Are you thinking of having a rabbit as a pet? These adorable and fluffy bunnies are great companions and can live a full life with proper care.
You might be wondering, how long do rabbits live? This article will explain their lifespan and provide tips on making them live a long and healthy life.
What is the lifespan of domestic rabbits?
A pet rabbit’s average lifespan is ten years. So, if you’re planning to welcome a bunny into your home, it would be best to prepare for a longtime commitment. Proper care and a nurturing environment can increase their chances of living longer.
Do wild rabbits live as long as domestic rabbits?
Contrary to a domestic rabbit’s lifespan, rabbits who freely roam in the wild have short lifespans. They usually live for only a year or two. In fact, a wild rabbit who has lived until its second year is already considered very lucky.
The harsh environmental conditions prevent wild rabbits from living a long life. Dealing with predators, starvation, and disease makes it difficult for them to live as long as their domestic counterparts.
How long did the oldest rabbit live?
The Guinness Book of World Records lists Flopsy, a rabbit from Tasmania, Australia, as the world’s oldest rabbit. He lived for 18 years and ten months and went way beyond a rabbit’s average lifespan.
In 1964, a farmer named L.B Walker caught the buck and raised it as a pet. His wife took care of Flopsy and gave it apples, vegetables, grass, and clover.
The rabbit’s owners attribute his longevity to his healthy and sufficient diet, relaxed environment, and the love from the couple’s children.
Given that wild rabbits are relatively tougher than their domesticated counterparts, Flopsy also thrived on the safety of his home, safe from extreme heat or cold.
He never had to rummage for food nor battle it out with predators and hunters. According to his owners, he never got sick or showed old age signs.
What rabbit breeds have long lifespans?
Generally, miniature rabbit breeds tend to have longer lifespans than larger breeds. Little bunnies such as mini lops and dwarf rabbits can live up to ten years or more.
On the other hand, giant breeds, including Flemish giants and French lops, don’t usually have the same longevity as their smaller counterparts.
What is the lifespan of different rabbit breeds?
Domestic rabbit breeds belong to the same species and are descendants of wild European rabbits. However, despite having a common ancestor, these rabbits have physical differences that cause variations in their lifespan.
Rabbit Breeds and Their Lifespan
Giant rabbits generally have shorter lives than smaller ones. They usually do not live beyond four to six years. Compared to other smaller breeds, giant rabbits are less energetic.
Dwarf rabbits are the third most preferred furry companion after dogs and cats. They can live longer than eight years given the proper care and nutrition.
Himalayan rabbits are also small and weigh only about four to five pounds. They can live for more than eight years and do not need much grooming due to their minimal fur.
This rabbit breed is known for its variety of colors: chocolate brown, cinnamon brown, amber, black, and blue. They usually do not survive as long as other breeds -only up to six years.
Lop Eared Rabbits
Lop-eared rabbits have a more friendly temperament than dwarf bunnies, making them lovely pets. Miniature lop rabbits can live for about nine to ten years, while bigger versions of this breed can only live for about five to six years.
You can expect Polish rabbits, another small breed, to live for eight to ten years. They also have less fur and usually have no health issues.
This friendly breed of rabbits is an excellent pet for kids. You can expect these bunnies to live for seven to nine years. Here is a chart that summarizes the lifespan of these breeds.
Average Life span
British, French, Spanish, and Flemish Giants
Mini English Angora, Netherland Dwarf
Blue, Lilac, Chocolate, and Black
Lop Eared Rabbits
American Fuzzy Lop-eared, Mini-lop, English Lop-eared
9-10 years (small breeds)
5-7 (giant breeds)
New Zealand Rabbits
Red, White, Black
Blue-eyed white, Ruby-eyed white
Double Mane, Single Mane
Want to know more about different rabbit breeds? Please watch this video.
What factors affect a rabbit’s lifespan?
Various rabbit breeds may have different life expectancy rates, but other factors can affect how long they live. Proper care and attention are common factors influencing a pet bunny’s lifespan.
Nutrition and Diet
The amount, quality, and nutritional value of food that you give your rabbits significantly affect their longevity. If their meals do not have enough fiber, vitamins, and minerals, their health will suffer. An unhealthy rabbit can get sick often and won’t live for very long.
A pet rabbit’s diet can include vegetables, hay, and special pellets found in most pet stores. Once in a while, you can give the fruits and treats but make sure you won’t overdo it.
Remember that too much food is as bad as too little. The key is moderation and balance when it comes to their feeding.
Environment and Lifestyle
Rabbits can thrive both indoors and outdoors as long as they have ample space where they can hop and roam. They also need stimulating activities and toys to keep them alert and happy.
Rabbits who are kept in cages all the time will not get the enrichment, mental stimulation, and exercise they need to live long, healthy lives.
Too much stress can also cause sickness and even death to your rabbits. When they experience being grabbed, chased, or taunted, whether, by another animal or a person, they might go into shock. Pain and fear can cause death in rabbits.
Just like any pet, rabbits can also suffer from illnesses or parasites. These health issues can shorten their lifespan if left untreated. Common rabbit diseases include myxomatosis, viral hemorrhagic disease, flystrike, and ear mites.
Does or female rabbits are also prone to uterine and mammary cancers, while bucks or male rabbits can also get testicular cancer. Having your pet bunnies spayed or neutered can help them live long, cancer-free lives.
Breed and genetic makeup
The primary purpose of rabbit breeding is for them to become pets. However, some breeders create breeds for meat purposes. Meat rabbits such as New Zealand Whites and Flemish Giants have shorter lifespans.
How to Make Your Rabbits Live a Long and Healthy Life
You can increase the chances of your pet rabbit living a full and healthy life by providing them with proper care, attention, and of course, love.
Here are some ways to ensure your adorable bunnies can reach their entire lifespan, or even more.
Feeding Your Rabbits
- Please give them a balanced diet of green leafy vegetables, hay or grass, and pellets. Feeding them store-bought pellets may be convenient, but they need fresh produce for nutrients and fiber content.
- Please provide them with high-quality grass or hay. A rabbit’s digestive system needs grass to function optimally.
- Ensure that they always have fresh and clean drinking water. Please check the rabbits’ water containers at least twice a day and refill them when necessary. Make sure also that their water does not freeze in the winter. Remember that a dehydrated rabbit can get seriously ill.
- Control their consumption of root crops and fruits. You may give them as treats but not as a complete meal. Avoid giving them store-bought treats since they can do more harm than good.
Preparing their Environment
- Rabbits love to dig and burrow, so it would be best to provide them opportunities to practice this natural behavior. You may fill a cardboard box with shredded paper or a litter tray with soil to create a makeshift digging area.
- Provide stimulating toys that are safe for your rabbits. Balls, plastic pots, untreated straws, and wicker are only some of the few items that can provide an enriching day for your pets.
Monitoring their Health and Wellbeing
- At the first sign of diseases, such as losing appetite or lethargy, bring your rabbit to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. The key is to catch the sickness early on before it gets worse or spreads to other rabbits, if any.
- Ask kids to treat the rabbits with care and respect. Grabbing, yelling, and startling can seriously harm the bunnies, so it’s a big no-no.
The answer to “how long do rabbits live?” is one of the most important details you need to know before committing to having a bunny as a pet.
Various breeds have different average lifespans, and some factors may affect each one differently. The bottom line is that a properly cared for and loved rabbit can live a long and healthy life.