.

Textbook sources I used were Diagnostic Parasitology for Veterinary Technicians 5th Edition, by Charles M. Hendrix DVM Ph.D. (Author), Ed Robinson CVT (Author), and Dyce, Sack, and Wensing’s Textbook of Veterinary Anatomy, 5e5th Edition by Baljit Singh BVSc & AH MVSc Ph.D. FAAA 3M National Teaching Fellow (Author).

So, continue reading to learn a lot more about bunnies and how you can better take care of them.

It is a common myth that small animals live short as compared to larger ones. That’s not true in every situation. Though the problem applies in small aves and some mammals, we see that they have a good lifespan when it comes to rabbits.

Rabbits, on average, live up to 10 to 12 years of age. Some rabbits may even live up to 14 or even 15 years of age.

That’s pretty long for these tiny creatures, right. However, If you take good care of your rabbit’s diet, grooming and prevent it from the attack of predators, parasites, and infectious microbes, your cute little friend will stay with you until its late teens. However, it may seem like a bit of overload, but we will make it easy for you.

In the later sections of this article, we will discuss all the good habits and things you can adapt quickly to take care of your rabbits at home. Moreover, what are the lethal diseases that can affect rabbits and prevent them from ensuring a healthy, long-living little bunny?

Let us talk a bit more about the life spans in different conditions for rabbits before moving to this section.

How Long Do Rabbits Live In The Wild?

There is a common question that do rabbits live more in their natural habitat? Are there anythings in the exotic environment or at home that is making your pet having less lifespan? The answer is NO. If you are taking care of your rabbit properly, the exotic surroundings will not affect its health and lifespan.

The maximum lifespan of the rabbits live in the wild is 8 to 9 years.

However, most rabbits do not get to live up to that age. It is because, in the wild, these little creatures face a lot of danger from the predators. Predators of rabbits include owls, hawks, falcons, eagles, feral cats, wild dogs, and ground squirrels. The shortest lifespan for rabbits in the wild is 6-8 months. And for most, rabbits live up to 1-2 years in the wild.

In fact, at your home, you take care of your rabbit’s food and shelter a lot, which increases its overall life expectancies. Some pet rabbits also lived through their teens due to their human parent’s utmost attention.

In the wild for rabbits we have,

Lifespan Of A Rabbit In The Wild
Lifespan
8-9 Years
Weight
1.2-2 kg
Length
30-40 cm
Color
Greyish Brown
Predators
Owls, Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, Feral Cats, Wild Dogs, Ground Squirrels

How Long Do Rabbits Live In Captivity?

Captivity affects the emotional health of any animal. Though it is not directly visible in the health in a short period, however, in the long run, it is going to affect the pet severely. Significantly, the case is augmented for social animals, like some breeds of dogs like Maltipoos, Maltese and other Poodle pups, cats, rabbits, and so on. Social animals tend to go through severe depression and ultimately develop aggressive behaviors to kill their loneliness. Moreover, it also has detrimental effects on its health. This depression also has a significant impact on the life span of the rabbits.

You have to take proper care of lab animals, see your rabbits, interact with them regularly, and follow well-defined rabbits’ lab protocols.

In captivity, rabbits may live up to 8-10 years.

It all depends on the level of care you are introducing. Remember giving a healthy and natural lifestyle to rabbits is the key to healthy and happy long-living rabbits. Moreover, as they are social animals, you have to introduce certain kinds of human or their fellow interaction to keep them mentally sound and stable. Furthermore, it is always the best idea to present any fun activity to keep them busy.

Different Rabbit Breeds Lifespan

Many people ask if the lifespan of the rabbits varies according to their breed. Moreover, if it is possible, in any way, to increase the expected lifespan of a particular species. Well, the answer to this question is a bit controversial.

Most of the rabbits live up to the mark, and it is well proven through studies and research that home brought rabbits to grow and live much healthier and more prolonged than the wild ones. So, at one point in time, yeah, with proper care and well-educated treatment, you can make your rabbit stay much longer with you than usual.

