ADOPTION, DAILY LIFE
The basics of cohabitation
Julie Lambert, Paris, France
October 14, 2020
There you are, you have adopted your new protégé, the latter has discovered his new family, his new home, he has taken the time to get to know you and can no longer separate from you. However, you are absent during the day and you find that he feels a little lonely. You wonder if you could not offer him a little playmate? But what a good idea, but first, let’s see together the interest of such an approach and how to make it happen in the best possible way.
Pinpin made me understand that he desperately needed a companion.
Photographed by Vincent Ribet.
01 – Why do rabbits live together?
In the wild, the rabbit is an animal with an extremely complex social system. Just like animals such as lions or wolves, rabbits form a group with very particular mores in the wild in which the hierachy has a very important place. The rabbit is said to be a gregarious animal, that is to say that they live in groups and have an instinctive tendency to gather and adopt the same behavior.
The pet rabbit, although far away from its fellow creatures, still shares this social instinct and that’s why it may be important not to adopt only one rabbit.
02 – Pros and cons
- Allow your rabbit to regain a social bond close to its natural state.
- Avoid your rabbit to feel lonely when you are away.
- Allow your rabbit to express his true identity with one of his fellow rabbits, with whom he will be able to fully communicate.
- The adoption of a new rabbit automatically leads to the multiplication of everything by two (time to give, cage, food, veterinary fees, education…etc).
- The cohabitation of the domestic rabbit can sometimes be long and difficult to set up.
03 – All the possibilities
Before leaving to adopt a new rabbit in a pet store, breeder or association, it is also important to know that all cohabitations do not have the same degree of difficulty and that it is important to take the sex of your current rabbit into consideration.
Male – male cohabitation: If your male is not neutered and/or the male you are going to adopt is not neutered either then it is not even worth thinking about it. The two rabbits may fight to the death to establish a hierarchy. Why such behavior? Simply because the sexual instinct of the rabbit is among the most developed in the world and therefore neither male will want to give ground to the other.
If both males are neutered, cohabitation is then possible, although not recommended because it is very complicated, long and can still end badly.
Female – female cohabitation: As with unspayed males, two unspayed females is an almost impossible and very risky cohabitation. Females have the habit of defending their territory with great violence, leading to major fights.
If both females are spayed or neutered, cohabitation is possible by making sure that neither rabbit is too dominant. However, it must be kept in mind that this type of cohabitation can take a relatively long time to set up.
Male – female(s) cohabitation: A rabbit and one or more unspayed rabbits can live together, which is the closest to their natural state. Nevertheless, you are not safe from a certain domination between the rabbits which can result in some fights but also many litters of bunnies that this can generate.
A castrated male rabbit and one or more sterilized female rabbits can live together in perfect harmony and form an ideal couple (or trouple…etc). Cohabitation will be relatively simple after a few first encounters on neutral ground.
04 – Any other parameter to take into account?
Other parameters such as age or race are of little importance in the successful implementation of cohabitation. An old rabbit can live with a young one and a big rabbit can get along with a very small one.
Before concluding, I would like to remind you that all rabbits have different characters and temperaments and therefore there will always be exceptions to what I say.
Now that you know all this, you have the keys in hand to go and adopt a new rabbit for your current little protégé. In a future article I will explain the necessary steps to succeed efficiently and as quickly as possible in your cohabitation.