Rabbits are popular pets, especially with children. However, when children express a desire to have a rabbit, it is advisable not to make a hasty decision. Before purchasing, certain information about the animal should be obtained.
How long do rabbits live? Life expectancy often contributes significantly to the decision for or against a pet. When animals are several years old, one finally has to ask oneself whether there is still enough time in a later phase of life to take on responsibility for the animal roommate.
How Long do Rabbits Live on Average?
The question of the life expectancy of rabbits is difficult to answer. It is often said that rabbits live to eight to ten years of age on average and it is true – the little carrot lovers can easily live a whole decade. Compared to humans, a rabbit of this age is then an 80-year-old senior, since a rabbit year is calculated to be about eight human years.
However, one should be fully aware that the increasing overbreeding in recent years has harmed rabbits. Although medical care is getting better and better, it is for this reason that we, unfortunately, have to speak of a falling life expectancy. Rabbits are generally much more susceptible to diseases these days.
They struggle with new health problems such as buck teeth, which are caused by the fact that the head is bred smaller and smaller in order to increase the cuteness factor. In the case of lop rabbits who also owe their floppy ears breeding creativity, ear problems are very much more common than in rabbits with normal ears.
It is therefore very important to consult a veterinarian immediately in the event of symptoms of the disease, regardless of whether the animal is only one year old or ten. Rabbits hide diseases for a very long time. This is a natural behavior that domestic rabbits have adopted from the wildlife kingdom, which excludes sick and weak animals from the colony.
Incidentally, the average life expectancy in nature is far below that of our domestic rabbits. Rabbits that live in the wild typically live to be between 1 and 2 years old. This corresponds to about 10 to 20 human years. Most rabbits in the wild do not survive in the first year.
Good Care is a Prerequisite for Old Age
Even if there is no guarantee of a long life, reaching an old age naturally requires good care. When it comes to housing, the bigger the cage, the better. However, an outdoor pen with an additional outdoor enclosure offers a number of advantages for rabbits. They are relatively free and are offered a life that is more primal than that in a room cage.
In this case, of course, keepers must ensure adequate protection against all weather influences such as heat, rain, snow, and drafts and against dangers such as pests and robbers. It is also important that at least two animals are kept together, as the hoppers are group animals by nature and quickly feel lonely on their own.
There are also a few things to consider when it comes to nutrition. If rabbits are fed too high calories on dry food, snack sticks, drops, etc., they accumulate fat: the liver becomes fatty and the life expectancy of the animals decreases considerably. A diet rich in raw fiber is essential for long and healthy life.
First and foremost, good hay should always be available in large quantities. This is also important for the abrasion of the constantly growing teeth. A healthy rabbit diet also includes regular but not excessive feeding of fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs, branches, roots, and flowers.
When is a Rabbit Old?
A rabbit is usually considered a senior from the age of six. If the origin of the animal is not clear, it is always difficult to correctly estimate the age of a rabbit. A few signs of appearance and behavior can be used to roughly estimate the age. These include: graying fur (gray hair tips), clouding of the eyes, loss of appetite or reduced food consumption, inability to overcome obstacles and elevations, frightfulness, increased resting and sleeping as well as reduced activity.
Regular visits to the vet (every six months) are particularly important for senior rabbits. From time to time, giving vitamin B12 can also make sense and ensure a better well-being of the animal. It is also important to always adapt to the needs of your rabbit. If rabbits show certain signs of aging, extreme elevations and difficult arrangements of tunnels or the like should be avoided, for example.
Despite the trend towards decreasing life expectancy due to overbreeding, rabbits can reach a handsome age. Before making a purchase, you should therefore carefully consider whether you are willing to accept this long-term commitment and responsibility. Rabbits’ needs cannot be turned on or off. The cute little animals are always dependent on the benevolence of their people.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do domesticated rabbits live?
Depending on the breed, domesticated rabbits can live between 5 and 12 years. Converted into human years, this corresponds to between 50 and 120 years.
Proper care plays a major role in life expectancy. A rabbit that is well cared for, gets the right nutrition and also receives the right medical care lives much longer on average than a rabbit that is left on its own.
How long do rabbits live as pets outdoors?
Rabbits that live as pets outdoors are on average slightly older than indoor rabbits, with an average lifespan of up to 14 years. However, frequently changing living environments is less good for the life expectancy of the rabbit. A rabbit that changes environment and thus spends part of the year indoors and part of the year outdoors is the most susceptible to disease and generally do not live long.
The size of the enclosure also plays a role. A large and spacious loft is better for life expectancy than a small one. Furthermore, it goes without saying that a place in full sun is not conducive to the life expectancy of the rabbit.
You can also increase the life expectancy of your rabbit through plenty of exercises, fresh air, and sun. With an outdoor enclosure, however, you should pay particular attention to predator-proof housing.