Soon to be new rabbit owner.
so i will be purchasing a rabbit soon, and i have many questions. first, how big should i make the cage for my rabbit? i want to get an american lop. is there anything special i should put in the cage? can i let my rabbit roam free while i'm home? how long do rabbits live for? and is a male or female better to have as a pet? or does it not matter? anything else you want to add please do! thank you!
Re: Soon to be new rabbit owner.
Welcome to the forum!
Like guinea pigs (and all animals) rabbits need to have a large enough living area to exercise, play, and have lots of enrichment (toys) so they don't get bored.
This site recommends a a pair of guinea pigs be kept in a 2x4 c+c cage. Rabbits are much larger than guinea pigs, have a much longer stride etc so need more room.
In the UK the RSPCA suggests a bare minimum of 2x6x2 foot for rabbits (12 sq feet). Personally I still think this is pretty small - once you put some toys and hideys in there is no room left to play.
I would say the minimum size would be a 3x6 c+c, although go for the biggest you possibly can.
Rabbits also need more cage height than guinea pigs - they must be able to stand up fully on their hind legs without touching the top. The cage should be at least two grids high.
Rabbits also tend to love upper levels, so a tall cage with lofts would be great (just make sure there are still areas within the cage that have a clear 2 grid vertical space.)
You can definitely free range rabbits when you are home, but you will need to litter train them and make sure the room they are in is completely rabbits proof (no electrical wires within reach etc).
I believe the average lifespan of a rabbit is about 7-10 years, although I'm sure someone here can be more accurate than that!
As for whether males or females are better, it is personal preference. I like boys myself. BUT - rabbits are a social species and need the company of their own kind. The best option is to get bonded, neutered pair - the best combo is usually a neutered male with a spayed female. Many rabbit rescues now neuter routinely (and will bond rabbits that come in singly) so it shouldn't be too hard to find them!
For more info check out these sites:
Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund
House Rabbit Society Rabbit Care Guide