Rabbits belong to a group of mammals known as ‘Lagomorpha’. It’s thought that the Lagomorpha evolved in Asia at least 40 million years ago. There are now more than 60 recognised breeds of domestic rabbit in Europe and America, which have descended from the European rabbit. Their Latin name (Oryctolagus Cuniculus) means ‘Hare-like digger of underground tunnels’, which perfectly sums up a rabbit’s natural behavior of living underground in a burrow.
Imagine you lived in a box. It was clean, you were regularly fed, but only let out every now and again to stretch and run for a couple of hours. You’d live, you’d survive, but would you be happy?
Rabbits Are Crepuscular Creatures
Rabbits live on a different body clock to humans, they are crepuscular creatures, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Rabbits have developed to live in this way, as in the wild these are the best times to go out to find food, because the low levels of light help them to hide from predators. That’s why it’s so important for rabbits to have 24 hour access to an area they can run around in whenever they want, and be free to behave in a natural way.
Rabbits are prey animals, which means they are hunted or captured for food by other animals known as predators. They are targeted by many predators, such as cats, dogs, weasels, and most commonly, foxes.
Guinea Pigs - One House Doesn’t Fit All
You’ll often find that many hutches on the market are designed for use by both rabbits and guinea pigs. These very different animals are generalised despite having different personalities, sizes and extremely different needs.
Cleaning Your Rabbit’s Home
Part of providing the correct environment for your rabbit includes ensuring that their living space is safe and hygienic. A dirty living area can cause health problems, such as respiratory conditions, sore hocks/feet, urine burns, and dirty bottoms which could lead to Flystrike.