If you want to socialize rabbits or take in several at once in your home, one question is of crucial importance: How can I tell if the animals like each other?
After all, incompatible conspecifics could not only live in constant stress, but also lead to extremely dangerous fights.
Even at the beginning, you should pay close attention to how they interact with each other.
In this article you will learn which signs you can use to conclude that your rabbits get along well and how you can promote social coexistence.
Signs of mutual affection
It’s relatively easy for you to tell if your rabbits like each other. This is because they show it very clearly.
Typical associated behaviors include:
- Relaxed behavior in each other’s presence: If the animals get along with each other, they are relaxed. They roll around, sleep on their sides, play, run and just feel comfortable.
- Cuddling: Cuddling up to each other only happens when there is basic compatibility. Especially when sleeping and at lower temperatures outdoors, lying close together is also important to keep body temperature at a healthy level.
- Grooming: Grooming each other is a dead giveaway. Especially if your rabbits are licking each other’s faces, they have great affection for each other.
- Calm interaction: Constant humming, hissing, turf wars and avoidance or submissiveness cause immense stress to your rabbits. If, on the other hand, they are calm and relaxed with each other, eating from the same bowl or next to each other, you can rest easy.
- Play: Those who like each other, tease each other. Playful chasing, nudging, sniffing, pushing toys around – these are all clear signs that your rabbits get along wonderfully and you have nothing to worry about.
These behaviors are already noticeable in the pet store or at the breeder!
Therefore, take your time to observe the rabbits closely. It is not uncommon for two or more animals to cuddle together remarkably often, groom each other or play with each other, share food and generally seem like a good pair or a wonderfully attuned group.
Can behavior change over time?
Unfortunately, it is possible.
Even with animals that initially get along very well, there is no guarantee of lifelong happiness and contentment with each other.
When they reach sexual maturity or the external circumstances of keeping them are not right, fights can be downright provoked. Even littermates can sometimes “grow apart.”
Also health problems or depression can cause the animals to be irritable and suddenly react aggressively for seemingly no reason. So you should always watch out for changes in behavior and react to them early.
Are there disadvantages when rabbits get along very well?
One disadvantage is that the animals suffer a lot when they are separated.
For example, if a rabbit has to be isolated for medical treatment or even dies, this is very difficult for your rabbit that is left behind. Increased cuddling sessions, distraction through games, and a new partner if necessary can’t avoid this, but can still be good for their well-being.
10 Tips: What helps to ensure rabbits get along well?
So that your cute pets get along well with each other, you should pay attention to some points. We have compiled the corresponding tips for you.
Tip 1: Create enough space
Whether you buy several rabbits at once or add a fellow rabbit later, the animals always need enough space. Otherwise they will not be able to get out of each other’s way.
Conflicts are then pre-programmed!
In addition, keeping them in too small a space is not species-appropriate and offers hardly any opportunities for variety and occupation. This can also play a decisive role. Because the behavior of the rabbits depends, among other things, on how comfortable they feel. If every little thing becomes a resource, the animals will also fight over it.
Therefore, give them a lot of space and numerous employment opportunities. This already provides a good basis for them to at least get along and tolerate each other. Because if there is enough of everything, everyone has enough and there are significantly fewer conflicts.
Tip 2: Avoid dead ends
The risk for serious and dangerous fights increases if there are dead ends in the cage or in the run. This is because if a rabbit is cornered, it may develop fear aggression and launch a counterattack instead of dodging, or it may be injured itself because there is no escape route.
Animals should be able to chase each other playfully. However, you should avoid opportunities to corner a rabbit.
Tip 3: Offer activities
Rabbits that are busy are more relaxed. This is true for all animals. Variety and activity are therefore important for a good relationship. Boredom will lead to frustration sooner rather than later.
Good and simple solutions are toys and food toys.
The work is directly rewarded.
Since rabbits have a stuffed stomach, they need to eat regularly.
So in the wild, they would be busy foraging for a large part of the day. Toys or cardboard rolls can be filled with food so that they also have to work for at least part of their food when kept indoors or in the garden.
Also the hanging up and attaching at always new places position themselves offer themselves.
Remember: rabbits are very intelligent animals.
Tip 4: Pay attention to health
Digestive problems, cramps, pain – these health problems and more can lead to aggression or defensive reactions.
Take these signs seriously in any case. A medical examination is recommended in any case of sudden changes in behavior.
In addition, carry out regular and thorough checks. Only in this way can you really keep an eye on the state of health.
Tip 5: Provide different resting areas
Rabbits need areas to retreat to. Sleeping houses, tunnels and sleeping caves are ideal for this.
In summer, they should be cool and shady places. In winter, on the other hand, the animals need warm areas that conserve their energy reserves. For indoor rabbits, this is only true to a limited extent.
In any case, you need to make sure that there is enough space for everyone. Because even if your animals get along well with each other, they occasionally want to be alone. This in turn requires sufficient space.
If you lack the floor space: build in height!
Apartment hutches can also have several floors. Connected by ladders suitable for rabbits, your animals can spread out as they wish. Make sure that there is sufficient protection to avoid falls.
Tip 6: Provide sufficient exercise
Running, sprinting and pushing each other provides physical exercise. Musculature, blood circulation and supply profit from it. This also applies to the psyche and well-being.
Having as much space as possible available for at least a few hours a day can therefore improve the animals’ interaction with each other.
Tip 7: Avoid stress
Sometimes rabbits can be so stressed by external stimuli that they take out their displeasure on other rabbits. If the cage or hutch is in a busy and noisy place, or if your animals are repeatedly disturbed, this can affect the entire group.
Conflicts do not necessarily have to occur. Health problems, shy behavior and hiding are all possible, as is aggression.
Tip 8: Give the rabbits time
Especially with new arrivals, you should allow enough time for acclimation and socialization. Keep the animals separated at first – but in such a way that they can see, hear and smell each other.
Then, under supervision, a first meeting can take place.
Instructions: Bringing young rabbits together with older rabbits
Keeping the rabbits separated at first is advisable anyway, as quarantine is important to exclude parasites or other health problems, especially in groups.
If pests or pathogens spread among the animals, you will have to treat them all.
This means a lot of suffering, effort and last but not least money.
Tip 9: Avoid fights
Rank fights among rabbits are not uncommon. Once they have fought it out, there is usually peace. This does not directly mean that the established ranking automatically leads to animals that are friends with each other. However, they are more relaxed with each other.
If you notice that the fights are getting out of hand or too serious, you should definitely do something about it.
Tip 10: Prevent jealousy
If your rabbits are particularly trusting and affectionate, you can also become a resource.
This means that your attention is coveted and everyone wants it.
However, if you turn to only one animal in particular, your behavior creates jealousy and can lead to disputes. Therefore, try to distribute time, cuddles and attention as evenly as possible.
Here you can learn everything about jealousy in rabbits.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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