Do rabbits need companionship?
Bunnies are social and loving animals that live in a large colony. Therefore, they need companion. Otherwise, they will be very bored, anxious, unsafe, feel lonely, and get depressed or stressed. Usually, they develop a strong bond with their partners.
Whereas they might enjoy the company of other animals or human beings, they are likely to thrive best if they have a companion of their own kind – other bunnies. This is because no matter “how hard we try, we can’t give our pet rabbits as much company as another rabbit can.” 
Even those who spend at least 3-4 hours with these pets daily, there is still a 20 hours duration when they are alone. Furthermore, bunnies can understand each other much easier through their body language and vocal cues.
Benefits of companions
Imagine having one neglected bunny, locked in his or her cage or hutch with no other animal, person or rabbit to keep them company. Don’t you think he or she will soon get very lonely?
Some of the benefits of a companion include getting a chance to interact, play, eat or sleep together, groom each other, cuddle, and feel safe being prey animals. This will ensure a better life quality, wellbeing, and happiness.
Finally, paired bunnies “are much easier to care for, get into far less trouble, are happier, and tend to relate better to people. Boredom leads to bunny-in-trouble, and pairs don’t get nearly as bored because they are so busy relating to each other.”
Some idea on companionship settings includes neutered male and female or a mixed group of equal female and males both neutered.
Pairing two female or male together can also work if both are neutered but it is not the most ideal option. In such a setting, they needed to be well bonded since female bunnies tend to be aggressive whereas male ones tend to be territorial.
However, before introducing a partner to help combat loneliness, you need to ensure they are well bonded to avoid fights and enable them to socialize with each other well. Bonding them while still young is often recommended whenever possible.
Finally, paring them up can take time and you need to be very patient. You are likely to be very successful if they grew up together.
Signs your bunny is lonely
If you have a single bunny, there are telltale signs that might indicate your furry friend is lonely. We are not refuting the fact that sometimes, some bunnies can live alone without being lonely, especially female ones.
However, in their natural habitat, in the wild, they live in colonies in their warrens apart from the time they have to separate in the look of more pastures.
Common signs or indicators include the following:
- Being withdrawn – This might be indicated by hiding, being inactive for a long time and refusing to interact even with you. However, this could also be a sign that your bunny is unwell. Let your vet examine him or her.
- Seeking for attention – This is another indication that your furry friend is lonely and needs your company. Things such as nudging followed a soft nip, digging in front of you, circling, bunny butt, and begging are some of the bunny body languages for seeking attention.
- Becoming destructive – Whereas others might withdraw, some may become angry and hyperactive. In such a case, they will be more destructive, dig or gnaw anything including your furniture, carpet, biting cage bars or pulling their fur (barbering). Note that ingesting the pulled fur may cause fur balls.
- Signs of stress – This may include an unexpected molt, lethargy, and not eating or drinking. In case they do not eat or drink, forced feeding will be recommended to avoid problems such as GI stasis and other problems.
Lonely bunny after death or separation
Sometimes, separation or death of a longtime companion or bonded partner may occur. When this happens, the bunny left alone may get so lonely and stressed. Remember excessive stress can kill a bunny.
You are likely to note some of the signs that your bunny is lonely we have looked at. In case of death, the remaining one will grief, mourn, may not eat or be active. You need to step in and help your grieving bunny during this time.
Let them spend some time with their dead partner unless the death was caused by a contagious and deadly disease. Even if it happens at the vet’s office, bring the dead partner home, let the partner alive spend some time with the dead body.
When they see their partner lying dead, the “may groom the beloved’s body, lie on or beside it, pounce on it, pull at it, run circles around it etc.”  However, if they are no response, they will know they are dead.
Grieving may continue for several weeks, but you deal with the various behavioral problems associated with loneliness using the below ways.
Dealing with lonely rabbits
If you notice your bunny is lonely, here are a few things you can do.
Find a companion
The first step is to find it a companion and let them bond slowly until they can get well along. Rabbit bonding can take long, and it needs a lot of patience to ensure they do not fight.
Ensure you learn how to introduce and bond bunnies or get a vet or an experienced animal behavioral expert to help you bond them together or buy a bonded pair.
Once they have been bonded well and they trust one another, you do not have to worry about loneliness again.
Interact with them more
Also, consider increasing the time you spend with this pet. These animals are social, intelligent and will form a wonderful companion. Interact with them while they are on the floor until they get used to you. Afterward, you can pet, cuddle, or carry or play with them.
However, you need to know how to interact with your rabbits since as prey animals, they may feel threatened and this will only worsen things.
Proper housing and toys
Provide the various rabbit toys including those for tunneling, digging, chewing, logic ones and so on. You can opt for homemade or commercial ones. They will help reduce boredom.
Also, ensure their housing give each bunny a place to go and be alone from their friend (to avoid bullying), have enough space, food, water, and so on.
Giving them the right diets is very important for their good health. Provide unlimited hay, some leafy greens, pellets as well as small occasional treats of fruits and non-leafy vegetables. In case they do not eat, consider forced eating to avoid GI stasis and other digestive related problems.
Unless you can keep a pair of bunnies together, we strongly recommended you avoid buying one since it will be lonely. Whereas you may opt for free to reign single house rabbit, it will still fell alone whenever you are not at home especially if you take a weekend off.
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