Age In Years Of Different Rabbit Breeds
Breed Name Lifespan
Holland Lop
7-12 Years
Lionhead
7-10 Years
Giant Angora
7-12 Years
Britannia
5-8 Years
American Sable
5-8 Years
Polish
5-6 Years
Checkered Giant
5-8 Years
Dutch
5-8 Years
Mini Lop
7-14 Years
Flemish Giant
5-7 Years
Californian
5-10 Years
Netherland Dwarf
10-12 Years
Angora
7-12 Years
Lop
8-12 Years
Rex
5-6 Years

There is also a very famous method of having a long-living rabbit baby. Go for a mixed breed instead of a pure breed intelligently so that you may have a better life span for your rabbit. So, if your priority has a longer lifespan rabbit, we suggest having a mixed breed one.

Also, you need to keep it indoors and observe all the environmental and dietary care. In this way, your rabbit will possibly enjoy your company until its late teens.

Factors Affecting A Rabbit’s Lifespan

Now, once we have discussed genetics and other factors affecting rabbits’ lifespan, we have certain other factors that can significantly affect your rabbit’s life. These are given as:

Size Of A Bunny:

The size of a particular bunny breed and the breed’s rabbit has significant effects on the lifespan. Unlike most myths you have heard, smaller rabbits have more chances to live a healthy and long life than larger ones. Therefore, if your rabbit is genetically dwarf or one of the two rabbits of the same breed is not growing that much, be happy; your bunny is going to survive with you for a long time.

However, make sure your bunny lacks height and weight due to dietary or environmental issues. It will have overall adverse effects on the total lifespan. If your rabbit is naturally dwarf, that’s great, as dwarf rabbits live more and are more healthy, active, and more resistant to infectious diseases than the large ones. You may also link to our another detailed article on Bunny As A Pet-Guide to mostly ask questions and know a lot more about rabbits’ sizes, weights, and characteristics.

Bunny’s Living Place:

As we discussed earlier, rabbits are prone to multiple predators. Unfortunately, most of these predators are very common in our surroundings. So, the choice between keeping your rabbit indoors or outdoor can significantly affect its life span. The more you are cautious about your rabbit, the more protection it will get against multiple predators. So, it is always the best idea to keep your bunny indoors most of the time. And even if you let it go free outdoor, make sure to walk along and keep an eye on it all the time.

Along with protection from predators, an indoor environment also protects bunnies from multiple suspected bacterial infections. These lethal diseases are the primary cause of premature death in bunnies encountering every kind of exotic object. Moreover, by keeping the rabbit indoors, you can also prevent your little friend from the harsh climatic conditions beyond these tiny creatures’ tolerance range.

Genetics And Grooming:

Genetics plays a significant role in determining the maximum lifespan a rabbit can have. You must have heard a lot about investing in pure breed rather than mixed one in the pets world. However, in the case of bunnies, we recommend you go for a mixed breed instead of a pure one. Moreover, shorter tiny rabbits are proven to be more healthy and stay a lot more with you. So, have mixed-breed care, and always make well-known decisions about the breed of the rabbit.

Moreover, if you want to have your rabbit’s increased lifespan, both for the male and female rabbit one, always go for spaying and neutering it. Recent research shows that 70% of female bunnies encounter more mammary, ovarian, and uterine cancer if they are not appropriately spayed. Moreover, these bunnies also have more severe hormonal-induced behaviors than spayed ones. So, pay good attention to spaying your rabbit and neutering in case of a male rabbit to avoid life-threatening risks. Both of these procedures should be done as soon as the rabbit reaches its sexual maturity.

Diet:

A balanced diet is one of the critical factors of the health of a bunny. Bunnies have a complex digestive system, so they need diversity in their dietary options to absorb all the essential nutrients for their growth.

Diet mainly affects the health and immune system of the rabbit. If your rabbit is not strong enough, it may quickly encounter life-threatening conditions and diseases. Ensure that the food you are feeding to your bunny daily is well compatible with its digestive system, and the rabbit is absorbing the maximum amount of nutrients from it.

Include hay, fruits, vegetable, freshwater, and occasional delicious treats to reward your bunny when it behaves well. Remember, do not go too far in giving yummy treats to your bunny as they can also harm in an increased amount. Know a lot about What bunnies can eat to ensure the food bowel has all the essential stuff rich in nutrients.

Attention:

Rabbits are one of the most social animals. They are social because when you are not paying enough attention to them, they start doing multiple weird things and sometimes become clingy to get your attention. Depression in rabbits is a real thing, and you need to acknowledge that you have to spend time with your bunny daily once you have it at your home.

