Lifespan of Rabbits
Ordinarily, rabbits live for around 8-12 years with proper care. However, the age differs for outdoor rabbits as compared to the domesticated ones. Domesticated rabbits are known to live a slightly longer life as compared to outdoor rabbits. Rabbits are known to live for 3 to 5 years on an average in the wild. However, this number depends on the quality of the individual rabbit's life.
The life expectancy of rabbits also depends on the breed. Larger breeds tend to live for a shorter time (7 to 9 years) as compared to smaller breeds (8 to 12 years). Rabbits can be affected by respiratory infections, teeth issues like overgrown teeth, inner ear infections, sore hocks, and other health issues such as West Nile virus and fly strike disease.
Baby Rabbit Care
- Baby rabbits have a very few needs. However, failure to meet these needs may lead to their death.
- They need to be with the doe (mother rabbit) for at least the first four months of their lives. Chances of their survival otherwise are very slim.
- You need to check on the babies after their feed. This will mostly be around midnight, as that is when the doe feeds.
- You need to ensure that all the babies are in the nest at night. If any baby is out of the nest or is isolated from the rest of them, it could die.
- Their eyes will be shut till the 10th day after their birth. Hence, if any of the babies hasn't opened its eyes after the 10th day, contact a vet.
- Baby rabbits gain mobility when they are 20 days old. This is when they start venturing out of the nest. At this time, if they eat greens, they could get diarrhea. So, in case you had provided some greens to the doe in the nest, now is when you take it all out of the nest.
- Once the babies are eight weeks old, they will be able to fend for themselves. This is the right time to start separating them from the mother. However, let this be a gradual process to avoid any discomfort to them.
- In case you are the one providing the nutrition to the babies, avoid handling them unless it is absolutely essential.
- They need to be fed once or twice a day. You can give them 1 tablespoon of colostrum in half a cup of milk each.
- Until the age of one week, they need only about 5 cc of milk a day. This amount can be increased to 10 cc after one week, and towards the end of the third week, they can be given around 25 cc milk, but not more than 30 cc a day.
- Baby rabbits need stimulation in order to urinate and defecate. After the feeding, you can take a damp cotton ball and run it from their front legs up to the anus. Keep repeating this till the baby starts urinating or defecating and continue till it is finished.
More Rabbit Facts
- Rabbits have around 150 varieties of coat colors and 5 varieties of eye colors. The permutations and combinations are many. They can have numerous different appearances.
- Rabbits and hares are different animals belonging to the same family. Neither of them can be counted as rodents.
- Rabbits can see what is behind them without turning their heads.
- The oldest rabbit in the world was 19 years old when he died.
- They are capable of learning their own names and simple words like 'no', 'yes', etc.
- Rabbits are nearsighted (myopic) and have a blind spot right in front of them.
- Domesticated rabbits cannot survive in the wild if they are abandoned.
- Rabbits growl when they are about to attack out of fear.
- If a rabbit growls softly while jumping around you, it means that it loves you. That is their 'love dance'.
- Rabbits are born blind and fur-less. They can look a little scary, but this is when they need the most care.