Rabbits are small mammals that love to play, jump and run; in addition, they are very sweet pets that generally get along well with other pets; for this reason, one of the wishes of their masters is to ensure that they live as long as possible.
The common rabbit, also known as the European rabbit, is a mammal belonging to the Leporidae family . Today it is one of the most popular pets, and it is therefore possible that doubts arise about how to breed it and extend the life of the rabbit as much as possible.
The common rabbit
The common rabbit belongs to the Oryctolagus cuniculus species and is currently the only member of this genus. The domestication of the rabbit dates back to more recent times than that of the dog or cat.
Some records reported in the south of France, in fact, date the domestication of the common rabbit to 1400 years ago. At that time, the common rabbit was distributed in southern France and the Iberian Peninsula. It seems that its domestication was supported by the Church, which considered it an animal suitable for being eaten during the period of Lent.
In 2014, the Higher Council of Scientific Research (CSIC) conducted a study describing the domestication process of rabbits and in which the differences between the domestic rabbit genome and that of the wild rabbit were evaluated.
The conclusion reached is the following: “The difference was not in the genes, but in the activation process and in the doses of proteins encoded by the genes in each different cell”.
Tips for extending the life of the rabbit
Raising a rabbit can be a real challenge if you don’t already have the right knowledge. For this reason, it is necessary to be well informed and ask the specialist any doubts that may arise . Nevertheless, in the following lines we offer you a series of tips that you can follow to extend the life of your rabbit:
Rabbits need to exercise every day. They are very playful animals, who love to jump, run and do somersaults. It is possible to create obstacles or paths for the rabbit to overcome in order to have fun and exercise at the same time.
It is advisable to equip the garden (if you have one) with a fence that delimits a part of it. Furthermore, in this eventuality, it is necessary to place the fence in the shade and check that there are no poisonous plants inside the garden.
If, on the other hand, this is not possible, a room or an area of a room could be adapted to be dedicated to the rabbit. This way, the latter will have a corner in which to run and play. One possible tip is to arrange cozy corners and hiding places to explore.
Diet to extend the life of the rabbit
Rabbits are herbivorous animals: consequently, they feed exclusively on foods of plant origin. Due to the high fiber content they ingest with food, they have a large intestine with a highly developed cecum. In the cecum, fermentation of the food occurs and the absorption of all nutrients that are not absorbed by the small intestine.
Rabbits are strictly herbivores and their diet is therefore low in energy but high in fiber. Consequently, the main components of their diet will be the following:
- Hay . It is a fundamental component, a source of fiber, which must therefore always be available.
- Vegetables, leaves, grass . These components should be administered gradually and should never be the main food.
- Feed . Puppies can have them without any restrictions up to six months of age. For adults, however, it is necessary to ration the administration.
- Carbon hydrates . This group includes foods such as bread, sweets, fruit … The restriction of carbohydrates must be maximum. These, in fact, can cause various problems, such as obesity.
Changes in temperature
During the change of seasons, it is possible to notice that rabbits shed hair. This process is called ” moulting “. The wetsuit is useful, because it allows them to adapt to changing climatic conditions.
It is good to help the rabbit during the moulting process, brushing it often to get rid of excess hair. Hence, it is recommended to brush it two or three times a day .
If you notice the presence on the skin of some areas without hair, but with a pink hue and with fluff, do not be alarmed. The hair simply fell out faster in that area. However, if the rabbit scratches itself, there are several hairless areas and it is possible to notice the presence of wounds or skin irritations, you should contact your veterinarian.
On the other hand, it is advisable to prevent rabbits from being exposed to sudden changes in temperature . For example, if the animal is in the garden and it starts raining, it is best to gently dry it with a towel. After that, it should be left in its box, surrounded by hay, so that it can finish drying.
Numerous studies have shown that stress negatively affects animals, to the point that it could reduce their life expectancy. For this reason, it is advisable to make sure that pets (in this case, rabbits) are not subjected to situations that can stress them. If it is not possible to avoid these circumstances, you should try to make the situation as calm as possible, to prevent the animal from being afraid or feeling in danger.
Extend the life of the rabbit: in conclusion
It is important to remember that each rabbit breed has its own peculiarities and, consequently, it is good to take into account the needs that characterize each of them. Rabbits are grateful pets that don’t require great care. Nonetheless, we must take into consideration some minimal behaviors that we must adopt in order to try to extend the life of our rabbit as much as possible.