If you have a busy schedule, set off some time solely for your bunny. At this time, you may feed it, play with it, talk and enjoy. Moreover, make sure you give it some entertaining rabbit toys to keep it busy when you are not in there. Otherwise, your rabbit will start developing aggressive and destructive behaviors to kill its boredom. All these negative behaviors will have poor effects on the overall rabbits’ health and total life span. Remember, a healthy, happy, and active rabbit is supposed to live much longer than a sad and week one. So, pay good attention to this.

Comparison Of Different Factors Affecting Lifespan:

So, if we compare multiple factors described above that are affecting the life span of the rabbit, we come to have the following figure:

Effect Of Multiple Factors On Overall Lifespan

So, now we know genetics and neutering/ spaying affect the overall rabbit’s lifespan. Moreover, along with other factors, predators and diet to the bunny have the most effects in determining the bunnies’ case-specific lifespan.

How To Increase Your Rabbit Lifespan

There are simple rules you need to follow to increase the life span of your rabbit.

Cuddles And Wellness

A healthy and happy rabbit lives a lot more than a weaker one. The more time you engage with them, play, and talk, the more they will feel loved, meaningful, and precious,s which will alleviate their mood and overall well-being. You can relate it to humans. A human living in a positive environment that makes them feel valued is much healthier and happier than living alone.

Protect It!

Make your bunny feel safe and protected in every possible way. Do not induce the fight response or a sudden sense of fear in your bunny. Rabbits have little heart, and even a tiny amount of sudden pressure can accelerate the heartbeat so high that it can also lead to a heart attack. Make sure your rabbit is living in a place where it is far from the sight of predators.

Predators are one of the possible causes of premature rabbit deaths, so take care of your bunny as much as you can.

Ensure Proper Climatic Conditions:

Rabbits are warm-blooded animals like humans. They cannot cope with a sudden temperature change. Moreover, rabbits are native to mild and cooler climates. Therefore, their body has not developed any system to cope with harsh climatic conditions. Thus, do not expose this little creature to extreme environments, especially to scorching ones. Also, ensure that your bunny does not encounter any sudden temperature change.

We cannot stress more on giving your rabbit a mild temperature environment, and good hydration as most rabbit deaths in summer are due to this reason.

Healthy Nutrition

Nutrition is one of the most critical factors to ensure rabbits’ health. The proper diet for a bunny must always have a high amount of fibers and hay. Diet can also cause multiple rabbit problems, including constipation, diarrhea, tooth decay, and obesity. So, always know everything about the Foods Rabbit Cannot Have In Its Diet.

Moreover, proper hydration for rabbits is necessary. In case of negligence, your rabbit may suffer from severe dehydration. So, always install a drip drinker for your rabbit filled with clean and fresh water. Make sure the water is in the most accessible position for the rabbits.

Physical Excercise And Play

The rabbit must be active both physically and mentally to have overall good health and life. Let your rabbit stretch its legs and hop in the open environment. However, keep a strict eye on the surroundings and ensure there are no predators. Moreover, giving your bunny some entertaining rabbit toys is also an option to help them exercise and stay active.

Disease Prevention:

Lethal infections and diseases are one the most addressed issue leading to premature rabbit death. Make sure to give your rabbits immunostimulant foods and protect them from the attack of harmful microbes. In the next section, we will talk about the most common diseases of rabbits and how you can avoid them.

Common Rabbit Diseases

Some common diseases in rabbits are given as:

  • Overgrown teeth
  • Hairballs
  • Snuffles
  • Myxomatosis
  • Uterine tumors

Overgrown Teeth

Cause And Clinical Signs

You may be familiar with the fact that rabbit’s teeth, unlike human teeth, grow throughout their life. So, if your rabbit is not constantly chewing and grinding high fiber foods and hay, their molar teeth may produce a lot and form sharp spikes, which can ultimately damage their tongue and cheeks.

The pain through this injury is so much that the rabbit stops eating and becomes week and weaker with time. There is also another case in which the rabbit’s anterior teeth(incisors) grow up so much that they form curved shapes in the form of tusks. These tusks make them unable to close their mouth and, in severe cases, unable to chew food at all. If you do not pay due attention to this fact, your rabbit may stop eating altogether, and eventually, its gut stop working, and it may die.

