Can Pet Rabbits Bond With Humans?

Pet rabbits can kind a detailed, affectionate bond with their people, very similar to canines or cats can. Whenever you deal with your pet rabbit not simply as a pet however as a companion, they are going to reply in flip. It’s a relationship constructed on mutual belief and affection, rising stronger as you spend time collectively.

Understanding your rabbit’s physique language is essential to accelerating this bonding course of. Rabbits talk a lot otherwise than people, so studying their distinctive methods of expressing contentment, concern, or curiosity will aid you bond extra shortly. By respecting their house and permitting them to method you on their phrases, you’ll discover they grow to be extra assured and prepared to have interaction.

Bear in mind, each rabbit has a definite character, and the best way they bond with you’ll replicate that. Of my two rabbits proper now, one in all them will go to sleep on my lap and lick my face each time she will get the possibility. The opposite likes to return and sprawl out on the ground subsequent to me, however prefers to not cuddle. 

Bonding along with your rabbit received’t occur in a single day, however with constant and caring interplay, you’ll quickly discover the particular connection you’ve been nurturing is beginning to flourish.

Rabbits can (and do) bond with their folks

Rabbits are recognized for his or her clever and social nature, thriving on interplay with different rabbits and people alike. Not like the old-fashioned perception that they’re merely cage pets, rabbits can flourish as companion pets, supplied they obtain the correct care and affection. When handled as a part of the household, rabbits will set up a big bond with their human counterparts.

Pet rabbits are completely able to recognizing particular person people and generally kind stronger bonds with some folks in your loved ones over others. Some rabbits even present a definite desire for human over rabbit firm.

In your journey to kind that particular connection, do not forget that rabbits categorical their affection otherwise. Some may search out pets and cuddles, whereas others may present their belief by merely selecting to take a seat close by. They’re liable to exhibit pleasure round their favored people, generally performing entertaining antics like binkies or giving affectionate nudges.

  • Discover ways to bond along with your rabbit by means of consistency on this nurturing course of and by respecting their particular person personalities.
step4: pet your rabbit on your lap
Some rabbits present their affection for people extra simply than others.

Is human companionship sufficient for rabbits

Within the rabbit group, that is a particularly controversial matter. Many individuals imagine that rabbits should at all times be saved in pairs and teams for their very own welfare and happiness, whereas others imagine that human companionship is sufficient for rabbits.

I imagine that whereas all rabbits want some type of socialization, human companionship is steadily sufficient. Discover I didn’t say it’s at all times sufficient. I favor to take a extra nuanced method to this matter and ask that you just attempt to maintain an open thoughts as I clarify my viewpoint.

I imagine wholeheartedly that it depends upon the circumstances and the character of the person rabbits. From what I’ve skilled working with rescue rabbits, some rabbits do greatest with others of the identical species, whereas many others are a lot pleased with people as companions. I imagine it’s vital to look at your rabbit’s habits and social cues to find out if human companionship is sufficient to meet the social wants of your bunny.

First, I wish to point out among the analysis that I’ve discovered that brings extra nuance to this matter. In 2016, a complete evaluation of research on rabbit habits and socialization was printed. There are two main findings on this examine that trigger me problem the concept that bonded rabbits are at all times the best way to go:

  1. Subordinate rabbits confirmed increased ranges of stress and confirmed notably much less exercise and ‘glad’ behaviors (resembling relaxed postures, binkies, zoomies) in contrast with the dominant rabbits in pairs and teams. This leads me to imagine that social hierarchies are usually not useful to all rabbits, and it actually depends upon the kind of relationship the person rabbits have with one another and the way mutual their relationship is.
  2. The opposite discovering was that most of the earlier research performed to find out whether or not rabbits most popular group dwelling or solitary dwelling didn’t consider the quantity of house the rabbits got. That’s to say, rabbits who’re saved in teams are likely to have bigger cages or enclosures, which immediately impacts the happiness of the rabbit. It’s unclear whether or not the presence of different rabbits made a lot of a distinction in rabbit welfare as a lot as having a big enclosure did. There was even a examine performed testing whether or not rabbits would select a solitary pen if it was sufficiently massive, and greater than half the rabbits (each dominant and subordinate) most popular the solitary pen.

Now, I wish to be clear that I’m not saying that I imagine all rabbits must be saved separate and bonding rabbits is a sham. For one, virtually all research on rabbits are pretty small, and have a tendency to have a look at the habits of unaltered rabbits. They can’t be taken as conclusive proof come what may. 

Nevertheless, I do assume it’s okay to query the standard data and decide primarily based on the character and particular person wants of your rabbit.

Happy rabbit behaviors
A cheerful bunny is extra prone to be energetic, zooming and binkying across the room. They’re additionally extra prone to really feel secure and flop over after they sleep.

Take your rabbit’s character under consideration

Similar to folks, rabbits have their very own inclinations. Some could also be outgoing and sociable, whereas others are extra introverted and impartial. Like many individuals favor the corporate of different animals, some rabbits even appear to favor hanging out with folks greater than the corporate of their very own species. 

