Guidelines for keeping rabbits as pets
Your rabbit must be cared for by an adult (at least 18 years old). Rabbits are not recommended for children younger than 8 years old. Children aged 8 and over should take care of their rabbits.
The owner must ensure that these guidelines are followed and all requirements are met.
Environment for your rabbit
The rabbit’s environment is any space that the rabbit can access. This includes the area where the rabbit eats and sleeps as well as any areas that he excretes.
The environment must be enough to allow the rabbit do the following:
- Sleep and rest
- Eat and drink
- Get active and explore
- Begin a conversation with your companions
- Scent mark
Be alert for dangers and your companions.
Always provide shelter and protection for your rabbits from:
- Predators such as cats, dogs and foxes.
- Extremes in temperature indoors as well as outdoors
- Rain, wind, and sun.
At all times, rabbits should have easy access to hiding spots. Enclosures should have enough hiding spots to permit all animals to use them at any time. Good hiding places should be
- You should be a good size for the rabbit
- You can have more than one entrance
- Constructed from non-toxic materials
- Contain no sharp edges.
- Wooden boxes
- Paper sacks
- Drain pipes
Hide places should have suitable bedding, such as:
- Untreated wood shavings
- Shredded paper
Housing and living areas for your rabbit
Living areas indoors should be kept cool and out of direct sunlight. They should be protected from noises, draughts and direct heat. There should be two sections in the area: one for sleeping, and one for eating, drinking and excreting.
Your rabbits should have a safe place to call home. A living area can also be considered a sleeping space. This area is usually housed in a larger enclosure, or a run.
A rabbit should have at least enough space to live in.
- Stretch out in all directions.
- For rabbits older than 12 weeks, it is best to stand straight and not let your ears touch the top.
- Move about, eat and drink
- You should take at least three hops from one end of the track to the other.
Flooring for indoor housing
To minimize injury and distress to rabbits, flooring should be built and maintained.
Material should not be absorbent and must cover at least 0.1m2 of each cage’s total floor space.
- You can use a plastic base, or another material that is easy to clean.
- It is not recommended to use absorbent or wood surfaces.
- Regularly clean and disinfect the floor.
- It is not recommended to use wire mesh floors.
- You must wash and dry your bedding.
- Newspaper or towels are good options for bedding.
You should provide a hay tray of good quality hay that is regularly changed. A nesting area or nestbox is required.