How Long Do Rabbits Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 8 – 12 Years.

Everyone wants their pets to live a long and healthy life. Rabbits are one of the easiest animals to love as pets. This lovable animal can become a great companion to humans. Thus, when one has a pet rabbit at home or considers getting a rabbit as a pet, it is essential to know its average lifespan so that one can take care of it properly.

Rabbits, just like any other domesticated animals have an average lifespan which usually depends on the care which they receive from their owners. Unlike the wild rabbits which have a comparatively shorter lifespan of around 4 – 6 years, pet rabbits live a little longer as they are generally well taken care of in comparison to their wild relatives.

Usually, it is observed that larger breeds of rabbits tend to have a shorter lifespan compared to those rabbit breeds which are smaller in size.

How Long Do Rabbits Live?

Rabbit BreedsSizeLifespan
American ChinchillaLarge5 – 8 Years
Himalayan Large5 – 8 Years
Checkered GiantLarge5 – 8 Years
Belgian HareMedium7 – 10 Years
LionheadSmall8 – 10 Years
Netherland DwarfSmall10 – 12 Years
Mini LopSmall10 – 12 Years

Domesticated rabbits usually live between 8 – 12 years in contrast to wild rabbits which may live a few years less because they deal with diseases, starvation and predators. As there are numerous rabbit breeds across the world, it is difficult to determine whether specific breeds live longer than others but a rough estimate of the lifespan of different breeds of rabbits can be deduced.

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The main factor affecting the lifespan of a rabbit is the care, attention and affection they receive. A well-cared bunny that is kept indoors can easily live for 8 to 12 years. In fact, the oldest rabbit documented lived for an amazing 18 years.

Why Do Rabbits Live This Long?

Besides the care and attention given to a rabbit, there are myriad other factors that affect its lifespan. Factors like size, environment, breed, diet, etc can have a drastic influence on the lifespan of a bunny.

The size of a rabbit plays a fundamental role in determining a rabbit’s average lifespan. Smaller rabbits usually tend to live longer than larger rabbits. Thus, if the rabbit owned by a person is dwarf, one can expect it to live more years than a rabbit that is bigger in size.

The environment where the rabbit lives indirectly impacts its lifespan. A rabbit that lives indoors generally tends to have a higher lifespan compared to the one that stays outside because the former rabbit gets naturally protected while staying indoors unlike the latter one. Those that are out in the open are extremely vulnerable to harsh weather conditions, infections, predators and numerous viral diseases that can cause premature death of the rabbit.

Rabbits also tend to get bored easily. They are social animals and prefer to have a constant companion. Rabbits can be kept busy by giving them new toys which can help with their mental stimulation.

The breed of the rabbit also influences its lifespan. Rabbits of mixed breeds are observed to live longer than the ones belonging to pure breeds. Additionally, neutering and spaying the rabbits, especially when it is a female one can add few years to its life. Female bunnies are especially prone to contracting cancer if they are not spayed or not well taken care of.

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Most of the health problems for pet rabbits are usually caused due to foods that are incompatible with their digestive system. Rabbit’s digestive system is complex and thus, it is important that get a proper diet. Its diet must consist of hay, vegetables, fruits, treats as well as a constant supply of freshwater.

Conclusion

Rabbits need the right diet for their species as well as correct housing and companionship to ensure their longevity. Keeping a domesticated rabbit’s annual vaccinations up to date will help prevent any unwanted illness and diseases.

Overall, it is important to pay attention to the rabbit’s health and behaviour and make sure to consult a veterinarian if something seems wrong. Rabbits when properly cared for can easily live up to 12 years. Thus, if one is deciding is purchase a rabbit, be prepared to care for them that long.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/978-1-137-59572-0_7
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/David-Berman-10/publication/293556815_ARE_WE_GOING_TO_LET_THE_RABBITS_WIN/links/56b9876a08ae7e3a0f9f2f16/ARE-WE-GOING-TO-LET-THE-RABBITS-WIN.pdf

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