The easiest way to know in case your rabbit may use a companion of their very own species is to look at their physique language. Does your rabbit have loads of glad behaviors? Do they zoom and binky after they hang around with you? Or are they considerably aggressive and wired round folks? 

Happy rabbit behaviors

I bumped into this wrestle after I went to discover a companion for my Ellie. She’s a reasonably impartial rabbit and was fairly glad, however I really imagine it was the suitable factor to do to get one other rabbit. So I introduced one other rabbit house, Teddy Bear, and bonded the 2 of them. 

However the factor is, although the 2 of them obtained alongside effectively sufficient for some time, Ellie steadily tried to seek out locations she may go on her personal. It was as if she needed to be extra impartial. Finally, I imagine that is what led to their falling out. The 2 had an enormous struggle after a few yr of being bonded, and I haven’t been in a position to rebond them since. 

But, they each one way or the other appear happier now that they’re separated. They are going to now groom one another by means of a fence separating them, however each additionally get their very own house to reside and play. Teddy Bear has additionally gained loads of confidence now that he’s not the subordinate rabbit dwelling underneath the dominant Ellie.

So, what I’m saying is to look at your rabbits habits and determine for your self what’s proper even when it’s towards the standard knowledge. Your rabbit could not be capable of use phrases, however these behaviors are telling you ways they really feel. In case your rabbit is telling you that they’re glad, it’s okay to imagine them.

My Experiences with Rescue Rabbits

By my time working with rescue rabbits, one factor’s been clear: each single rabbit I’ve labored with has benefitted from respectful human connection.

Rabbits come to the shelter with all kinds of previous experiences. Some are household pets that have been surrendered, others have been deserted open air, and a few come from rabbit hoarding and unlawful breeding operations. 

Whether or not these rabbits have by no means been socialized with people, or they’re already pretty pleasant with people, I’ve seen first hand how easy, calm interactions with workers members and volunteers helps the rabbits really feel extra comfy and assured throughout their keep. You see the change most importantly with rabbits who come to the shelter as anxious or aggressive rabbits. The extra these rabbits get to know the shelter staff, the extra indicators of happiness they present, studying to return out of their shells over time.

This private expertise with caring for a whole lot of rabbits from completely different backgrounds leads me to imagine that human companionship does make an enormous distinction. It’s an attractive course of to look at rabbits be taught to belief and love, and I don’t assume we should always ignore the good constructive impact that human companionship can have for rabbits.

sitting with a rabbit
Rabbits are very social with folks and might make nice companions should you spend time with them.

How a lot time are you able to spend along with your rabbit?

The opposite factor you actually need to contemplate is how a lot time you might be spending along with your rabbit. Whereas I don’t assume they essentially want socialization with one other rabbit, my expertise with rescue rabbits leads me to imagine that some type of socialization and companionship is important to their total wellbeing. 

When you’re away from house an excessive amount of, then your companionship won’t be sufficient to your rabbit. That is very true should you’re steadily away on work journeys, weekend holidays, otherwise you are likely to spend evenings out and mornings sleeping in.

Usually, should you work 9-5 it’s okay since it is a pure bunny nap time. And don’t really feel like you’ll be able to by no means take a trip or go for a pleasant night out. Nevertheless, if it is a frequent incidence, your rabbit may profit from just a little extra companionship that you just’re in a position to give them.

Will a rabbit lose curiosity in folks when bonded with one other rabbit?

Whenever you bond your pet rabbit with one other bunny, it’s pure to marvel in the event that they’ll grow to be much less affectionate or thinking about you. The reality is, your rabbit can nonetheless preserve a powerful bond with you, even after forming a detailed relationship with one other rabbit. Similar to folks, rabbits are in a position to preserve a number of sturdy bonds all through their life.

Right here’s what you’ll be able to count on:

  • Time Sharing: Your rabbits will divide their time between one another and also you. You’re nonetheless a valued a part of their world!
  • Routine Issues: When you sustain along with your common cuddle and playtime periods, your rabbits will proceed to stay up for them.
  • Particular person Personalities: Some rabbits naturally search human interplay greater than others.

By persevering with to be a supply of consolation and security to your rabbits, you’ll discover that their affection in direction of you stays. They’re able to loving each their rabbit companion and their human caretakers.


  1. Burn, CC, and P Shields. “Do Rabbits Want Every Different? Results of Single versus Paired Housing on Rabbit Physique Temperature and Behaviour in a UK Shelter.” Animal Welfare 29.2 (2020): 209–219. Internet. Accessed: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/animal-welfare/article/abs/do-rabbits-need-each-other-effects-of-single-versus-paired-housing-on-rabbit-body-temperature-and-behaviour-in-a-uk-shelter/77C65B1FA433F8C5F739E804FED005B5 
  2. DiVincenti L Jr, Rehrig AN. “The Social Nature of European Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).” J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2016 Nov;55(6):729-736. PMID: 27931309; PMCID: PMC5113872. Accessed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5113872/ 
  3. S.D.E. Held, R.J. Turner, R.J. Wooton. “Selections of laboratory rabbits for particular person or group-housing.” Utilized Animal Behaviour Science Vol. 46 Iss. 1-2. Accepted 14 June 1995, Accessible on-line 16 March 2000. Accessed: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/016815919500632X 

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