What is a Rabbit’s Lifespan? How Can it be Prolonged

Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by

If you love your pet, I’m sure you would’ve wondered what the average rabbit lifespan is like.

Pet mortality is something we do not want to dwell on most of the time. After all, losing a pet is akin to losing a family member. However, we have certain presupposed ideas of how long our companion animals can live. Usually, small animals are considered to have shorter life spans than bigger pets. 

This is a myth that rabbits debunk. Rabbits can live from 7 to 12 years. Rabbits have long life spans because if taken good care of they are not usually predisposed to any sort of sickness. However, domestic rabbit life spans can also differ from one rabbit to the next. 

Many factors can determine the lifespan of a rabbit. The number one most essential factor is the care that they receive.

Rabbit lifespan

How to make rabbits live longer? 

You cannot grant any of your pet immortality. However, there are ways in which you can help them live longer. Know that just like humans, holistic health is a key factor to living a good and long life.

All pet owners then should aim to give their pets the best of care taking into consideration both their rabbit’s physical and emotional health. 

The following are ways to help your rabbits live longer: 

1. Rabbit living arrangements

Some uninformed pet owners think that because rabbits are smaller than their pet dogs or cats and that rabbits do not have the same tail-wagging energy, that it is perfectly fine for rabbits to be kept in cages. This is untrue.

If you are to keep your rabbit in a cage or a hutch, the general rule of thumb is to have your cage/hutch be 4 times bigger than your rabbit. It should be big enough to contain their litter box and their hay while still having plenty of space for the rabbit to roam around. 

Even then, rabbits need to be taken out of their cages for their exercise otherwise you will have a very stressed out rabbit and this will significantly reduce their lifespans. 

Whether a rabbit is kept indoors or outdoors is also a factor that affects their lifespans. Indoor rabbits will have a longer lifespan than outdoor rabbits. 

Outdoor rabbits are susceptible to predator attacks and picking up sickness from other animals. The weather can also be harmful to rabbits as extreme heat can lead to heat strokes and extremely cold weather can lead to hypothermia. 

2. Rabbit integration into a family of pets

Rabbit integration into a family of pets

Rabbits who are solo pets need not have a lot to worry about because they have free reign of the house. However, it is another matter if they live with other pets such as dogs or cats. 

Rabbits are prey animals very much unlike most common pets in the home such as dogs and cats. In the wild, canines and felines prey on wild rabbits, and while your pets are domesticated some instincts die hard. 

There are certain breeds of dogs that are specifically bred for hunting. These dog breeds tend to have a very strong hunting drive and can be very dangerous to rabbits. 

Make sure to integrate both pets properly. Never let playtime with both pets go unsupervised. Even though you trust that your other pets will not eat your rabbit, rabbits are still the more fragile animal. 

Keeping them apart when unsupervised and being vigilant of their interaction during playtime will help avoid any unnecessary injuries. 

Also make sure that your rabbits eat only food fit for their diet, avoid them getting into other the other pets’ food bowls. 

3. Rabbit vaccinations 

Having your rabbit vaccinated will significantly increase their lifespan as they will be able to develop a strong response to most diseases that attack their species. 

The most common vaccines that your vet will recommend are vaccines for Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (RVHD). 

These two diseases are highly infectious and prove to be fatal to rabbits. These diseases are transmitted by flies therefore you must keep your hutches and cages clean to avoid attracting flies. 

Talk to your vet as well if flea powders can be an option to reduce any biting parasites on your rabbits. RVHD can survive for months so if your area has a reported outbreak do not feed locally sourced hay to your rabbit as they might get infected. 

Rabbits are also not required to get rabies vaccines as they are lost risk carriers. However, if your rabbit is an outdoor rabbit then this might be an option that you can check with your vet. 

4. Rabbit neuter or spay

Rabbit neutering and spaying is a recommended surgery for all rabbit owners. Having your pets sexually fixed will increase their life spans significantly.  

Neutering or spaying your rabbit will eliminate the risk of reproductive cancers that they might develop as they grow older. 

Also, neutering or spaying removes hormones that are the cause of unwanted behavior and frustrations. A rabbit free of the burden to mate is a happier and healthier rabbit. 

Besides, this is the best solution for unwanted pregnancies and owners ending up with a litter of rabbits they cannot properly care for. 

5. Quality of food and exercise 

Good diet makes rabbits live longer

Health is Wealth, even for rabbits. Providing your bunny with quality hay, leafy greens, and pellets will improve their health and increase their lifespans. 

The rabbit diet is 80% hay so invest in these. Do not overindulge your rabbit with treats such as pellets because this will disrupt the normal function of their digestive tracts. 

Make sure as well that your bunnies get daily time to exercise. Aside from reducing boredom and unwanted behavior, exercise will keep your rabbit at a healthy weight  

6. Social attachments 

Rabbits are social animals. In the wild, they are part of a colony. It is also generally known that domestic rabbits thrive in pairs. 

If you can afford it then it is highly recommended that you raise your bunnies in pairs. This will minimize their loneliness and help them live happier lives. 

This doesn’t mean that Unico rabbits or rabbits raised alone are lonely. As long as you spend time with your rabbits then they can grow to be happy as well. The important thing is for them to form a strong bond with their owners. 

Do domestic rabbits live longer than wild rabbits? 

Domestic rabbits do live longer than their wild cousins. Wild rabbits have significantly shorter lifespans than domestic rabbits. Wild rabbits have a lifespan of 1-2 years. 

One of the most obvious reasons for the wild rabbits’ short lifespan is the nature of their habitat. Unlike domestic rabbits that are well protected by their owners, wild rabbits are pretty far down the food chain and thus in constant danger of being hunted by a multitude of predators. 

Breeds and their lifespans:

New Zealand5 to 8large
Beveren5 to 10large
Blanc de Hotot5 to 10large
Californian5 to 10large
Cinnamon5 to 10large
English Spot5 to 10medium
Checkered Giant5 to 6large
Polish5 to 6small
English Lop5 to 7large
French Lop5 to 7large
Harlequin5 to 7medium
Rex5 to 7large
American Chinchilla5 to 8large
American Fuzzy Lop5 to 8small
American Sable5 to 8medium
Dutch5 to 8small
Flemish Giant5 to 8large
Florida White5 to 8medium
Havana5 to 8medium
Himalayan5 to 8small
Rhinelander5 to 8large
Standard Chinchilla5 to 8medium
Britannia Petite6 to 10small
Holland Lop7 to 14small
Dwarf Hotot7 to 10small
Silver7 to 10small
Jersey Wooly7 to 10small
Lionhead7 to 10small
Mini Lop7 to 10medium
Mini Rex7 to 10small
Netherland Dwarf7 to 10small
Belgian Hare7 to 11medium
Angora7 to 12medium
Tan8 to 10small

Did you know about the oldest rabbit in the world?

The oldest rabbit in the world still living is Mick, the agouti Rabbit from Berwyn Illinois. Mick celebrated his 16th birthday in February 2019.  He is owned by Linch Rench who said that “I am very proud of him and have been very inspired by the resilience and positivity he’s shown throughout his life”. Liz has been taking care of rabbits for 20 years and describes Mick as sweet and mild-tempered. 

Meanwhile, the record of oldest rabbit ever to have lived was awarded to a wild rabbit called Flopsy. He was caught on August 6, 1964, and died 18 years later in Australia. 

Final Thoughts

I hope to have enlightened you more on the amazing traits of rabbit breeds, not only are they one of the most affectionate pets one can have they are also very much capable of living by our sides for a long time.