Prevention

Include fiber in the diet of your rabbit. Ensure that 80-90% of the food you are feeding to your rabbit has high fiber content in the form of grass, hay, or oaten. Moreover, make sure you are giving treats in a minimum amount. The same applies to leafy greens too.

Treatment

Burring the teeth is the only treatment. Do not try to do anything with the overgrowth teeth at home. If your bunny is facing the problem, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Hairballs (Trichobezoars)

Cause And Clinical Signs

Rabbit’sstomach typically has a significant number of ingrown hair as they grow. However, as you know that rabbits cannot vomit or generate any antiperistaltic movement. This hair must pass through the gut down to the feces. If this does not happen, this hair may gather up and form a resistant clog, which can cause GIT obstruction and some severe complications. Hairballs are very common in rabbits and must be considered if your rabbit is reluctant to eat, lethargic, and if you cannot figure out any other visible cause.

Prevention

If there is any issue with GIT motility or not providing enough fiber content in your bunny’s diet, your bunny will likely suffer from this problem. So, the only preventive measure is to introduce a high-fiber diet.

Treatment

Both medication and surgery are the treatments. Contact your vet, and he will prescribe medication in case the problem is not severe. Otherwise, surgery becomes the only option.

Snuffles (Pasteurellosis)

Cause And Clinical Signs

The leading cause of snuffles is the infection by bacteria called Pasteurella multocida. The symptoms include:

  1. Squinting Of Eyes
  2. Sneezing
  3. Redness Of Cornea Of Eyes
  4. Discharge From Eyes And Nose.
  5. Head Tilt
  6. Abscesses Causing Multiple Lumps On The Overall Body
  7. Uterine Infections

Prevention

Unless the rabbit’s immune system is working well, your rabbit cannot suffer from the disease, even if the bacteria attack. In fact, Pasteurella lives in the rabbits’ respiratory tract and stays latent until the bunny’s immune system becomes compromised.  The stress to the immune system is due to overcrowding or a sudden change in diet.

Treatment

Quarantine the rabbit affected by the disease. Usually, an entire course of antibiotics is prescribed to treat it thoroughly. Surgery may be recommended to remove an abscess.

Myxomatosis

Cause And Clinical Signs

Myxomatosis is a lethal virus usually transmitted by fleas, mosquitoes, or close contact between the virus and the healthy and infected rabbit. The most common symptoms of this diseases are

  1. Discharge From The Eyes
  2. Excessive Discharge From Nose And Anogenital Region
  3. Redness Of Eyes
  4. Swelling

Prevention

Unfortunately, vaccination of this disease of rabbits is still in short supply globally, and in most countries, it is used on a test basis. You may prevent this disease by investing in a good quality mosquito-proof hutch. Always bring your rabbit inside at dawn and dusk, as the number of mosquitos is always high. Use a pet-friendly mosquito repellant to ensure maximum safety. Ensure to control the fleas in the area where your rabbit lives. Moreover, always keep new rabbits in quarantine for two weeks before allowing free mixing with the older ones.

Treatment

There is no effective treatment of the disease, and in most cases, it is fatal.

Uterine Tumours

Cause And Clinical Signs

Uterine adenocarcinoma is very popular in female rabbits. It is the first suspicion whenever the un-desexed female rabbit becomes sick and lethargic. Other clinical signs and symptoms include

  1. Mammary Gland Cysts
  2. Bloodstained Vaginal Discharge
  3. Lethargy
  4. Aggressive Behavior.

Prevention

The only prevention is desexing and spaying in the early few months. Spaying should be done as soon as the rabbit reaches its sexual maturity. Pay attention to the procedure as quickly as possible as the rabbit gets 4-6 months of its age.

Treatment

Desexing before cancer spread to the whole body is the only treatment. Once cancer spreads, the situation becomes complicated to handle.

Conclusion:

Rabbits usually have a long period of life if they stay healthy. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the multiple factors mentioned above to keep your rabbit active and ultimately increase its life span. Moreover, be very vigilant about the rabbit’s behavior. Often there are subtle changes in the conduct of your rabbit that can clue at disease progression. If you notice anything different in the behavior, do not hesitate to contact your vet as soon as possible. Remember, the earlier the problem is diagnosed, easy it is to cure. Otherwise, once the disease has spread to the whole body, it becomes much difficult to handle.

In case of any query, feel free to contact us. Please drop a comment or email us; our team would be happy to help.